Launching online innovations can be challenging.
You need to have the appropriate set of tools and the right attitude to carry it out successfully. It also requires certain techniques and brainstorming sessions to be done online.
But as several issues arise, companies need to be prepared and equipped thoroughly. In this article, you will learn how to implement online innovation in your own organization.
What are the common pitfalls of online innovation?
Despite the constant advancements in technology, several employees lack technological skills. Some of them may find the shift from doing tasks manually to performing them online difficult.
Hence, most of the challenges presented below will cover two major aspects — working tools and setups.
1. Problem with tools
Reliance on tools that may not work all the time
They say that people are only as good as the tools they use. But what happens when these tools malfunction at some point? This inevitable circumstance is why innovation managers and even employees themselves need to devise a backup plan.
Companies need to learn how to use substitute tools along with a backup plan that remedies possible risks to avoid putting the team’s tasks on hold. Once organizations do not deliver on the set date, customers look for other suppliers to fulfill their needs.
Pick tools that seamlessly work with one another. Evaluate the pros and cons of each, and determine whether these tools help in carrying out collaboration and communication within the organization.
Lack of knowledge on what tools to use for certain tasks and activities
Before you even begin launching brainstorming sessions or any other innovation activity online, you need to find out first if your people are aware of all the tools within their reach.
Obtaining knowledge about these things will give them an idea of all the proper mechanisms for handling various responsibilities. Implementing innovation includes utilizing procedures, tools, and processes to add real business value to the company itself and its customers.
Examine the tools you would like to include upon turning ideas to life. Rate every tool on your roster and test them one by one to assess how functional they are. When they fail to respond to your needs, switch to alternatives and purchase the best ones for you.
Difficulty in navigating available tools
Innovation leaders need to double-check the ability of every member to navigate the tools they’ve set and whether or not they understand what activities these tools can help them with.
In essence, onboarding sessions must always begin with two things — assessing everyone’s capability of using these tools seamlessly and discussing any questions or confusion with its features.
Give your employees a tour of all your apps and software. Scan over the basic functions and demonstrate their purposes. Conduct small exercises and ask for their participation so all of them can play around with the tools’ features.
High boarding of a new tool
Some tools may take quite a while to master, so try them out first before purchasing them. Research for reviews from other organizations as well. Look for some blogs about them and watch some how-tos and other relevant content.
You can also ask your customers and friends on social media about the tools you’re planning to use for your innovation pursuits. Attend free webinars and browse the brand’s social media channels for any product updates.
Remember that understanding tools online takes time for most people.
Feel free to take your time studying and exploring the tools that you have in mind. Because when you use them for organizational activities, you will most likely have to pay to avail of all its premium functionalities.
By the way, we recently published a free ultimate guide to idea management in case you want to learn more about the principles and techniques related to digital idea management. Feel free to grab your own copy now.
2. Problem with the setup
Several employees might take a while to adjust to the online setup, just as how they were with the tools that you’ve provided for them. They might encounter issues as well that might affect their productivity.
Some of these problems include:
Not having the right setup for a digital session
Running virtual workshops and other innovation activities takes various tools. Now that you’re running an online space, some tools and devices might be complicated to maneuver for most of your employees, particularly if they have the wrong setup, to begin with.
Depending on the amount of work they need to do, several tasks might require two screens to accomplish smoothly. Certain activities might also need to be done simultaneously, like videoconferencing and brainstorming on digital boards.
Having the right setup is equivalent to having the right workspace. This way, you can avoid unnecessary distractions and technical problems that could impede your workflow, efficiency, and speed.
Limitations established by an unstable internet connection
A reliable internet connection is an important factor in executing online innovation, so problems with it may create a negative impact on your productivity and other desired results.
With a stable and high-speed internet connection, people can attend workshops well and learn from them comfortably. They can upload and download items fast, like videos and audio streams. They can also finish tasks with ease and transfer any data quickly.
On the other hand, interrupted connections cause delays and other problematic experiences. In effect, deadlines will end up rescheduled and timelines might not be met — causing unnecessary complications and headaches, like reduced conversions and customers.
