It is a positive development that more and more organizations are starting to understand the importance of systematically managing innovation. Once upon a time, innovation management was down mainly to luck and chance, with ideas coming solely from those within a company who knew their ideas would be heard. Today, however, the importance and value of properly engaging with different stakeholders (employees, board members, suppliers, customers, partners, etc) is much better understood, which is why innovation software is available as well. However, how you make sure that you use innovation software properly and actually get the most out of it? The following five steps should be an excellent starting point.
- Make Sure Your Employees Understand it
First of all, you have to make sure that your employees are on board with the software package. They must be able to use it, so that they know how to submit their own ideas, how to vote for others, how to engage in others, and more. If your staff isn’t engaged in it, they won’t use it properly either.
- Make Innovation Part of the Culture
Innovation, for many employees, is still something new. They have spent years working in places where their voices were never heard, and where senior managers would spend their time in ivory towers. It is now the responsibility of leaders and managers to make sure that every idea that is contributed has the potential to be a great idea, and should therefore be listened to, by everyone else.
- Rewards Matter, But Not That Much
Very often, businesses think that they will only motivate people to come up with innovative ideas if they are given the opportunity to win something in reward. In reality, however, many employees will feel rewarded enough just because they are finally being listened to. Rewards are nice, every once in a while, but you need to trust your stakeholders to share with you even without it.
- Focus on Co-Creation
As if innovation wasn’t innovative enough, you have to go that one step further, which you do by enabling co-creation. What this means is that you encourage your stakeholders to work together with each other. For instance, someone may post an idea that others think could be better if it was slightly different. Rather than voting against the first idea and submitting new ones, the existing idea can be expanded on by working together.
- Prioritization Is Key
Last but not least, you have to have a great understanding of what it is that you want to make better. In so doing, you will also be able to help your stakeholders find out which ideas are good and could be implemented, and which ones would be better used for other ideas and projects. The key to innovations is not to invest something that already exists, but rather to improve on existing ideas, making sure they get implemented as and where required and when is most suitable as well.