Engaging people's ideas to support improvement activities or innovation is the cornerstone of Idea Management. Tracking a few ideas in a spreadsheet is fine. When they number in the 100's or 1000's, you need a software tool that works the way you think. SimNet does that! Here are four distinct examples of how SimNet tackles different idea streams for very different organizations. SimNet can easily manage one or more idea streams. Enlisting ideas from employees, contractors, vendors, or customers. Locally or globally.



Customized Workflows

In our 27 years of helping organizations innovate. We have never seen the same workflow twice. There are often similarities but enough differences to warrant a software tool that fits each organization's needs. SimNet is unique in its ability to morph to your workflow. These examples show very distinct workflows. Some may even appear complex. That isn't SimNet making it complex - it is how that organization manages ideas. Getting your workflow properly is our job. We are good at it. When implemented, it supports ideas flowing seamlessly through a variety of complex steps.

Portal Pages Designed to Fit Your Company

The Portal Page is the entry point into your idea system. Here you provide information on your program plus resources to help people participate. There are a variety of ways we can allow users to interact with SimNet or imbed information from SimNet into this page. Please take a look at all four examples to get a better sense of how this can work for you!

Below are distinct examples of how SimNet tackles different idea streams for very different organizations. SimNet can easily manage one or more idea streams. Enlisting ideas from employees, contractors, vendors or customers. Locally or globally.



Suggestions / Ideas

  • Overview
  • Workflow
  • Portal
  • Idea Entry

Overview

A nuts and bolts idea process to make things work better. The basic design evolved from suggestion systems developed 100 years ago. They still work, especially in manufacturing or service environments and where leadership isn't ready to open the doors to sharing ideas collaboratively.

Workflow

This workflow shows two basic idea streams - smaller ideas are worked on with the supervisor. Larger ideas are reviewed by a Subject Matter Expert (SME).

Portal Page

This Portal Page includes buttons to go into SimNet to submit ideas or look at ideas. The dashboard statistics are generated and imbedded into this page by SimNet. The High Five! Ideas include links to those ideas where the user can pop-up information on that idea that is created by SimNet.

Idea Entry

These are sample pages showing how ideas are captured or worked on in SimNet The look/feel of these pages is tailored to each customer's unique way of managing ideas. This includes adapting SimNet to the idea streams they manage (one or more workflows). Plus further tailoring to support rewards/recognition and different sites/countries.

  • Idea Entry Welcome
  • Idea entry - Participants (teams) - This implementation of SimNet supports teams working together to resolve ideas. This optional feature can be turned off if you don't use team approaches.
  • Idea Entry Tags and Questions - Here we capture key information on the idea. Based on these questions, we can control how SimNet handles the idea. For this idea workflow, smaller ideas are routed to the supervisor to work on with the idea submitter. Larger ones are routed to a Subject Matter Expert (SME) for evaluation. This is based on this customer's unique workflow.
  • Submitted Idea - Here is an example of the idea just submitted. The toolbar above the idea allows the person to Add Attachments, Print a Copy, Translate, or Add a Note. With SimNet Security we can turn on/off options on this toolbar. There are others that can be included (e.g., voting or editing the idea) depending on the user type and your program.
  • Here we have the idea routed to the supervisor for review based on this customer-designed workflow. They have several options to pick (all options are customer specific). One allow them to implement the idea themselves. Another allows the idea to be routed to an evaluator (subject matter expert) - this is the option they will pick. There are several options that identify the idea as not usable.
  • Evaluation Form - For this Idea System, evaluators are assigned to review any large idea or those the supervisor cannot implement with the submitter. They then fill in this form that was designed by the customer (a core strength of SimNet). In this case it includes some questions plus basic cost calculations that are also used to calculate an award (based on their formula). The text at the top of the form is tailorable help text for that specific step.
  • Sample Email - SimNet can send notifications to participants. Using SimNet Automation, you decide when and where people are notified.
  • My Awards - Users can easily check status of awards and or recognition they have received.


Continuous Improvement

  • Overview
  • Workflow
  • Portal
  • Idea Entry

Overview

The focus is on smaller ideas where the idea generator implements them directly. Indirectly this leads to larger ideas after emloyees gain experience solving issues in their direct work area. This works well in manufacturing environments. It requires an investment in training staff on problem solving tools so they can do their own research and resolution. Also called Kaizen - this approach is deeply embraced by many Japanese-based manufacturers.

Workflow

This workflow focuses on employees implementing their own ideas. Team Leaders (supervisors) are assigned to confirm the employee's work. Very large ideas are reviewed by a plant analyst.

Portal Page

This Portal Page includes buttons to go into SimNet to submit ideas or look at my ideas - plus there is a button the redeem points in the on-line SimNetStore. The dashboard statistics are generated and imbedded into this page by SimNet - here that person's departmental statistics are included (departments compete for recognition in the continuous improvement process).

Idea Entry

These are sample pages showing how ideas are captured or worked on in SimNet The look/feel of these pages is tailored to each customer's unique way of managing ideas. This includes adapting SimNet to the idea streams they manage (one or more workflows). Plus further tailoring to support rewards/recognition and different sites/countries.

