Innovation requires leadership, which IdeaPlace recognizes in several roles, including that of the Moderator. The Moderator is responsible for managing the day-to-day activity of the innovation program, and directing ideas through different stages of evaluation to turn potentially useful ideas into action. Depending on how you allocate responsibilities in your organization, there can be some overlap between the responsibilities of Moderator and Admin. See Assigning Roles for a complete listing, a video walkthrough of IdeaPlace roles, and chart for each role's abilities within the IdeaPlace platform.
Through a four step approach—Discover, Discuss, Evaluate, and Decide—you can better understand how to use IdeaPlace features to motivate participation, drive sustained engagement in your innovation program, and identify and act on the best ideas.
In the Discover step, you recognize what your goals are, what challenges you face, and what outcomes you plan to achieve. You can announce these goals through the creation of Challenges and invite others to participate. During this step you will invite appropriate Idea submissions by providing a clear description of your Challenge. You may want to include your criteria for Idea approval, any constraints you are facing, or why this Challenge is important to the company.
IdeaPlace Email Notifications are a great way to introduce a new Challenge, or to motivate activity around a specific initiative.
Setting clear expectations in the description better defines what you plan to accomplish, and makes it easier for participants to respond with Ideas that are relevant.
Now that your structure and context are set up, it’s time to move into the Discuss step. This is where the conversations start happening and when people start innovating. Participants submit their Ideas with the challenges and goals in mind, and demonstrate their involvement through comments and voting. During this step, the Moderator's goal is to keep the conversations going. This can be done by providing feedback through comments and by participating in the discussions to boost engagement.
To keep the discussion flowing, you can share ideas with participants you feel may be interested in a particular topic.
While in the Discuss step, you‘ll want to measure participants‘ engagement levels, which also acts as a way to determine your workload. You can use the Insights Engagement Tab to determine these levels by observing the number of votes, number of Idea and comment submissions, and other such measures of engagement in activities. If engagement levels are lower than expected, you can encourage involvement by continuing to use the methods discussed above.
Include a comment when you share an Idea to add a personal touch and drive engagement.
Now that you have all of these Ideas, it’s time to move into the Evaluate step. This is the step where you will identify which Ideas have the most potential through comparison and analysis, and by engaging your experts. A large number of Ideas can be intimidating, and not knowing how to identify the best ones can seem like a challenge, but IdeaPlace has several strategies for the purpose of narrowing down Ideas.
Use the power of the crowd to vote on ideas and surface the winners. Note that Pairwise can only be used once in a Challenge, so be judicious as to which stage you apply it.
Engage not only your experts (those people who have more insight into a particular area as an Idea evolves) but also your stakeholders, so that you can get buy in and participation from them as well. As experts are completing the Evaluations, you too can monitor the status of the Evaluation.
Evaluating Ideas in stages with Pairwise, Up/Down Voting or Star Rating, and then Expert Review will help you better determine which Ideas are a good fit, and worth your investment of time and resources, and which Ideas are not, and can be declined.
Now that your experts and stakeholders have helped to identify which Ideas have potential, and which ones may not quite be in line with your goal or challenge, it’s time to move into the Decide step. This step is where you will begin making decisions about Ideas and turning potentially useful Ideas into action. Taking action, in addition to getting you to your goal, will also demonstrate to the participants that their Ideas are being heard. They will know that their contributions and their effort are worth your attention, and they will be encouraged to stay engaged.
IdeaPlace's Predictions feature is very useful at this point, and results in a bubble graph, from which you can surface the winning ideas by the size of the bubble and where it falls on the graph.
If you have determined through crowdsourcing or Evaluation that a set of Ideas cannot move forward, those can be moved to a Declined state. Remember that saying “no” is an important part of evaluating Ideas, and this process can be somewhat painless if you are transparent about your reasoning.
The Decide step is the time to recognize contributions. IdeaPlace Email Notifications are a great way to recognize participants or showcase the winning idea.
Since our human nature is to crave positive feedback, giving recognition to participants for putting their Ideas out there goes a long way, and drives engagement.
By segmenting duties into four steps, Discover, Discuss, Evaluate, and Decide, you can encourage innovation through a repeatable process. By understanding the four innovation steps and how IdeaPlace features relate to them, you can be a more successful innovation leader. Once you complete this four step cycle, begin it again to tackle the next challenge and accomplish the next goal.