I like to divide the Innovation activity of a company into 3 main parts:
– Idea selection
– Ideation – using different techniques and systems to generate and capture ideas
The most effective I found was Idea Contest, but it needs careful development, a clear pathway, well defined contest topic, transparency will help higher participation and – the most important part – avoiding loss of confidence and decrease in participation.
Ideally a specialized online solution would be more efficient, but also due to lack of resources arise, e-mail or intranet could be enough.
– Idea selection – using algorithms to select the most valuable and feasible ideas
I had the best results involving the managers of the idea submitters in scoring and selecting the best ideas, of course they did not know the originator of the idea in order to avoid subjectivism. This was the easiest stage but of course discussions can arise, so the transparency of the scoring system is paramount.
– Implementation – implementing some of this late category ideas
I found Implementation the hardest stage of all three. And without it, there is no innovation.
Usually a lot of people want to share their innovative ideas, but only a few are wishing to contribute to implementing it. Project management skills can be useful, proper expertise in implementing project also. Without persons able to do this, all the two previous stages will be put in danger and all the Innovation activity too. Without a decent implementation rate, people will stop participate in providing or voting innovative ideas and the battle will be lost.
Innovation is no easy job and the prototype – fail fast – fail cheap methodology may be helpful.
Some interesting hints can be found in this article: Why your innovation program will fail
For Innovation advise on any of the 3 stages of innovation and not only, please contact me here.