  • Idea Entry Welcome - Provides information for the user on how to submit their idea (tailored for each customer). It can also contain contact information, images, or links to supporting information.
  • Idea Entry Tags and Questions - Here we capture key information on the idea. This page is tailored specifically for each customer - more questions/tags could be included for your implementation. Here a key question is "Is this Idea Already Implemented?". If it isn't, it is routed to the idea submitter to implement it first.
  • Idea Entry Paragraphs - SimNet supports capturing additional information on an idea. You can include as many paragraph boxes as you need to capture idea details.
  • Submitted Idea with Task - Here is an idea showing a task for that person to do (in this case the submitter's Team Leader confirming an idea's cost savings impact).
  • Review for smaller ideas - a simple response and notes is all that is needed for smaller ideas in this customer's workflow.
  • Review for Larger Ideas - uses a customer designed cost analysis form. This example is a manufacturing environment so this cost calculation form relates to that company's needs to evaluate an idea. This form also pre-calculates any awards that may be given (they will not be given until the idea is formally approved).
  • Submitted idea after evaluation and review. This is the same idea that is now closed and awarded. Depending on the customer's workflow, there can be a lot of information on what happened to the idea - which can be very useful to someone wanting to know the status. Each step directly relates to that customer's workflow. SimNet Security can be used to control what items the person sees to simplify this section.
  • My Awards - Here the user can see both cash and points awards. What appears is based on what type of awards and recognition you provide.


Intellectual Property

  • Overview
  • Workflow
  • Portal
  • Idea Entry

Overview

Ideas that require some form of protection need a different process to manage that workflow. This can include copyright, trademark, and patent protection. Security and access to these ideas is critical due to the sensitive nature of them falling into outside hands.

Workflow

This workflow integrates Six Sigma with Intellectual Property (IP). All larger ideas are assigned to a Six Sigma Black Belt for review - those meriting patent protection are then processed future.

Portal Page

This Portal Page includes buttons to go into SimNet to submit ideas or look at ideas. The dashboard statistics are generated and imbedded into this page by SimNet. The list of Best Practice ideas is also created by SimNet

Idea Entry

These are sample pages showing how ideas are captured or worked on in SimNet The look/feel of these pages is tailored to each customer's unique way of managing ideas. This includes adapting SimNet to the idea streams they manage (one or more workflows). Plus further tailoring to support rewards/recognition and different sites/countries.

  • Idea Entry Tags and Questions - Here we capture key information on how this Intellectual Property (IP) idea impacts the company. This type of idea requires unique information to identify if it merits protection.
  • Idea Entry Paragraphs - Showing how spell checking is supported in SimNet.
  • Idea Entry Paragraphs - An IP idea system requires more extensive information than a basic improvement idea. Here SimNet is set up for this customer to gather all of that additional information (five paragraphs - two are shown on the image).
  • Evaluation form (Six Sigma based) - Extensive research for this type of idea is required to file for a patent. This customer designed form reflects that (the customer designed the basic form in Microsoft Excel and we imbedded that form into SimNet). There could be other forms created for copyright and trademark steps.
  • Details of the Idea - This contains an Idea Progress section that lets the user easily see where an idea is at. This is the Idea Progress section for this idea. The steps shown directly relate to that customer's workflow (steps set up to manage your idea system would be worded to fit your workflow). Here it is open to the Six Sigma Project step. At the top left of this page it also show there is an attachment added (this can be viewed).


Innovation by Networking

  • Overview
  • Workflow
  • Portal
  • Idea Entry

Overview

Integrating Social Networking with Continuous Improvement yields what we call Strategic Collaboration. Smaller ideas are implemented locally by the innovator (and still shared on-line). Larger ideas are placed into an on-line forum where people can vote on them. Ideas with sufficient positive votes are moved onto potential use. A unique feature of this approach is to include topic moderators that have the ability to move any idea forward. For more information, please contact us for a copy of the new Strategic Collaboration book by Jim Schwarz.

Workflow

Here smaller ideas and larger ideas have different workflows. Ideas receiving a certain idea score (based on voting) or moved ahead by the moderator are then reviewed for implementation. A unique feature of this approach is the ability for someone to tag the idea as something the implemented/used in their work area.

Portal Page

This Portal Page includes buttons to go into SimNet to submit ideas or look at ideas. The dashboard statistics are generated and imbedded into this page by SimNet and the thermometer showing participation is also updated by SimNet. Here the dashboard is at the bottom, reflecting how this group of people wants to interact with the system.

Idea Entry

These are sample pages showing how ideas are captured or worked on in SimNet The look/feel of these pages is tailored to each customer's unique way of managing ideas. This includes adapting SimNet to the idea streams they manage (one or more workflows). Plus further tailoring to support rewards/recognition and different sites/countries.

  • Idea title - A brief description or subject of the idea. It supports a quick way to search for ideas similar to the one you are creating.
  • Idea Entry Tags and Questions - Here we capture key information on whether this is a small idea to be implemented locally or one to be shared. Topic tags are linked to a Subject Matter Expert (SME) moderator that is tagged into that idea. Moderators are selected annually. For this process, the customer only wants to track the person submitting the idea and not additional innovators - so the page asking for participants will be skipped.
  • Idea with Comments - An example of an idea with existing comments plus a new one being added. Below that is the score for the idea - based on voting.
  • Idea Voting - Here an idea showing a voting form. This voting form showcases a different concept than the traditional thumbs up/down or 1-5 star approach - SimNet can support those as well. The Portal for this example shows how simple thumbs up/down voting could be integrated.
  • My Shares - Shows what idea shares (called Points on this page) I've earned. Depending on the design of the program, this can be used to redeem awards or as an achievement milestone.