IdeaScale has honored innovation leaders in their annual Innovation Management Awards for six years now. Award recipients have come from almost every industry with a variety of goals (from eradicating cancer to identifying new university technology best practices), but this year’s winners share a few key characteristics that all innovation leaders need to embody.

Advocating for the Crowd. Whether they were winners in the engagement category or the process category, IM Award winners advocated for their end users. One of the winners reported that not only did they gather, prioritize and implement many new concepts, but they measured their entire staff’s attitudes towards employee engagement and innovation and they saw an improvement in employee sentiment across all these measures. If you’re advocating for your crowd (whether they’re your customers, end users, employees, citizens, or partners), you’ll enjoy the added benefit of improving your crowd’s opinion of you.

Sourcing Resources for New Ideas. Every winner in this year’s innovation management awards implemented ideas. Some winners were predicting top-line revenue growth over $10 Million from suggested ideas and some were funding new research questions to the tune of $9 Million in order to make decisions in the future. Either way, the participation from the crowd of innovators was rewarded by substantial investment and attention to those suggestions.

Sharing Best Practices. Communications is one of the most important new skills that innovators need to develop. If an idea didn’t work, top innovators worked to explain why so that others could improve it or avoid suggesting it in the future. Implemented ideas were socialized organizationally so that others could replicate their success. And whether a community member saw their idea reach launch or not, they were able to see that the innovation department was listening and acting on those suggestions.

Learn more about the Innovation Management Award winners by downloading their full case studies of their innovation programs.

By Rob Hoehn

About the author

Rob Hoehn is the co-founder and CEO of IdeaScale: the largest open innovation software platform in the world. Hoehn launched crowdsourcing software as part of the open government initiative and IdeaScale’s robust portfolio now includes many other industry notables, such as EA Sports, NBC, NASA, Xerox and many others. Prior to IdeaScale, Hoehn was Vice President of Client Services at Survey Analytics.

Featured image via Unsplash.