Conducting an innovation program depends on your capabilities of collecting and assimilating idea innovation thoughts that can add value to products and services. The value of ideas underlines its potential to be considered for implementation that would benefit the organization. Therefore, it is just not enough to collect ideas for the sake of increasing its numbers. It is true that only a very small percentage of ideas that are collected are found to be usable and actionable. The net of collecting ideas have to be cast far and wide so that even if a small percentage of ideas are usable, the number would not be that small.
The early days
Ideas have the power of uplifting business and place it in the trajectory of high growth. Companies are attaching immense importance to idea management programs so that there is always a steady pipeline of ideas available. Earlier, companies used to consider innovation programs as an offshoot of the business process, something like a by-product. Ideas were usually confined to the domain of suggestion schemes. It was routine and ritual for companies to devise suggestion schemes which eventually died young. There was no definitive outcome from such schemes that lacked direction.
Need for steady stream of ideas
However, with time, the competition increased and companies realized that new ideas were continuously necessary to become innovative and unique. Unless you are doing things differently, it is difficult to stay ahead in the race. More emphasis was given to idea innovation schemes that were gradually converted into full fledged innovation programs. This change in attitude resulted in ideas being treated as king and it became the backbone of innovation management programs. Companies were too keen to look for fresh ideas and launched structured innovation programs to encourage employees to come forward and contribute richly.
Learning from the earlier experiences of the failure of suggestion schemes, innovation programs were developed with definite purpose and given the right direction. The following changes happened.
- Innovation was considered as a business process and organizations earmarked specific personnel to launch and manage innovation programs. Innovation programs were no more considered as one time activity. It became a continuous process.
- The programs were based on the company goals and were developed to address issues that were concerning the organization and its profitability.
- Since the programs were aligned with the company objectives it gave a clear direction about the topics on which ideas were invited. This helped to gather quality ideas and not those based on random thoughts.
- Realizing the power of ideas, organizations started using idea management tools to drive the program in a structured manner. The system became transparent, all ideas were evaluated and the chosen ones were taken forward towards implementation.
The new approach ensured better engagement of the participants to the program that constituted of a wider section of stake holders including employees, customers and partners. Idea innovation schemes held the center stage and became the cradle of innovation that had the powers of making companies grow.