As the world continues to get smaller by the day, companies are finding new ways to compete both locally and globally.
They’re setting out to develop innovative products, services, marketing strategies, and operational practices to improve efficiency and attract new clients, and while these initiatives help to push the organization forward, the management of those efforts is often overwhelming and can easily backfire in the form of lost time and resources.
Enter idea management systems.
These dynamic pieces of software offer a multitude of features that are changing the game for companies looking to enact new changes within their operation. Instead of relying on individuals, organizations can tap the collective knowledge of the entire workforce to gather ideas in order to solve specific challenges. From there, the ideas are improved, analyzed for implementation, and put to work, all from one centralized channel.
Here area few of the factors behind the growing popularity of idea management systems –
Accelerated product development cycle
- As new, resource-rich organizations emerge as competitors in the now global marketplace, smaller companies need to get new ideas to the table, validated, and implemented fast.
- Idea management systems give those companies the chance to collect, validate, and implement new ideas from their entire organization at a faster pace by promoting targeted brainstorming and collaboration activities, something that 86% of employees say their company doesn’t do enough.
Need for efficiency – more from less
- Efficiency of operations, and ultimately profit margins, stand as one of the largest competitive advantages a company hope to improve on to improve their prospects for the future.
- Compared to bringing on more employees, advisers, research firms, focus groups, and more to boost innovation efforts, idea management systems stand as a wise investment by leveraging existing resources to supplement the decision making process, and finding new ways to boost the bottom-line.
Trend of internal transparency
- Information has never been more accessible through search engines and social media, and employees are growing to expect the same from the information within their companies as well.
- 71% of employees say that their managers do a poor job of communicating company goals, but idea management systems promote knowledge sharing to give employees a never-before-seen look at the decision process on both a per-challenge and company-wide basis.
Knowledge-base of employees
- As occupations continue to specialize, it’s now common for employees to possess specific insights regarding their roles, the organization’s operations, products, services, and customer relations that could lead to profitable new initiatives.
- Insights often go unheard and aren’t acted upon for a variety of reasons from a lack of organization to communication breakdowns, but are now valued and accessible by management through more efficient collaboration efforts in these systems.
Building engagement with employees and customers
- It’s no secret that forming a stronger connection with employees, customers, partners, and the public can be exceedingly beneficial for the future prospects of an organization, but less than 15% of employees around the world are considered engaged in their work on a daily basis.
- By involving these groups in their innovation efforts, organizations can allow them to play an expanded and personal role in their operations, and effectively manage their contributions to insure successful implementation and recognition.
Ease of access with new online tech
- The collection and organization of traditional surveys, suggestion boxes, and comment sections is both time consuming and ineffective, as the participants must often be physically present and are offered no chance to collaborate with others.
- Online idea management systems help organization’s focus their efforts and provide direction and context for the participants, let them engage on their own time, and interact with others to improve and support ideas on one secure, accessible portal.
Focus on workforce development
- For many large organizations, the sheer number of workers employed makes it easy for great employees to get lost in the noise, pushing over 30% of employees to waste time at work, saying there’s no reason to work harder than they have to due to a multitude of reasons.
- These systems work to level the playing field and often include gamification features that bring the highest-performers to the front, proving their insights are valuable and that they may be capable of taking on more responsibility in the organization.
- Many employees will never meet many of their co-workers, let alone have an opportunity to speak with them on a regular basis. Separated by department or physical locations, those interactions are just not part of daily activities.
- While it may not be possible for arrange personal meetings, online engagements can be just as fruitful. Supplemental personalities or positions interact with applicable ideas, bounce ideas off one another, and collaborate to come up with the best ideas, all online.
- Traditional means of idea collection rely strictly on manual collection, organization, and examination, which is both time intensive and ripe with chances for bias and errors to influence decision-making.
- Most idea management systems track and organize all information collected, offer sorting features to identify trends in participation, and employ a front-facing and back-end gamification process to passively reward and track the highest performing individuals, groups, or departments, something over 50% of employees say would help them boost productivity.
- Seeking feedback from non-traditional participants unlocks previously untapped ideas that can be implemented for use inside the organization, but also greater insight into the participants themselves.
- Armed with this information, management will have a better understanding of the problems facing their participants, and can leverage the same system to find solutions based on the feedback by those same participants.
- Employees have always wanted their voices heard, but with recent generations having been exposed to a wealth of knowledge via the internet, they are in possession of many game-changing concepts and insights that often older-generation management is not aware of.
- With the rise of open innovation concepts around the world and those recent generations’ willingness to share almost anything, it would be a wasted opportunity to not promote effective ideation and implementation strategies via idea management systems.
While idea management systems come in a variety of prices and feature-sets, they can provide a place to solve problems for every organization.
The benefits are too many to count, from improving employee engagement and collecting ideas to receiving feedback on operations and reports of bugs that could derail production.
It’s a worthy investment to help insure the most successful innovation practices and that an organization’s resources, especially human intelligence, are being used efficiently.