In unprecedented times like this, new ideas can provide a much needed way forward by solving short-term challenges and delivering solutions to enable your business to face those challenges head on.
Here, at Idea Drop, we want to support you through today’s crisis, and we’ve formulated a three-phase change management strategy to help do just that. In our guide to phase one, we outlined how to identify and prioritise your business challenges and crowdsource ideas through an ideas campaign.
Here, in our guide to phase two, we focus on evaluating those ideas and putting them into practice. As we explain below, that involves scoring your ideas to condense them down to a manageable number and then evaluating the best ones in an “idea evaluation matrix” to create a final list of ideas that you can action.
PHASE ONE: Review and integrate
- Prioritise challenges
- Create a plan
- Crowdsource ideas
PHASE TWO: Act and adapt
- Evaluate solutions
- Take action
- Adapt new systems
PHASE THREE: Review and integrate
- Get back to normal
Phase two: Act and adapt
Once you’ve completed phase one of your change management strategy and your innovation funnel is full of ideas, it’s time to move on to phase two – actioning and adapting the best ideas to reap the rewards. The first step in the process is to evaluate solutions.
1. Evaluate solutions
Using Idea Drop is a great way to crowdsource ideas from across your organisation effectively and quickly. But gathering ideas is, of course, just the start of the process. What you do next is crucial for converting the right ideas into action.
Try “Idea Score” on Idea Drop
Once you’ve gathered ideas from across your organisation, you need an effective method of scoring those ideas to assess which are the most popular and the most likely to perform well once actioned. Idea Score on Idea Drop can quickly identify the ideas that are worth including in your idea evaluation matrix.
Using a bespoke algorithm, it gives every idea a real-time score, which is visible across your community. The scores give users a valuable snapshot of each idea’s popularity, with ideas rated from 1 to 100 based on a combination of factors:
- Number of views
- Number of comments
- Number of favourites
- Average rating
- Past platform contributions
The higher an idea’s score, the higher its popularity and the higher the likelihood that it will be received well by your organisation.
Your Idea Evaluation Matrix
Once your scoring system has selected the most promising ideas, the next step is to evaluate them in your idea evaluation matrix to decide which should progress into action and which might need additional work or should be archived. Ranking each idea within select categories in the matrix will give you a clear metric (and subsequent business case) for deciding which ideas stand out from the rest and are worth pursuing.
Various categories are helpful to include in your matrix, including the time and cost involved in each idea, the potential practical and monetary impact, and the number of people the idea will affect. It’s also important to assess whether someone will be able to take ownership of the idea and manage the process from start to finish. And, of course, you need to consider whether the idea is business critical and whether it reflects your organisation’s strategic goals.
More tips for evaluating ideas
- Review ideas regularly
Ideally, try to ensure that the ideas you’ve gathered are evaluated every week or, if that isn’t feasible, as often as possible.
- Be open and transparent
The evaluation process needs to be as open and transparent as possible so it’s important to communicate who’s reviewing and evaluating ideas, as well as how and when, so that employees know what to expect.
2. Take action
You’ll need a structure to develop ideas into business actions. Simply put, that means using a series of steps – an “innovation workflow” – to connect the conception of an idea all the way through to its implementation. Great innovation workflows are streamlined processes that reflect a company’s structure and its innovation goals. Ideally, you’ll have a set of well-defined goals by this stage, as they’re crucial in defining the qualitative criteria for moving an idea from one stage of the workflow to the next.
Move ideas through your “innovation workflow”
When it comes to actioning ideas, there’s no “one size fits all” innovation workflow since it depends on the nuances of your particular organisation as well as your resource constraints. But companies generally take one of two approaches: a centralised approach or a distributed approach.
Global information and communication technology giant Ericsson, one of Idea Drop’s clients, is a great proponent of centralised innovation management. Their centralised approach draws on the skills of the teams at their innovation hubs as well as the idea-generation potential of employees across the whole organisation.
Ericsson has established separate innovation hubs throughout the world to collect, process and develop innovative ideas generated by the business. Occasionally, an employee who comes up with a great idea is given the opportunity of temporarily leaving their day job to work on their idea within one of the innovation hubs, where they receive coaching and guidance from their full-time hub colleagues who collaborate with them to see the idea through from conception to implementation.
The alternative to centralised innovation management is a distributed approach, where responsibility for driving innovation is spread across the whole organisation and specific employees are tasked with monitoring, reviewing and processing ideas as part of their day-to-day role.
In a distributed approach, ideas are implemented using a network of administrators or moderators within an organisation who have the authority to move ideas through the workflow process. These administrators may be department heads, project managers, team leaders or other colleagues who are well versed in the organisation’s strategy and innovation goals and who are capable of managing the pipeline of ideas on a daily basis.
Whatever approach works for your organisation, Idea Drop’s “Pipeline” feature makes implementing an innovation workflow effortless by enabling users to visualise, progress and action ideas quickly and efficiently, as well as to communicate progress and quickly identify any issues that are stalling the workflow.
Want to learn more about how to design an innovation workflow in your organisation?
Provide feedback at each stage of the process
It’s important to be transparent throughout the innovation process. Keeping everyone updated encourages and motivates employees and gives them a sense of involvement.
Every time you move an idea through the various stages of the workflow, make sure you provide feedback. Using Idea Drop streamlines and simplifies this process by giving participants visibility on every idea’s progress in an “idea card”. Providing feedback is a required field on the platform when you’re moving idea cards from one stage of the workflow to the next. And every time you change the status of an idea, leave feedback or add comments participants receive a notification.
Celebrate, reward and recognise
It’s also essential to celebrate progress, acknowledge contributors’ ideas and recognise the hard work every participant has put in. Celebrate incremental achievements and recognise those users who are contributing the most. Acknowledge the impact the innovation programme it is having on your organisation and motivate employees to stay involved.
If you’re using Idea Drop, publishing bulletins is a great way of showcasing implemented ideas and the people who contributed to them. Using bulletins can also encourage healthy competition and educate users about what good ideas look like, and helps to create a buzz that keeps employees engaged in the innovation process. Publishing bulletins or setting up a new challenge are also great ways of gathering feedback on actioned ideas.
Some ideas can be actioned quickly, while others are likely to require more time and resources to be approved by decision makers and then actioned.
Your colleagues will want to see tangible results quickly. So, if possible, try to action at least one quick win each week. Quickly scan through all ideas regularly and try to identify ideas that can be actioned straight away, even just in part.
3. Adapt new systems and processes
Start early with your internal comms
People tend to resist change, even if it’s for the better. That’s why communicating about the ideas you action – be they new processes, new tools or new services – is vital from day one. We recommend launching your comms campaign early, and well before you launch your idea so that you can educate your employees and drive awareness about the benefits of each innovation for the business overall as well as for your employees.
Communicating as early as possible about improvements you’re implementing helps to ensure that innovations are well received by your employees and become quickly embedded in your business. It also builds your employees’ trust and sustains a culture where they feel part of something bigger than themselves.
Provide training if needed
New ideas can die very quickly if they’re not implemented correctly. So it’s important to make sure that you have a plan in place for embedding new ideas into your current structure and that you give your employees any training that’s required.
Finally, remember to be open to failure – it’s part of the innovation culture. The process of innovation doesn’t always run smoothly but one thing’s for sure – if we don’t try, we definitely won’t succeed!
Want to find out how other organisations are using Idea Drop to drive innovation?
Read our case studies
From Fortune 500 engineering companies to large UK Police forces, organisations everywhere trust Idea Drop to navigate change and drive innovation with impact.