The term Ideation is coined from play on two words: “Idea” + “Generation”. Ideation is essentially rooted on an old saying, “None of us is as smart as all of us.” Though there is wide acceptance to the concept, collecting the knowledge of “all of us” into actionable next steps has not been a straightforward task. The rewards for doing so, however, are potentially very high, especially for large organizations. hence it is no surprise that there are multiple ideation platforms available online that allow large organizations to harness the collective knowledge within their organization.
At its core, Ideation is the process of generating new ideas or solutions using crowd-sourcing methods. Ideation process uses online brainstorming or voting platforms to submit new ideas, search previously submitted ideas, post questions and challenges, discuss and expand on ideas, vote them up or down and flag them.
While there are promising benefits, making innovation an aspect of everyone’s job is very hard to achieve. Numerous interviews and surveys identify few recurring and common challenges and issues encountered by the managers:
A successful campaign can result in overwhelming participation making it a daunting task to screen and absorb them. The companies often lack dedicated human resources to manage process.
Most companies do not have any incentive structure to support ideation culture. Ideation also brings in a new relationship between employees and leadership which challenges traditional hierarchy.
With wide participation in ideation challenge, there is risk of accidental disclosure of internal information. or potential to produce bad publicity if some of the suggestions for improvement could become public out of context.
Employees might spend excessive amount of time with the ideation platform in hope of getting recognized and as a result their productivity could get affected.
OVERCOMING KEY CHALLENGES
While seemingly straight forward, implementing a successful ideation process in an organization is not simple. The key challenges often quoted in the adoption and implementation of ideation programs are:
The ideation program should not be viewed as the latest management’s fad but should be accepted as a value driver to reinvent the organization by making it innovation-led. This can be achieved by creating a permanent ideation team by rotating staff.
Ideation program should be adopted and communicated as a corporate policy to legitimize it and not being seen as a voluntary activity. This can be given further legitimacy by involving senior managers and assimilating the program in mission critical processes.
Some users feel safer under cover in submitting radical or divergent ideas. It is critical for the leadership to provide a safe and fear free environment to share ideas. However it is important for everyone to be aware that the identify is accessible in a controlled manner to prevent users from posting offensive, unproductive ideas.
Ideation tools should mesh with existing processes and platforms. While Ideation tools are a useful forum for stimulating innovative ideas, they are not as suitable for general discussions among employees. Management should ensure that other tools are used for other purposes.
The most scientifically designed ideation tool
Frequently Asked Questions
Companies target ideas from variety of sources, both internal and external, depending on their objective. The target groups are employees, business partners as well as customers.
Employee Driven Innovation is a process where all employees are prompted to come up with novel ideas and have equal opportunity of getting implemented. It rests on the premise that innovation can originate from any department or employee and not just from the R&D department.
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