Trying to copy in-person setup
Sometimes, even facilitators have a hard time adjusting to an online setup, particularly in a session’s longevity. In addition, while it is true that others find comfort in remote working, there are some employees who also try to copy in-person setups on digital spaces.
Workshops, sessions, and other innovation activities that require participation must only last around three to four hours to minimize fatiguing screen times and prevent loss of interest in the initiatives at hand.
Breaks must also be inserted from time to time, and connections must be built to establish an all-embracing environment. This atmosphere creates rapport among teams and promotes employee engagement, as well as collaboration and proper communication for productivity.
Nowadays, recent events like the pandemic have caused a massive shift in the innovation landscape. Because of this, companies are striving to achieve the same level of productivity they’ve had when workshops and other innovation activities were done manually.
But sometimes, expectations are not managed well. Agendas and objectives are not defined clearly during sessions, which leads to questions, confusion, and delays.
Hence, each innovation member must be assigned specific roles, along with particular expectations and responsibilities. That way, everyone would understand how they can contribute to the success of the business’s innovation pursuits.
What tools can you use for online innovation?
Three of the most trusted tools that you can use for online innovation are:
1. Microsoft Teams/Zoom
Microsoft Teams provides a great environment for establishing groups, sending and receiving messages, meeting, sharing files, and a whole lot more. Teams also connect and integrate with third-party services like Youtube and Zoom.
On the other hand, Zoom also observes all of these features along with other functions like sharing of screens and videos with native audio. It also allows the inclusion of corporate branding and co-annotation.
2. Accept Mission Boards
Boards by Accept Mission is a virtual live collaboration tool that enables digital brainstorming sessions. Known to be friendly for beginners, this tool is easy and intuitive to use.
It allows various departments to discuss their ideas and work together to create functional solutions for customers. This time-independent tool allows digital meetings, live workshops, and hybrid-working.
3. Miro Boards
Miro is a digital collaborative whiteboard platform that allows teams to work together from anywhere at any time. It’s a jam-packed product that includes the ability to run workshops and meetings, along with ideation and brainstorming sessions with notes to write on.
Using this tool leads to collaborative research and design, agile workflows, concrete strategy and planning, and mapping and diagramming processes.
What techniques can you implement for online innovation?
Here are some techniques you can implement when doing innovation online:
Creating virtual rooms
With the help of online collaboration tools and videoconferencing apps, experiment with your virtual rooms to create a fun yet decent and professional atmosphere. You can creatively manipulate backgrounds on video meetings and design collaboration boards.
You can also select certain themes and colors to complement your business branding or upload related videos, gifs, and photos for a unique ideation space.
Making videos is a great way to present information, tasks, and results to the rest of the innovation team and the organization. It helps participants review all the tasks and data given when they get disconnected from a call due to poor internet signal.
It also shortens presentations, entertains people, and makes facts easier to absorb and digest for further usage.
Online innovation still needs hundreds of actionable ideas. Conduct brainstorming sessions or make a space where your teammates can submit their concepts and suggestions anonymously, which Accept Mission can help you with easily.
This way, they will feel comfortable when sharing their thoughts and ideas with you.
In the same way that Accept Mission helps you register every submitted idea, the platform also allows you to categorize them when they fall under the same theme.
This means that brainstorm managers can capture more information per brainstorm round by adding categories, maximizing output. Meaning, users group ideas based on a predefined list of categories created by the brainstorm manager.
Idea selection may appear difficult. But with an innovation platform like Accept Mission, the task at hand becomes much easier.
Accept Mission allows you to choose the finest ideas via three ways techniques — user selection, expert scoring, and end customer scoring. This way, you can save time and improve selection quality.
Combining synchronous and asynchronous work
Two of the best advantages of working online include the ability to work with your team at the same time (synchronous) and the freedom to work on other tasks in different time slots. The freedom given to employees to do tasks on their own is an indication of trust.
While meeting at one point with the rest of the team allows thorough discussions to take place. When these approaches are combined, an increase in productivity happens, and innovation teams can save time.
Interested to learn more about implementing online innovation in your company? You can read more about it from our ebook, which you can download for free. Grab your copy now with no strings attached!