Innovation is absolutely necessary in today’s world of business. It is also hugely complex and something that most companies are struggling to get to grips with. Through a properly set up innovation platform, employees, managers, customers, and other stakeholders can come together to make sure that the business remains competitive.
What Is Internal Idea Management?
Internal idea management is the process whereby you encourage ideas to be formed, sort through them, and use the ones that are the best. Using this is an innovation in and of itself. It is the polar opposite of traditional management forms, whereby all programs, plans, and ideas were created by senior managers and employees had only to follow them.
In the 21st century, managers need to let go of the old hierarchical notion that they are the boss and this means everybody else should just listen. No longer do they only listen if they have a direct question. Rather, through innovation and idea management, top leaders need to always be open to receive ideas, and consider them properly. Idea management is not suitable for the autocratic or authoritarian leader who believes in a top down approach. These types of managers feel that asking employees for their opinion is a sign of weakness, and innovation management is therefore not right for them.
However, today’s managers, modern managers, are very different. They have gone beyond the “open door policy” and understand the true value of each individual employee. They know that they cannot know everything themselves, and that the best ideas often come from the most unexpected places. They know that there is no stronger management tool than a consistent flow of ideas.
How to Capture Ideas
You cannot simply tell staff to give out some ideas. They need to have a focus of what they are thinking about. Suggestion boxes of days gone by proved to be highly unsuccessful. People simply didn’t know what they were expected to suggest on! The way the organization was run, the air freshener that was used, the colors of the wall, the uniform of the cleaning staff? Suggestion boxes were used for grips – anonymous way for people to let off some steam. That isn’t innovation management.
Today, we have idea management software. This makes the entire process of capturing ideas a lot more systematic. No longer do you have to ask for random suggestions (although those can be useful as well, and there is a place for them in a good software package), but rather suggestions about specific things (management, air fresheners, wall colors, uniform – but also things like products, staff meetings, management styles, and so on).
Engaging in idea management is frightening for many managers, and also for other employees. It is something new, a form of change, and humans don’t like change. But embracing this technology is an innovation in and of itself, and once you have gone over that first hurdle, and shown people the benefits these systems can bring, you will quickly see your organization grow from strength to strength.