Idea Management Software: Do You Really Need to Use One?
The short answer is yes.
Idea management is the process of generating, selecting, organizing, and collaborating on ideas. It is an important part of innovation management, with the end goal of executing the best ideas possible.
Ideas, as the foundation of development and growth, are vital to an organization’s survival. To continuously add value for customers and/or the company, there must be an ongoing innovation process, which is impossible without a lot of ideas.
What is idea management software?
In the world of innovation, there are different tools and techniques you can use to facilitate and simplify the tasks involved with the process of idea management. Idea management software is one of those tools, meant to facilitate the collection, selection, and organization of ideas.
Using idea management software can make a whole lot of difference. For one, it will help your organization foster an innovation culture and environment that encourages everyone to contribute new ideas.
What you get from this will also enable you to shorten the time it takes to innovate. The rate at which you can generate good ideas and be able to turn them into innovation projects is a factor that will largely affect your organization’s competitive edge and survival.
One look at the fate of companies like Nokia and Pan Am is enough to convince of the dire consequences of failing to keep up with the market. To avoid this, you need a lot of ideas and a good process to manage all of them, which is how idea management software can help.
When do you need idea management software?
If your organization is actively seeking out innovation opportunities, then you definitely need idea management software.
For instance, let’s say that one of the goals of your organization for the next five years is to push out another line of products. To achieve this, you have set up a lot of physical and/or digital brainstorming sessions to think through various product ideas.
The problem with manually going through all these ideas is that you’d waste a vast amount of time. With idea management software, you will be able to easily collect all those ideas and do a selection later on.
Engaging with a lot of people as part of the ideation
Managing the overall ideation process from one place
What are the features of idea management software?
Features of a good idea management software can be grouped into three categories:
Idea campaigns (challenges)
Idea collection (reactive)
Idea management tools only work if there are ideas. That is why it is important that the software also has campaign features that will allow the user to create campaigns meant to challenge members into contributing ideas around a specific theme (or problem).
To spice it up, great tools have gamification features to help increase the engagement and creativity levels of the members. Some gamification features may include:
Mission countdown timer
Accept Mission has an undercover mode that you can use like your own avatar (you can be James Bond). You will then be able to lay down your ideas without the others knowing who “James Bond” really is.
This also helps others see the ideas submitted and rate them accordingly without biases.
If you are a manager, your employees do not have to put a “thumbs up” on your ideas just because those came from their “boss”.
Some great ideas come when you least expect them. A good example of this is when you are in the shower. According to a psychologist, this can be attributed to the “relaxing, solitary, and non-judgmental shower environment that may afford creative thinking.”
That is why it helps if the idea management software has some sort of way to collect ideas even without campaigning or having an active challenge to the members.
For example, by using Accept Mission, you can create “inboxes” about certain themes, questions, and problems, and your members can drop their ideas any time they think of one, whenever (and wherever) inspiration strikes.
Naturally, gamification features should still apply (like being able to drop ideas while undercover and gain experience points from doing so). It also helps if there is a way for members to interact on the ideas from other undercover agents by means of liking or even commenting.
This is where most of the action takes place after ideas are collected. It will not be called idea management software without capabilities and features to do so and thus separate this kind of tool from other ideation platforms like brainstorming and mind mapping software.
Some notable idea management features include:
Having a backtrail
Storing ideas for later
Qualifying and scoring ideas
Helping decision-makers choose the best ideas
Accept Mission even makes this easier by integrating idea management features with idea campaign and collection capabilities.
To give you an example, you know that there is an inbox feature where members can drop an idea whenever they think of one. After doing so, moderators and managers can then move those ideas into various columns, kanban-style.
As you can see from the image above, the ideas submitted in the inbox start from the left-most column. As you review the ideas, you can drag and drop the ideas into the column the best describes them.
What are some extra capabilities you will find useful?
When it comes to managing ideas, the more things you can do without leaving the platform, the better. That is why we have a list of features below of some extra capabilities that you may find useful in the idea management platform of your choice.
The truth is, it may seem lacking if a tool can help you with idea generation, collection, and management, and yet you would need another platform to house the projects that you will have to start from the best ideas you collected.
After launching the ideation tool feedback, our clients showed a clear need for an integrated portfolio management tool. This makes the platform an even more complete innovation management platform.
What this tool does is that it helps innovation managers to create a project portfolio, from roadmap to solution delivery, based on the best ideas gathered and selected with the help of the inbox and ideation tools.
In innovation, it is important that you collaborate with others efficiently to gain better results. In contrast to what others may think about innovation, it is actually a fast-paced environment and you need to adapt better and faster to remain competitive in the global field.
That is why we also have a digital live collaboration tool called “Boards” right inside the platform itself. With it, people can join and collaborate anywhere in the world with any device, in real-time.
This collaboration feature has three primary uses:
Enable team members to add ideas quickly and get inspired by the ideas of others.
Enable team members to analyze, categorize, and solve all kinds of challenges together.
Enable team members to receive important insights, receive feedback, and build strategies.
Advanced Selection Methods
Idea selection is an important part of the idea management process. Many idea management software has some sort of selection feature that will enable members to rate ideas and select which ones should progress to innovation projects.
The idea behind the selection tool is to help organizations pick a number of ideas by designing their own criteria system. Once a selection mission is over, you will receive a detailed list of all the top-rated ideas.
Use Idea Management Software
The bottom line is that using idea management software can make a whole lot of difference in your organization’s innovation process. Aside from saving a lot of time from managing numerous ideas, you will also have an easy way of storing all of them for future use.
If you are going to use such a tool, then it is better that you pick out the best one, which should have features on:
Advanced selection methods
Next steps: There are a lot of idea management applications out there that you can try. However, we do believe that our platform is the most complete. It is a complete innovation software that can support you from ideation to execution and management.