Idea Management Solutions for SMEs: A Different Approach
Netflix, General Electric, Procter & Gamble, Apple, Visa — these companies may have great products and great people, but these are not the sole factors that made them successful.
Blockbuster was a successful company. In fact, it was one of the most iconic brands in the movie rental space, with more than 80,000 employees and 9,000 stores. But it filed for bankruptcy in 2010.
If you dig deeper, you will see that behind all the successes, there’s one underlying factor that made the beforementioned companies great: continuous innovation — to create added value for customers and/or the company (and its shareholders).
In order for innovation to happen, there have to be a lot of ideas (including radical ones). To be able to properly collect all those ideas, select the best ones, and manage all of them, you need to use a tool.
What does an idea management solution do?
An idea management solution, also known as idea management software, is one of the innovation tools available to help businesses grow.
The main purpose of this tool is to manage and structure the whole ideation process and selection. Specifically, it helps in generating and assessing the best innovative idea and executing the best ones.
The question is…
Why do you need an idea management solution?
The answer lies in answering why it’s important to oversee all the innovative ideas and their roles in your innovation projects.
First and foremost, you should know that innovation management is different from idea management. When you say idea management, it literally refers to managing new ideas, which are usually generated during brainstorming sessions.
Our definition of idea management is as follows:
“Managing all ideas of an organization by using a structured process: generate, select, collaborate on ideas, and on organizing them.”
Innovation management, on the other hand, refers to the overall process of managing the whole innovation process — from generating innovative ideas down to bringing the best of them to reality and improving them even further.
As for the reasons why idea management is important, one of them is that it helps in creating an environment that’s friendly to new ideas.
Large companies have problems being conducive to new ideas. Many of them are not willing to risk deviating from their business model. It’s up to the point that some are even discouraging new ventures by enforcing maximum quotas.
Naturally, this discouragement factor is more or less implied, rather than outrightly spoken.
On the other hand, most at the executive level believe that developing new ideas is the key to long-term success. This is one of the facts established from a study conducted by Accenture on why innovation efforts still fall short despite increased investment.
An idea management solution increases the speed of the innovation process
Another important reason why you need an idea management solution is how it fast tracks the innovation process.
The ability to develop new ideas and realize them is important in terms of competitive advantage and survival. The speed of your innovation process could make or break your business. It could greatly affect the bottom line of your business.
Without a solution for managing the innovation process, it could take a long time before a minimum viable product gets created.
Companies like Blockbuster, Nokia, and Pan Am failed in the past. In fact, 88% of all the 1955 companies that were listed in the Fortune 500 were all gone because of “dynamic creative destruction” — the failure to keep up with the marketing for lack of innovation.
In more ways than one, innovation makes your company future-proof.
What features to look for in an idea management solution?
The most important factor to consider is that the tool should be able to help your organization generate, select, and review all the ideas. Keep in mind that ideation is an important step in the innovation process.
It’s also important to have a way for your team to work together and keep track of progress.
Specifically, there are three features you should look into:
Ideation: The solution should be able to help your organization generate new ideas. It should also be easy for a number of people to pitch in their ideas, whether these people came from inside your organization or outside.
Idea management: The solution should allow you to group the ideas collected into categories so it will be easy to retrieve them later on. There should also be a way for your organization to assess those ideas easily as well as make smart decisions in terms of managing the ideas.
Collaboration: The solution should enable you to work with others on the ideas easily. It’s even better if there is a way for you to collaborate with others in real-time. It greatly helps if the solution would be able to provide an analytics report and real-time insights.
When considering what solution to use, remember these features. The best solutions have a tool, feature, or functionality for ideation, idea management, and collaboration.
What are the best idea management solutions out there?
Here are three of the best idea management solutions that small and mid-size enterprises should definitely try:
1. Accept Mission
Accept Mission is the most complete innovation management solution out there. The platform is popularly known for its gamification approach in generating new ideas where ideation campaigns are termed as “missions”. This is where the name comes from.
In terms of features, our solution has everything you need.
Accept Mission has reinvented ideation and brainstorming. The advanced gamification feature allows you to boost the engagement and creativity of others by enabling them to like and follow the ideas that they love.
