9 (Old and New) Ways to get Ideas for your Innovation Program

Ideas for Innovation Program

Front-line employees, customers, and partners are in possession of game-changing insights and ideas that can have a serious effect on the bottom-line.               

Trae Tessmann|
November 21, 2017

Fresh ideas, perspectives, insights, and feedback are the fuel for your innovation program.



But where do they come from? And how can you ensure they come to fruition?



Here are a few sources, tools, processes, and people you can engage to get the ideas to solve the challenges and seize the opportunities you need for explosive growth.



Idea Management Software – The ultimate tool for collecting, reviewing, and tracking the implementation of new ideas and feedback from your employees, customer base, partner network, or the general public. Learn more here!



Individual Meetings – One-on-one or small-group, personal sessions where specific topics can be discussed and conversations can flow privately and freely with individuals in possession of potentially profitable ideas and feedback.



Brainstorming Sessions – Groups brought together to share their ideas, or solutions for a specific challenge. Great for real-time collaboration, but limited to the number of people you can fit into a room, the voices that can be heard at once, and the freedom or confidence to share potentially unpopular opinions.



Suggestion Boxes – Private and good “optics” for management to hear from employees, but lack direction, transparency, and accountability when it comes to getting feedback and bringing new ideas to life. See more about why the suggestion box is dead.



Innovation Workshop – Large sessions, bringing together employees to practice ideation and collaboration techniques, and ultimately solving a challenge or problem in small groups. Read more about planning an idea workshop, and how they can benefit your employees and operation on several fronts.



Hackathons – Similar to an Innovation Workshop, but Hackathons go beyond idea generation and begin the rapid development of new ideas within a time limit. Intensive sessions, but can ultimately lead to the building of prototypes or soft-launches of new products, services, and ideas within a small time window.



Research & Development – Professionals stay up-to-date on new developments in your industry, tech, customer trends, and more, and often manage each stage of your innovation or improvement program. While critical to the structure of new idea development, they can be insulated from front-line operations and processes, and sometimes lack real-world insights that are crucial to innovation.



Customers – The individuals that use and experience your products or services on a regular basis. Connect with them via email, social media, phone, your IMS, and more for feedback and ideas on improving your offering that can’t be matched anywhere else.



Consultants – New perspectives and business management ideas from professionals, industry experts, or scholars outside your walls. While a fresh take can be helpful, they can be costly and biased, and regurgitate processes and ideas from client to client with no accountability.



New ideas don’t just have to come from the c-suite or boardroom. Front-line employees, customers, and partners are in possession of game-changing insights and ideas that can have a serious effect on the bottom-line.



So which tools or groups are you engaging in your innovation program?

Which are working, and which aren’t?

And what will you try in 2018?

About Trae Tessmann

Co-founder of Ideawake

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