Critical thinking, analysis of approaches, and effective idea management define an innovation leader.
Along with impeccable organization, communication, and analytical capabilities, these skills separate innovation leaders from others in the workforce. They thrive when analyzing a situation or problem, and aligning the resources and projects necessary to find a solution. Traditionally in communications with costly consultants, research groups, and industry reports, forward-thinking innovation leaders recognize technology has made it easier to look inside the organization to find valuable insights.
Old Sources are New Sources
The workforce is an exceedingly powerful source of new ideas and insights that can drive bottom-line improvements and luckily, though it should come as no surprise, 90% of employees believe decision makers should seek other opinions before making decisions. They’re willing to contribute to innovation, and will be ready if provided with the context of problems, opportunities to contribute, and an incentive to participate. With limited budgets, innovation leaders must get creative in terms of incentives. The most logical solution is providing opportunities for employees to work on their new projects in an active or supervisory role.
Similar to employees, customers are a powerful source of actionable insight and feedback and are already in high demand, with 91% of managers seeing them as a valuable source of new ideas. But also like employees, in order to contribute to improvement and innovation they need to know what the organization is looking for in terms of ideas. Engaging customers comes with its own struggles, but is often effective with a contest, private collaboration, or through an idea management platform.
Not all Ideas are built the Same
While this convergence of the pursuit of ideas from innovation leaders and the motivation to share them from employees and customers is full of potential, an influx of ideas is worthless if they aren’t applicable to the innovation objectives and processes of the organization. Whether engaging employees or customers, there needs to be a repeatable process in place to organize innovation efforts, regardless of project. It’s up to innovation leaders and teams to work with top management to outline goals, objectives, and processes, and align the ideas sought with meeting them.
“The big missing ingredient here is having a go-to-market model that applies across various innovation projects.”
Haydn Shaughnessy – Innovation Expert, Author, Co-Founder of the Disruption House
From there, communications with employees and customers must be framed with questions and challenges through multiple communication channels to get those targeted ideas. If engagements are successful, the organization, prioritization, and implementation of a strong pipeline of new approaches, ideas, and insights can be overwhelming for even the most experienced innovation leaders. Suggestion boxes, brainstorming sessions, and spreadsheets can only get them so far, and often points them towards a more effective and accessible means through idea management software (Learn more about IMS and its benefits!).
Idea management software is the most effective means of collecting and organizing concepts and feedback both inside and outside a company’s walls. Most (like Ideawake) offer functionality for multiple review processes that remove bias, and make it easier to prioritize ideas that should be implemented. Accessible online, they ultimately streamline the innovation process by making it more transparent, while supplying and nurturing a pipeline of fresh ideas and perspectives to improve operations.
What other challenges are innovation leaders facing?
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