Sometimes the best ideas are right in front of us, yet too often they go unnoticed. To truly manage innovation, we need a better system to find, foster, and turn ideas into action.
Who drives internal innovation?
Over time innovation became the task of many as leaders realized that the best ideas often come from the most unexpected people. Today’s organizations do not rely solely on an R&D department to drive innovation, instead they leverage the collective knowledge of all their employees.
Why? Multiple voices can lead to new ideas, and as a result, generate new products or services and even influence business practices. As quoted by Frédéric Rozé, the CEO at L’Oréal USA:
“Diversity fosters creativity. We need to generate the best ideas from our people in all levels of the company and incorporate them into our business practices.”
How can we better manage employee innovation?
As employee innovation grows in popularity so too has the need for idea management tools. Organizations need a centralized space to gather ideas, with processes that help move projects from the idea stage to concrete actions. One such tool is an ideation platform which is widely used to encourage employees to share their ideas and transform them into results.
As author and activist, Helen Keller said:
‘’Ideas without action are worthless’’
Companies that manage innovation with a structured idea management process have seen great success. Samsung, Nestle, 3M, and CISCO are just a few examples.
A good example comes from Samsung, which launched the Samsung C-Lab to encourage Samsung employees to share their ideas through a structured idea management platform. It has led to impressive accomplishments.
“The ideas that have blossomed are a real testament to the success of the C-Labs. Some 46% of projects are transferred to various Samsung business divisions, and 18% are spun off to become businesses in their own right”.
How can we manage innovation in a hybrid workplace? Does creativity suffer when workers are remote?
In a hybrid work situation, collaborating on ideas as a team can be difficult. It becomes more challenging to organize physical meetings to work on projects and brainstorm. That’s why it is important to have an online tool where everyone can contribute, without being physically present.
A virtual ideation platform not only allows employees to contribute remotely but also encourages different personality types to share ideas. While traditional brainstorming sessions may suit louder personalities, innovation management tools give everyone an equal voice.
Ideation platforms allow companies to create an environment that encourages every employee to brainstorm, share their ideas, be creative, and fuel the innovation capabilities of the organization. The results can be quite promising. For example, Deutsche Post (DHL), announced in 2009 that employee inventiveness through ideation platform resulted in benefits of € 265 million.
There is no reason for creativity and innovation to suffer when employees are remote, in fact, sometimes people’s best ideas happen when they are alone.
Teamwork and collaboration will help get the idea off the ground but creativity can happen at the most unexpected times, a virtual platform helps employees get their ideas out of their heads and into a concrete project.
What can an idea management tool be used for?
When it comes to managing innovation, a laissez-faire approach that encourages creative thinking can work well. Ideation tools don’t need to be limited to great thinking, fantastic new products, and revolutionary ideas. It can also be a place to contribute smaller ideas that benefit employees day-to-day.
So, the ideation tool is not only for R&D. All company departments can benefit from it. Anyone, can at one stage give life to an idea, transform it into a process. With an ideation platform, you can invite everyone to participate, generate new ideas and create campaigns together, since: alone we go faster, but together we go further.
What is the Ideation Hub?
At Powell Software we saw a need, internally and with our clients, for an ideation tool integrated into the digital workplace. We developed the Ideation Hub as an accessible idea management space where everyone can contribute. The goal is to create employee engagement, promote out-of-the-box thinking, increase communication, enforce company culture and develop social links.
Employees are already overloaded with multiple tools so integrating the Ideation Hub into the tools employees use daily, the digital workplace was a key priority. This means employees do not have to be trained in its use as they already are in a familiar environment. The Ideation Hub comes as standard for Powell Software digital workplace customers, current and future!
How does the Powell Software Ideation Hub work?
The Ideation Hub is easy to use for both a contributor and a standard user. Contributors can post campaign ideas, be visible to everyone, or target a specific group of people. Standard users will be able to contribute by submitting project ideas and can share, comment, and vote on other people’s ideas posts.
Then, contributors can shortlist the best ideas and announce winners. To better engage employees, these capabilities can be augmented with gamification: people can earn points and get badges when they contribute ideas or interact with others.
The Powell Software Ideation hub allows connection, communication, and collaboration through the integration of the intranet and Microsoft teams. Once the best idea is selected, employees will be able to start working on a new project instantly in Microsoft Teams.
What does the Ideation Hub look like in practice?
As we know innovation can come from anyone and every department can benefit from innovation management tools like the Ideation Hub. Here are just three examples of how different departments can leverage employee innovation.
Mark is responsible for R&D project management and he needs to collect ideas to find a new killer feature for the intranet. So he shares his campaign on the Ideation Hub and asks employees to contribute.
Marc set a deadline for the campaign which means that employees can submit ideas until a certain date. In the end, he will review the ideas posted under his campaign and select the ones that stand out.
Linda is in charge of the Marketing department and wants to organize a large event, the annual summit. She posts a new campaign in the Ideation Hub, asking everyone for their ideas to plan the best event yet.
After Linda submits her campaign, company employees start to share their ideas. After reviewing all the ideas, Linda selects the two top ideas. Now she can start preparing the summit and incorporate the two new great ideas!
Jim is an HR manager with a goal to increase employee engagement within the organization. So he posts a campaign in the Ideation Hub to collect new ideas.
Employees submit their ideas and Jim selects the most popular two. He will use a Powell Teams template to start working on the project with his colleagues.
Innovation for everyone and day-to-day activities
It’s clear from these examples that internal innovation isn’t just for R&D departments or big ideas. Innovation concerns day-to-day activities and everyday ideas big or small.
That’s why the Powell Software Ideation Hub was built on four pillars:
- Inclusivity – Innovation cannot be limited to only a few employees
- Collaboration – Participatory experience with the ability to share, comment & react
- One Digital Workplace – People and their apps gathered in one single place
- Engagement – An inspiring environment, easy to use that comes with gamification
The Innovation Hub is available now to current and future Powell Software customers and is included as standard with Powell Intranet.