Idea Management

Forms of Idea Management

  • Innovation Concepts and Ideas
  • Idea Systems
  • Strategic Collaboration - integrating Social Networking, Crowdsourcing, and established Idea Management tools
  • Lean Manufacturing Kaizen Workshops and Blitzes
  • Continuous Improvement
  • Suggestion Systems & Suggestion Schemes
  • Lessons Learned
  • Employee Driven Idea Systems (EDIS)
  • Supplier Ideas or Kelratsu Process
  • Customer Inputs or Complaints
  • Team Activities/Projects or Corrective Actions
  • Other knowledge bases that track or trap ideas from employees that can be shared

How It Works

Idea managment is an umbrella that nurtures creative input from a wide range of sources that includes: employees, contractors, suppliers, customers and other outside sourcess. Effectively managing idea innovation in your organization is no easy task, but offers huge rewards.

Customer Ideas/Complaints - Listen to customer needs, wants, complaints, or recommendations. This can be via a customer interacting with a employee, survey data or listening sessions. Includes managing ISO Corrective Actions.

Supplier Ideas - Involve suppliers via product and process improvement ideas, Open Innovation, design planning, Keiratsu, and WIP reduction.

Employee Teams - Group problem solving or innovation activities. Includes task forces, self-managing teams, kaizen events, and quality improvement teams. These may be management directed or self-initiated.

Staff and Management Idea Forum – Get leadership involved by networking via an on-line idea environment – this would be goal/solution driven rather than open-ended normal Social Networking. Ideas here could be driven to one of the other legs of this model for resolution.

Employee Ideas - Enlist employees to improve and innovate via idea systems, suggestions, continuous improvement, Kaizen, and 5S. Campaigns and creativity training can help focus the workforce’s creative inputs towards strategic leadership goals.

Idea Management - Innovating by Capturing and Sharing People's Ideas reviews the umbrella of idea processes that comprise idea management. A good primer on the topic.

a well working idea management process

To have a well working idea managment process, several key elements are needed

1. Select the right people
Champion the right person to administer or manage the process.
2. Take Measurements
Communicate results to management. The right balance of information is critical - often we give management too much data or not enough to make decisions on.
3. Deploy a Software Management System
An automated easy-to-use system that and easily creates needed reports/graphs. Except for small organizations, this needs to be some sort of software database. Ideally this should be an on-line database.
4. Recognize
Finding the right form of saying thank you. One that management supports and participants truly appreciate.
5. Provide Training & Mentoring
All participants need the right training, tools and mentoring to be successful. Providing this cost-effectively is the challenge.
6. Refresh & Iterate
Be constantly updated and invigorated to keep it interesting to participants (e.g., campaigns).

Are you you dealing with challenges in creating an Idea Management process that thrives in your organization?

  • Lack of support from managment for managing ideas? They formally sign up but don't participate when needed.
  • Does your current management system for ideas not serve you?
  • Are there several idea management systems in place and they are poorly linked?
  • Are you spending inordinate amounts of time birddogging ideas rather than championing the process?
  • Do you think any change to management software or the process will be too costly to consider?
  • Is your suggestion system or other idea process outdated and requires a major facelift?
  • Is your budget limited? Even if the volume of ideas and savings increases, you don't have the resources to support it?

If you would like to review the health of your idea process (suggestion system, suggestion scheme, kaizen or continuous improvement), we can also provide you with a free copy of our "Checklist for Success" which itemizes key ingredients of a successful idea process.