Ideas are at the heart of every innovation. Today, there are plenty of innovation collection methods that your company can use during your ideation process.

However, which ones fit your organization best? What makes these techniques differ from one another?

In this article, we will discuss four of the most useful ideation methods in detail to identify which of these techniques is the most suitable for you and your employees.

Let’s start!

Why is it important to consider the collection method you will be using?

Ideation focuses on generating the best concepts and outcomes that business entities can use to address a diverse range of problems that people go through in their day-to-day lives.

It aims to produce unique and never-before-seen products, solutions, processes, and services that add value to employees, customers, and the organization.

It can also focus on applying necessary changes to improve existing processes within the company for better innovation performance.

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Nowadays, entrepreneurs can use many innovation collection methods to maximize a person’s innovation skills and abilities, particularly for idea generation purposes.

The proposed concepts that come up as a result of these ideation sessions become the main fuel and material for creating the prototypes necessary in establishing innovative solutions. It provides a structure to the ideation session in such a manner that delivers results.

However, not every ideation method is compatible for you and your team. You have to find the one that best suits each of your abilities. You have to choose the one that makes your ideation process productive.

As every organization is different, you have to match your innovation projects with your strengths and weaknesses as a company and the method you want to deliver results.

You also have to consider your ideation participants’ creativity and professional experiences, specifically how every method brings out the best of their innovation potentials.

The Right Ideation Method

Lastly, you need to find the right ideation method that:

  • Asks the right set of questions concerning your innovation objectives
  • Provides all the necessary insights and perspectives that you need in addressing and resolving particular challenges
  • Goes beyond the most common and overused solutions in your respective industry
  • Entertains and considers as many ideas as possible
  • Gives you an overview of potential issues that you may encounter in executing proposed ideas
  • Provide variety and volume in your innovation choices
  • Create volume and variety in your innovation options
  • Values the input of every participant present in the session

What are the best innovation collection methods to use during ideation?

Aside from brainstorming techniques and other traditional ideation methods, here are four other innovation collection techniques that you can apply in your ideation process:

1. Hackathons

You might have read or heard about hackathons before, but unless you are a tech junkie (or somebody who works in the tech industry), you might not be very familiar with what it means and how it works.

However, just as the term suggests, hackathons are very popular in the world of tech.

Definition

A hackathon is an event that tech institutions typically organize to gather several programmers that can work on a particular project in a specific period.

The length of time allotted for this competition is usually just 24 to 48 hours, so participants most likely work around the clock with little to no sleep to accomplish their tasks.

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In hackathons, programmers, software designers, and other authorized participants may combine their efforts to create software applications and relevant features that can bring growth and development to the product and the company.

They can use new technologies and thousands of code from various sources to achieve their desired outputs. With this activity, participants can create useful products and showcase them to a panel of judges that vote and identify the winners.

Hackathons may also conduct workshops where participants can learn from distinguished experts and mentors in the tech industry.

Example

Hackathons already paved the way for some of the most notable contributions that we use today, like Facebook’s like button that got its recognition last 2007 and the Facebook timeline that the platform introduced to its users sometime in 2011.

2. Idea Boxes

The best ideas do not necessarily come from one person alone. A proposed concept may get enhanced by the insights of several people, or they may be bits and pieces of different ideas combined.

Coming up with hundreds of ideas is not easy. Not only do you have to evaluate them one by one, but you also have to generate a lot if you want to obtain a diverse range of perspectives in resolving issues related to either your customers or to the organization.

Such is the reason why idea boxes have come to life.

Definition

Various companies have developed their very own versions of idea boxes. Some enterprises like to do it traditionally (suggestion box), while others have opted for a more digital version (like idea inbox).

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Either way, the purpose of an idea box is to encourage every employee in the organization to contribute to the company’s stream of ideas for innovations and improvements.

An idea box works just like the way it was named.

After submitting a distinct concept, ideas with the same theme get tagged and classified into a “box,” where they stay in context and become searchable. Users may flag ideas to be interesting, and other interested individuals can converse and create a micro-community.

