Wednesday, October 13, 2010

What can my company get out of an idea management system?

What can my company get out of an idea management system?

Well, obviously you can get ideas. Maybe that’s not so obvious, but using persuasive design, a good idea management system can encourage your team to collaborate and allow your organization to tap into the wisdom of the crowd. And good algorithmic social science can help your innovation managers sift through the thousands of resulting ideas to figure out which ones are best. But you can get some other things, too.

By definition when you deploy this collaborative tool you’ll get Organizational Engagement. Everyone will be talking and working together.

Using challenges and seeding, your idea management system will give your team Strategic Guidance. Not only will they be all talking together but they will be talking about what you want them to be talking about. Whatever is troubling the executives of the company is what innovation managers should be putting in front of the team as challenges.

The inherent Knowledge Management system included will enable people to post content and allow others to search for it, retrieve it and view it.

It will enable people to Problem Solve. When they have a project that stymies them and seems like a plateau, they can search to see if anyone else has explored the topic or just plain ask for help. And help can come from every discipline represented on the system. Some great lateral thinking comes when you pose marketing problems to engineering and finance people. And, as noted in the preceding paragraph, your people can put their hands on the information they need when they need it.

A good idea management system will enable your team to find experts when you need them. In fact the best ones will suggest which people are the most expert for the subject you’re pursuing.

If your idea management system has a promotion process with multiple levels and supports feasibility studies, it can serve as a training ground for junior managers. This gives them a taste of what it takes to be a manager at your company with responsibility for managing a project from beginning to end.

Your marketing people will be able to gain insights into what your customers are thinking. For everyone who believes good research preceding project launch is a good idea, this is the gold you were looking for.

Your customer service people can respond swiftly to erratic quirks in your marketplace by having their fingers on the pulse of your customer community. In fact your team may learn of issues while they are on the horizon rather than in your lap.

Wrap Up

On the surface organizations license idea management software not to just gain incremental innovation resulting from unsolicited suggestions (although a good system will accept these too) but to determinedly seek out and grasp the next breakthrough innovation that will drive revenue for your company. But you get a bunch of collateral benefits that are tougher to cost justify, but likely just as valuable, such as organizational engagement, strategic guidance for your team, enabling your team to find the information and people they require when they need it, plus an in depth understanding of your market.

Ready for a demo yet? Give one of us a call.

Ron Shulkin is Vice President of the Americas for CogniStreamer®, an innovation management system. You can learn more about CogniStreamer here

Ron manages The Idea Management Group on LinkedIn (Join Here) . He has written extensively on Idea Management (Read Here) .

CogniStreamer® is an idea management software tool. It is an open innovation and collaboration platform where internal colleagues and external partner companies or knowledge centers join forces to create, develop and assess innovative ideas within strategically selected areas. The CogniStreamer® portal is an ideal collaborative platform that invites users to actively build a strong innovation portfolio. In addition it provides a powerful resource for internal and external knowledge sharing. The CogniStreamer® framework is used by industry leaders such as Atlas Copco, Bekaert, Case New Holland, Cytec, Imec, Picanol and ThyssenKrupp. CogniStreamer® represents the best use of adaptive collaborative technology such to harness human skill, ingenuity and intelligence.

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