How might we build a more efficient or effective innovation process?

I’m so glad you asked, because according to The 2019 State of Crowdsourced Innovation Report, process is more important than budget.

“In an assessment of our most successful customers (those who stated that they had met or exceeded all of their innovation goals), 81% said that they did have a formal process for idea management, but only 30% had a dedicated budget for implementing ideas. How is it possible that they successfully achieved their goals without any budget? They were experts at taking institutional energy and using it to influence leaders who already had budget.”

So it’s time to master process at your organization and master the IdeaScale stage functions and permissions that will help you map your process into a “funnel” or “workflow”.

“Oftentimes, innovation practitioners want a templated funnel that they can use for their idea process. Some innovators use design thinking, some use Six Sigma, some create a completely bespoke funnel that only makes sense at their organization. However, there is no “best” process that has yet emerged.”

At IdeaScale, we believe that the best process is the process that works at your organization. For this reason, IdeaScale has the most sophisticated and customizable suite of stage functions, group permissions, and moderation permissions on the market. These feature sets are designed to empower you to create a software-support process the reflects the realities of decision-making and idea advancement at your organization.

What’s a funnel? What’s a stage?

With so many options, it can certainly feel a bit complicated for a beginner. So I summarized the options with this key:

Where to start

I recommend you start mapping out your process without looking at IdeaScale. Just start with a blank page and this key on hand. Draw out the life cycle of the idea at your organization from submission to implementation. Who are the key stakeholders, experts, and decision-makers who should be involved along the way? Who will ultimately make this idea a reality? What actions do these people need to take at various moments in the progression of the idea? Maybe experts need to add information early and decision-makers need to evaluate and select ideas in the middle. Maybe your decision-makers are SVPs. Maybe the decision-makers are the implementers.

As you’re doing this, keep in mind that it is not at all necessary to have an idea-in/idea-out machine. Ideas can certainly be mixed and matched along the way as well using our “link-ideas” function.

But, I’m here to change the status quo!

If you’re hoping to drive some process changes at your organization, then I recommend going through the following exercise:

First, draw out the life cycle of an idea at your organization assuming BAU conditions. Then, draw out what you think would be a more effective or efficient process. We would be happy to provide feedback on these two processes to help you refine the desired future-state process. We can certainly help you map this future-state process into IdeaScale, but keep in mind that implementing a change in organization process in any piece of software does not make it so. You will need to first garner the buying of all the stakeholders involved. We are happy to help you navigate this negotiation or refer you to a partner who can help with change management. The key thing to remember is that this thoughtful change management is crucial to the success of your ideal process. It’s so important that I’ll say it once more: Implementing a process in software, does not make it so. Garnering the buy-in of stakeholders can only be achieved with conversations.

Map your workflow into your IdeaScale configuration

Once you have a workflow sketch in hand, reach out to us. Our skilled Innovation Strategists are available for personal consultations to provide specific feedback on your workflow, help you identify the possible stumbling blocks and smooth out the process. We can also help you map your workflow into the software. Consultations are usually included in enterprise packages and can be purchased a al carte by clients with starter packages.

Once you’ve built your first funnel in IdeaScale, you will quickly become an expert in the IdeaScale stage functions, group permissions and moderation permissions that will give you full power in architecting bespoke funnels for the many campaigns you have in store. Indeed, no single process fits every organization. Likewise, no single process fits every innovation campaign. For some examples of funnels, check out this blog entry.

Read the full series:

  1. The Best Innovation Leaders Need to do These Two Things
  2. The Four Essentials For Engaging the Crowd With Your Innovation Program
  3. (Currently reading) How to Build YOUR Best Innovation Process

About the author

Whitney Bernstein, VP Innovation Strategy and Customer Success

Whitney Bernstein is VP of Innovation Strategy and Customer Success at IdeaScale. Whitney coaches clients in designing and deploying large scale innovation programs at their organization.  Whitney works with government, non-profit, university, and enterprise clients to fully realize their vision for crowdsourced innovation.

Whitney offers custom tailored interactive workshops on innovation planning and management, as well as workshops on practical skills, mindset, and methods for generating new ideas and making those ideas a reality.

Whitney has experience in government sector innovation as a NOAA Sea Grant Knauss Fellow in the US House of Representatives. Whitney has a PhD in Chemical Oceanography from MIT, and a BS in Chemistry from UC Berkeley.

Featured image via Yayimages.