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.
However, ideas alone are not enough. Each of these concepts has to be channeled in the right direction and executed flawlessly. This is where idea management software comes into play.
In this article, we will discuss what idea management software is, what its features are, what benefits come with using it, and whether getting one makes a difference in your processes.
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 tool that facilitates the collection, selection, and organization of ideas.
This enables innovation by providing a system that allows for the creative input of employees and other stakeholders, as well as the structured feedback required to turn an idea into a reality.
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.
It also allows for the easy and efficient management of ideas, from submission to implementation. By having all the ideas in one place, it becomes easier to track their progress, monitor which ones are being worked on, and see which ideas have been put into action.
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 us 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.
Meaning, an idea management software also provides the necessary platform to quickly and effectively turn good ideas into value-adding projects.
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.
Even with constricting your idea-generation activities in a small internal group, you might still get hundreds of 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.
Idea management software can help you save a lot of time by automating the processes of submission, review, and selection of ideas. Additionally, it offers a simpler way to track the progress of each idea and see which ones are underway.
Idea management software is also a great tool to have if your organization relies heavily on customer feedback.
This is because it can help you turn all the customer feedback you’re getting into valuable insights that you can use to improve your products and services. In other words, it can help you turn customer feedback into ideas that you can work on and implement.
That was one example. Other instances when using an idea management solution is a good idea include:
- Managing a large number of ideas
- Digitally collecting and storing ideas
- Working together with other members
- Doing a keyword analysis of the ideas
- Seeing and managing statuses of ideas
- Searching through all the ideas collected
- Backtracking and audit trailing of the ideation
- Integrating the ideation process with other tools
- 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 good idea management software can be grouped into three categories:
- Idea campaigns (challenges)
- Idea collection (reactive)
- Idea management
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).
This challenge can either be created by the administrator or any member of the organization.
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:
- Undercover mode
- Experience points
- 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 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.
That way, nobody has to wait for the right time or challenge to come along before an idea can be submitted. Instead, they can just submit it whenever the inspiration comes or whenever they feel comfortable sharing it.
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 with the ideas of other undercover agents by means of liking or even commenting.
Ideas are only as useful as the individuals who will implement them.
That is why it’s important that idea management software also has features for managing ideas. Once collected, these ideas will still need to be processed before they can be used.
This is where most of the action takes place after ideas are collected. It will not be called idea management software without the 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 leftmost column. As you review the ideas, you can drag and drop the ideas into the column that 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. Not only does this promote convenience, but it also helps with the consistency and accuracy of data.
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.
In fact, that is the reason why we integrated a portfolio management tool right inside Accept Mission.
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.
This way, they can easily transition from idea to implementation while still enjoying the benefits and features of a centralized platform.
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.
This is the reason why most idea management platforms offer collaboration features to help. These features may come in different shapes and sizes, but the goal is always the same: to easily facilitate collaboration on ideas.
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.
Not all ideas are created equal, so you need to make sure that you are choosing the best ones to pursue.
In addition, selecting the right ideas can help you streamline your innovation process. This is because you will be able to focus on ideas that have the most potential and that are more likely to succeed.
Finally, selecting the right ideas can also help you build a better product or service. This is because you will be able to gather feedback from users and incorporate it into your idea development process.
Accept Mission took it a level higher by offering some advanced selection features including:
- Target scores
- Personal results
- Inbox integration
- Bullet chart result
- Undercover mode
- Various criteria type
- Export for deeper analysis
- Personalized criteria scores
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.
Additionally, having a platform where people can collaborate and work together on ideas can make a big difference in your organization’s innovation success.
So if you want to find a way to improve your innovation process, then using idea management software is a good place to start.
If you are going to use such a tool, then it is better that you pick out the best one, which should have the features on the:
- Idea campaigns
- Idea collection
- Idea management
- Portfolio management
- 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 full innovation software that can support you from ideation to execution and management.
Learn more about what Accept Mission has to offer by going on a feature tour.