Ideation is the start to innovation projects that can lead to competitive advantages or open whole new gateways for companies. For example, think about the first iPhone, which kickstarted the smartphone market. The definition of ideation is: the formation of ideas or concepts. A strong ideation is needed to start an innovation project and optimize its outcome, since the generated ideas shape the entire innovation. To improve your digital ideation, 6 key factors are important.
Ideation fuels innovation
A strong ideation is important to innovation. When it’s poorly executed, bad ideas will be generated and the innovations will be fed with these poor ideas. Better ideas will be generated by optimizing it, which will lead to a better start to the innovation project. A Dutch saying is: ‘a good start is half the work’. Because the innovation project is fueled by better ideas, there is a higher chance it will lead to a better result.
Ideation also makes sure that obvious solutions won’t always be the approach. It is key to look further than the first ‘logical’ idea that you think of. With ideation, many ideas are generated and chances are that there is an equally good or better idea among the results.
“The air is full of ideas. They are knocking you in the head all the time. You only have to know what you want, then forget it, and go about your business. Suddenly, the idea will come through. It was there all the time.” – Henry Ford
1. Barriers of time, place and people
The first step to optimize digital ideation is to prevent the barriers of time, place and people.
The problem of time barriers is that employees are already busy during their jobs. Their normal tasks will be hindered due to meetings for example. By removing a time barrier, employees can engage in ideations in-between meetings, to expand on the previous example.
Place barriers create the situation that employees repeatedly have to return to the same place to submit their ideas. This concerns places like meetings or physical idea boxes. Not every employee is always in the office due to work related traveling. Being able to submit ideas from virtually everywhere eases the idea generation process.
It is difficult to ideate when a large amount of people is involved in the innovation process. There is a maximum amount of people that can participate in a face to face ideation. In digital ideation, there are no limits. A big advantage of technology is that platforms can be used on a big scale and that is not different with ideation. There is no longer the need to hold multiple sessions or exclude people because there isn’t any place left.
2. Setting a deadline
Setting a deadline massively helps to enhance the digital ideation process. The reality is that employees tend to see ideation as a side task. When they are busy with other tasks, no time will be freed to participate. Participants will free time because it has a higher priority than before when using deadlines. This means that just being open to ideas is not enough to generate the best and enough ideas. By setting deadlines and making clear you expect the employees to participate, the ideation results will improve.
3. Setting goals
Another important factor in digital ideation is goal setting. By setting goals, people are more likely to work hard to achieve the goal. When there are no goals, there is no pressure. Without goals, people tend to postpone the tasks, because other tasks do have goals and therefor a higher priority. So to successfully complete an ideation there is a need for goal setting. Otherwise the ideation will not receive the attention it needs, which has a negative impact on the results.
4. Engaging people
Digital ideation provides benefits to more organizational aspects than just innovation. Organizations try to improve their employee engagement with, for example, culture. Another way to improve engagement is by using ideation. Employees feel more involved in the organization this way, because of their ability to influence innovations. So, the organization doesn’t only benefit from the ideas from the digital ideation but also from an improved employee engagement.
5. Good communication
The first form of communication in digital ideation starts with inviting the participants. The invitation needs to clearly describe the benefit of the ideation and why it’s important that the invited person is needed to complete it.
Notifications are also important. Participants need to stay up-to-date of new ideation rounds and comments on their ideas. Notifications attract people back to the platform to create new ideas, expand their old ones or to give their opinion on ideas of others. Without notifications, participants don’t know when new rounds start and when to review the ideas of others.
After the ideation, participants should be updated with the outcome of the digital ideation, so they can see the impact that they made and which ideas came out on top. Otherwise, they will not be motivated to participate in a new ideation because they haven’t seen the effect of the previous one.
Another advantage of digital ideation is anonymity. In normal ideation it is commonly said that “there aren’t any bad ideas”, but some people will always be scared of the judgement of the other participants. When the ideation is executed digitally, the participants are anonymous. They can post ideas without anyone knowing it’s their idea. The ‘freedom’ that they receive from this anonymity is translated into more ideas because they don’t feel the social pressure as they feel in a normal brainstorm.
Digital ideation platform Accept Mission
Accept Mission is an idea management platform that provides all the improvements that you need to take your ideation to the next level. It has the solutions to the problems that occur during a normal ideation. Tools like idea generation, idea management, inboxes and selection help you successfully finish the ideation, so the innovation is fed with the best ideas possible.