The platform makes ideation feel like a game. Teams can go “undercover” during missions and work on innovation goals. Smart templates are available to help you quickly start a mission without taking too long customizing it.
Accept Mission also makes idea management seem painless and easy by enabling you to manage and qualify all ideas in one place.
There’s also a selection tool that helps in selecting the best ideas. Basically, it’s a scoring system where you can freely set your own criteria and invite others to assess an idea based on those criteria.
Accept Mission also has features designed for collaboration. You can freely share knowledge with others and even leave comments and insights on ideas. There’s also the new “Boards” tool you could use to collaborate with others in real-time.
Aside from that, there’s a smart kanban feature that gives you an overview of all the ideas and their progress. It also provides statistics and real-time insights on how your innovation “missions” are doing.
Accept Mission has a free plan for you to test it out.
Viima is another all-in-one innovation management solution. It has more or less similar features to Accept Mission — without the fun parts like gamification and smart kanban.
Their solution primarily revolves around four main features:
Similar to that with Accept Mission, Viima allows the collection of ideas from different groups of people. Ideas could also be categorized with automatic notifications to the concerned group members.
You can also develop your own systematic process and freely create your own innovation framework. The good thing is that the platform allows you to mention the right people and add attachments to each idea.
Viima also allows the prioritization and selection of the best ideas generated. They have a flexible evaluation system where you can choose your own metrics and ask people to rate the ideas based on those metrics.
There’s also an analytics feature that provides an overview of the innovation projects. What’s unique with it is that you can use it to spot trends from data and see which ideas are worth investigating in detail.
Viima has a free plan you can take for a spin.
Ideanote is perhaps closer to Accept Mission than Viima. They also have a feature that allows you to launch missions centered around a challenging question. This inspires people to submit ideas related to a problem or a goal your organization wants to achieve.
In terms of product features, they focus on four areas:
Collection of ideas
Their collaboration feature allows everyone to give feedback on an idea. Users can comment and rate on ideas. In terms of selecting the best ideas, you can define up to 15 different criteria on which to judge the ideas on.
The analytics feature allows you to define and manage outcomes for ideas. You can track the outcomes of the ideas as well as filter those same ideas by outcomes. Naturally, the features also come with actionable insights.
Unfortunately, Ideanote doesn’t have a free plan. This makes it not that SME-friendly compared to Accept Mission and Viima.
Choose the best tool for your organization
The truth is, although only three idea management solutions are listed here, it’s only a drop in the ocean. A simple search on Capterra will tell you that there are literally hundreds of such solutions out there.
However, the three mentioned here are the best ones for SMEs.
Here’s a little summary of how Ideanote, Viima, and Accept Mission differ from each other:
In terms of robustness, Accept Mission comes out victorious. The number of features that this platform brings makes it simply the most complete solution out there. It has all the features you need in an idea management solution.
The analytics feature of Viima is pretty solid. How it helps in spotting trends from data is helpful since it adds weight in making decisions especially as to what ideas are worth pursuing.
Ideanote’s analytics feature is also unique. Since you could define outcomes for your ideas, it helps you track the progress of those ideas and how you stack up against the goals you have set.
The way Accept Mission focuses heavily on gamification, especially on the initial part of the innovation process, is definitely a winner. What you get from this feature includes undercover usage, leaderboards, timers, teams, notifications, and experience points.
As you may know, gamification influences the cognitive process associated with analysis and stimuli reaction. It significantly increases the engagement levels which results in a fostered creating thinking. It makes contributing feel more rewarding.
TalentLMS, a cloud-based learning management system, ran a survey about gamification at work. The result was staggering. Unbelievably, about 85% of employees affirm that they will spend more time with gamified software.
This makes Accept Mission a really good choice.
Next step: As much as we want to help you find the best idea management solution for your business, we at Accept Mission are confident that you will absolutely love what we offer.
Here at Accept Mission, we really want to have a better understanding of the situation and needs of our clients so we can deliver an ROI calculation and a pilot to prove the value of the platform.
Once you’re ready to start, book a demo here and see what Accept Mission has to offer.