However, its traditional version, called a suggestion box, is a simple and outdated tool that accepts proposals from anybody who wants to share their thoughts with the company.

It may also not be as transparent as its digital version in terms of ownership and evaluation, provided how a suggestion box allows anonymity upon submission.

Example

Amazon once placed a virtual suggestion box on its internal website to provide employees with an easy and accessible method of contributing their ideas and insights for growth.

Charlie Ward, Amazon’s formal principal engineer, thought of how he dislikes going through the order pipeline and selecting everything again and again.

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He also couldn’t utilize one click with Amazon’s then super saver free shipping, so he thought of submitting a scenario to their virtual suggestion box.

The entry situates customers to provide a chunk of change at the beginning of the year and Amazon calculates zero for their shipping charges for the rest of the year.

Of course, this suggestion was not taken seriously at first, but he wrote a short half-pager about it, and his idea then became one of Amazon’s greatest innovations: the free shipping that became the basis of Amazon Prime.

3. Open Innovation Challenge

Open innovation reiterates the fact that great ideas can come from people outside the organization, too, particularly customers and end-users who use the products and services of a company.

Definition

An open innovation challenge is an alternative to the conventional thinking that innovation has to come from within the borders of the company. It emphasizes how organizations must be open and receptive to the thoughts, ideas, and suggestions of individuals outside of the enterprise.

It values the creativity of those who do not belong to the organization yet are capable of contributing to the achievement of the company’s strategic goals and innovation objectives. It believes that outputs from the outside can improve the innovation funnel of the company.

For these reasons, organizations conduct an open innovation challenge, where entrepreneurs, students, innovators, community members, and even customers can participate in solving issues by tapping into their creative sides and expertise to generate new and effective solutions.

Example

In 2006, Netflix created an open innovation challenge called the Netflix Prize.

In this competition, every non-Netflix personnel is allowed to join on the company’s quest for a filtering algorithm that enhances user movie and series suggestions by 10% compared to the present one that the company uses in its domain.

The winner of the competition will be awarded a grand prize of 1 million USD.

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After a year, 40,000 teams from 186 different countries chose to join the competition, and within three years’ time, two teams came up with a way of doing what was asked.

One was eventually declared the winner. However, their algorithm was too expensive to implement, so the company went with the runner-up instead, which was able to do it by 1.57% less than the original winner.

That was the end of its open innovation challenges, though, as Netflix had trouble with privacy concerns, granted how some people thought that the said organization released their user ratings for the applicants to use in the competition.

4. Live Collaboration

Some companies have innovation personnel located in other countries and timezones. However, this should not, in any way, hinder their innovation processes from succeeding.

Definition

Live collaboration involves connecting users from different parts of the world to participate in the company’s innovation initiatives digitally. It enables teams to communicate, collaborate, and work on projects efficiently despite the differences in the locations and time zones of their members.

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It allows designated personnel to report real-time information and progress to relevant stakeholders and team members to keep innovation projects organized and accomplished on time.

With live collaboration, employees can communicate ideas, problems, and strategies faster than ever before.

Live collaboration platforms have come up with tools that improved traditional brainstorming, including gamification features and ratings for ideas to make the ideation and experience more fun and engaging for innovation teams.

Example

One of the best examples of live collaboration software is Boards by Accept Mission, a digital live collaboration tool that makes both physical and digital brainstorming easy to use and effective when having video conference meetings.

Companies also use Boards in sharing ideas, solving challenges, and sharpening strategies.

How does an idea management platform help?

Idea management involves facilitating three innovation activities: collecting, selecting, and organizing ideas. Aside from encouraging a culture of innovation, idea management platforms also bring other benefits like:

  • Optimizing the ideation process for greater innovation success
  • Adding ideas directly into the system
  • Scoring ideas directly
  • Storing ideas that are not yet relevant or are expensive to implement
  • Performing keyword analysis
  • Backtracking and audit trailing of ideas

Learn more about Accept Mission by going on a feature tour.