Are new ideas the important fundament of your company’s future? Or are they just annoying tricks from employees to keep top management busy?
To me, ideation is the unanimous first step in any innovation management process. Without saying, while registering for the workshops at the Innovation In Action 2011 symposium, I found my computer cursor naturally gravitating towards the Idea Management registry checkbox.
As soon as the room filled with participants, the workshop leaders wasted no time in getting the ball rolling. Firstly, we were presented with a generic five-step idea management process. After which, we got into groups and assigned the task of analyzing the possibilities and difficulties of taking an idea through that very process.
The discussions we had in my group were intensively perceptive that I couldn’t resist the urge to jot down what I’ve gleaned during the sporadic short breaks we had. This is what I’ve gathered.
1. It is important to have a defined process for ideas
I daresay that they are as many ideas in the world as there are stars in the sky. However, it is ideas that have undergone a well-defined process that would be more successful becoming commercialized.
2. There are MILLIONS of different ideas. Have multiple structures that cater to different fields of ideas
One suggestion a fellow participant gave was to have a team or a department of dedicated individuals who would sieve through the ideas and delegate them to the rightful department.
3. Pitching and communicating an idea for feedback and evaluation is important.
An idea needs to pass the test of “fire” – Critiques and feedback from colleges
A good communication system for introducing and marketing ideas would not only benefit the company’s internal communication, but also when talking with clients and partners.
I can’t stress enough the importance of FEEDBACK!
Regularly edit, tweak and spruce up the idea in accordance to the needs of the customers and goals of the company
Do not be stubborn but use the feedback and evaluations received to refine and polish your idea.
Be opened to new ideas
Create an organization culture that is supportive and open to new ideas.
A real life example from Åsa Anders (Astra Zeneca) demonstrates how the openness and culture of an organization can lead to the efficiency and agility of a probable commercialization of an idea.
Last but not least, remember to:
- Establish a process! (A simple one is better then nothing
- Communication about the process and the idea
- Put the idea through the test of evaluations, critiques and FEEDBACK
- Allocated a fund of risk money/resources for early conceptualization
- Create an organization culture than is open and supportive of new ideas
Article by Tobias Vahlne, Googol
För mer information:
Activity: Idea Management Workshop at Innovation in Action 2011
Date: 19th - 20th of October 2011
Place: Sky City Conference at Stockholm Arlanda Airport
Profile of participants: Innovation practitioners
Hosted by: Innovation Pioneers
Partners of IIA 2011: Swedavia, Microsoft, Logica, Vinnova, Maxibit, Bergenstråhle & Lindvall, SISP and Baker & McKinzie.
The initiating companies of Innovation Pioneers:
Astra Zeneca, Alfa Laval, Electrolux, Volvo IT, Atria,The Absolut Company (Pernod Ricard), Ergonomidesign, Ericsson, Googol, Hjälpmedelsinstitutet, IKEA, Innventia, SCA, Stora Enso, Tetra Pak and Uponor.