Idea Storm Blog – Idea Management Software


Everything begins with an idea

– Earl Nightingale (US radio speaker and author)

Idea Storm has recently become a value added partner of Crowdicity – a leading provider of Idea Management Software.

Idea Management Software is a relatively new category of software and so this blog will go through what Idea Management software is, the benefits and typical features found in a solution.

In the interests of transparency most of the contents of this blog come from an article called “An Overview of Idea Management Systems” from a website called InnovationManagement.se.

“No matter what people tell you,words and ideas can change the world”– Robin Williams (US actor)

What is Idea Management Software?

Idea management software helps organizations and governments to gather ideas from all employees or citizens, evaluate them and develop them faster than ever before.

Increasingly, companies will compete based on the speed at which they can discover, develop and implement ideas for new products and services. To compete at this level, organizations must efficiently tap into the creativity of all their employees. Not only that, but they must also be adept at focusing employees’ creative energies around key business issues — gathering and evaluating ideas efficiently, and quickly identifying those with the greatest bottom-line potential for implementation.Idea management software is a type of enterprise software that can help to make such an innovation strategy possible. These new web-based applications enable companies to solicit targeted ideas from all employees — regardless of their geographic location — and gather them into a centralized online database. Idea management systems also provide structured processes for evaluating and sharing ideas, so managers can quickly zero in on those with the greatest potential.

As innovation grows in importance as a competitive advantage, idea management systems are poised to become the catalyst that can help companies to compete at levels previously not possible.

“Ideas shape the course of history” – John Maynard Keynes (British economist)

Why use an Idea Management solution?

Idea management tools offer several compelling benefits to companies of all sizes:

  • They focus employees’ creative efforts around specific organizational goals and objectives. Research shows that when employees are asked to generate ideas or suggestions around a specific business problem or objective, the quantity and quality of ideas tends to increase significantly.

  • They encourage employees to capture all their ideas. In most types of businesses, employees rarely capture their ideas, and most of their “eurekas!” are lost forever. Idea management systems help to solve this problem. Employees can quickly jot down a germ of an idea, and then return to the system later to add details to their new creation. In addition, many idea management tools help employees to share ideas, comment on, add to and further improve each other’s ideas, and acquire knowledge by viewing others’ ideas.

  • Idea management systems collect ideas from all areas of the organization, not just specialized departments like R&D and marketing.

  • By placing ideas in a shared repository, idea management systems promote greater transparency. Employees can see the outcome of all the ideas they have submitted, which increases their enthusiasm for and participation in idea campaigns. Also, these database-driven tools make it easier to measure how much each implemented idea has contributed to the firm’s bottom line. This makes it easier, in turn, to reward employees who have contributed winning ideas.

  • Idea management systems help companies to share best practices. For companies that have multiple offices or locations, idea management systems enable them to quickly and cost-effectively share ideas and best practices that have been used successfully at one location with other locations. This allows them to multiply the bottom-line benefit of a single cost-saving idea many times over. Usually, corporate locations or divisions operate like silos, rarely sharing information, ideas and best practices. Web-based idea management systems can be accessed via any computer with an Internet connection, from anywhere in the world, vastly simplifying the transfer of valuable ideas and best practices across geographical and organizational barriers.

  • They help companies to increase their speed to market. Idea management systems help companies to capitalize on their best ideas faster. They do so by providing a structured process for evaluating ideas and selecting the best for implementation, and by providing a set of checks and balances to make sure the all ideas are promptly reviewed and evaluated.

  • They can be used in many types of common corporate applications. Idea management systems not only provide a valuable tool set for developing new product and service ideas, but can also catalyze greater results from corporate cost-reduction initiatives. You can also invite outside partners, such as suppliers, dealers and joint venture partners, to contribute ideas on a secure extranet site.

“The best way to have a good idea is to have lots of ideas” – Linus Pauling (US scientist, author and educator)

Typical features of idea management software:

The leading idea management systems typically offer these features and capabilities:

  • Campaign focused: Organizations can set up specific “campaigns” or projects within the software, each one tailored to address a specific business objective — such as reducing costs in a division, or coming up with new ideas for a particular product line. Focused ideation around specific business objectives tends to result in a larger number of high quality ideas.

  • Customizable forms for capturing ideas: Organizations can customize idea input forms by campaign or project to meet their specific needs.

  • Customizable evaluation criteria: Leading idea management systems also enable companies to create customized numeric scales for evaluating ideas for each campaign. This increases the likelihood that all ideas will be rated consistently.

  • Powerful evaluation workflow processes: If evaluators don’t feel confident in their ability to evaluate a specific idea (for example, if it requires some specialized knowledge or expertise to understand), they can call in experts to provide their feedback on the idea. Also, idea management systems typically have workflow processes set up to ensure that all ideas are reviewed and evaluated promptly by a team of evaluators; automated workflow “checks and balances” can be set up to remind evaluators at pre-set intervals of any ideas that they have not reviewed yet.

  • Collaboration and idea sharing: The leading idea management systems make it possible for employees to view the disposition of their own ideas, as well as add comments to others’ ideas — using peer review processes that help to shape raw ideas into more complete, compelling solutions. Many of these Web-based idea management tools allow employees at multiple locations to share best practices quickly, around the country or around the world! Other idea management tools employ online discussion areas and other forms of collaboration to help employees “build” existing ideas into more powerful solutions.

Regardless of their features, all idea management systems share one common goal: To quickly locate the veritable needle in the haystack — the handful of killer ideas in a sea of mediocre ones, and to shepherd them through evaluation and onto implementation. Speed to market is critical to building competitive advantage.

Beginning the journey of Idea Management Software

Has any of this resonated with you? Are you responsible for innovation within your organisation and wish you had a tool like this? Are you frustrated that your ideas at work don’t get recognized?If any of these statements are true then we at Idea Storm would like to chat to you? You can contact us at lance@ideastorm.co.za or leave a message of our website www.ideastorm.co.za.

This article doesn’t represent the views of the company I work for.

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