Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Removing Barriers for Idea Submission: Series Introduction

By: Steven Telio, Director of Product Management at ideaPoint

While nearly every company wishes to improve their innovation funnel with the goal of developing something revolutionary, the reality is that most are not even ready for evolutionary innovation. The output of an innovation program is often only as good as its raw inputs, so an ideal way to kickstart your innovation program is to improve the quality (and quantity) of ideas being submitted. Whether your organization is focused on internal R&D, BD&L, Strategic Sourcing or Marketing/Consumer insights to drive innovation, the output of your program is often only as good as its inputs. How can you remove barriers for idea submission, and make the process of gathering submissions nearly frictionless?

In this series we will focus on overcoming common barriers and challenges for idea submission, implementing best practices in a submission process, and addressing idea ownership and IP protection.

Broadly speaking, there are three categories of barriers which might prevent idea submission: Personal, Organizational and Societal.

1.      Personal barriers are ones that may prevent an individual from submitting an idea, such as a lack of awareness that anyone is seeking a particular type of idea or fear that they may lose ownership of their idea.
2.      Organizational barriers are ones which are ingrained in the company itself, and may be the result of corporate policies or corporate culture.
3.      Societal barriers are items related to prevailing cultural norms, such as attitudes related gender, age, respect for authority or respect for elders.

Innovation programs are often faced with many different types of challenges, but generally speaking the challenges arise when there are deficiencies in one or more of these categories: People, Process, Priority and Budget.

People: Is the Innovation Program adequately staffed to administer and promote it?

Process: Are the processes associated with the Innovation Program understandable, transparent, and consistent?

Priority: Is the Innovation Program a high priority within the organization? Is it aligned with organizational values?

Budget: Is the Innovation Program adequately funded? Is the funding stream in place to cover a 3 to 5-year commitment?

Innovation Programs often fall victim to a series of unknowns resulting from gaps in the program itself. With this as a backdrop, it is important to focus on how to tear down any barriers to idea submission. As you consider the types of barriers you will face when getting people to submit ideas, remember that how you set up your innovation program may mitigate some, but not all, of the barriers.

This is the first post in a series of blogs titled “Removing Barriers for Idea Submission.” Each blog will address different barriers and challenges that innovation programs are faced with. For further information about a software solution to streamline your process for gathering ideas and accelerating innovations, visit www.idea-point.com or contact Pat McWilliams (Patrick.McWilliams@idea-point.com)

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