There’s an increasing demand in businesses big and small for new ideas not just from management but from employees, customers, and partners at the front-lines.
Still, ideas are only worth the effort you put towards bringing them to life. Once you’ve mastered the collection phase, what now? Your first thought might be to reviews, prototyping, development, and launch! You’re on the right track, but you’re forgetting a crucial step – providing feedback to your idea submitters.
Feedback may seem like a skip-able step. After all, management is the one that knows best and will be developing the ideas anyway, right? Wrong! There are ample opportunities and benefits for both your workforce and bottom-line when you focus on creating a two-sided conversation with your idea submitters.
Here’s why you can’t afford to skip this crucial step.
- No one wants to be ignored, especially in a corporate setting when they’re going above and beyond in trying to improve their environment at work. So when someone gets feedback on their idea, they know they’re being heard. While it can be difficult to provide constructive feedback to potentially thousands of ideas in a campaign, this speaks to the benefits of innovation platforms that allow users to publicly post their ideas and receive feedback from not just management but their peers, as well as votes, points, reviews, and more.
- An appraisal can be good or bad. While a negative appraisal or review of an idea can be problematic, it can be framed to give direction to the idea submitter and provide context for why an idea isn’t quite ready. Common setbacks are alignment with your company’s vision, strategic plan or timeline, resource availability, and more. A positive appraisal can do wonders to motivate the idea submitter, provide direction, and open a line of communication to move the idea forward. Appraisal or review criteria can be done in stages, but should be transparent and coupled with information that provides context to the idea submitters beforehand.
- Soliciting ideas from your employees, customers, or partners is a great approach to finding an improvement or radically different way to do things. Still, just getting ideas is keeping your efforts from reaching their full potential. Don’t let the idea submitter just be a supplier. When an idea is in its infancy, it’s the perfect time to get more information from the idea owner. Along with that, provide your expertise and potential improvements you could make to it. From there, outline next steps and give them an opportunity to play a role in development.
Overall, a successful ideation and innovation process starts with being willing and able to start a conversation with every idea you receive from your employees, customers, or partners. Sure, we don’t expect you to have a conversation with EVERY idea submitter, but without that mentality, you could be missing out on some game-changing concepts.
Set the precedent that ideas are valued and that you’re serious about hearing what people have to say through open reception and conversation. This is the first step to building trust with your employees, promoting knowledge-sharing and collaboration, and expanding on strategic management and innovation capabilities that are present in your organization.