Throughout the years, the Valo Team has had the privilege of helping different types of companies in different countries with the ideation process and how to launch an ideation tool. Our evidence shows that investing in this area will increase the level of employee engagement, improve your employee satisfaction and your business results.
Instead of rushing into deploying yet another new tool, you might want to have a look at these four tips, to ensure that you will get the most out of the tool and you will meet your goals.
We believe that these tips are useful not only for companies in the planning phase but also for companies that are already using such ideation tools.
1. Determine ownership
Start by naming the owners of the ideation process. In addition to the technical owner of the platform, you will probably want to name multiple owners for the idea process.
Let me explain: In practice, the ideation happens by topics, such as marketing, product development, etc. So it will probably make sense to have an owner per topic. Or if you’re a larger organization, those topics will break down into more narrowly defined entities. Meaning, instead of marketing, you would have an owner for events, content marketing, etc. Or instead of product development, by individual products.
So we are not looking at things from the ideation tool’s perspective, but rather from the point of view of the organization and its processes.
2. Set goals and processes
As soon as the owner of the topic is named, they should define the goal of the ideation for their topic. What are we trying to achieve with this? Next, the owner should define the process for idea management.
Who keeps an eye on the new ideas, who decides on them, who communicates back to the person who submitted the idea, etc. And what is the estimated duration of the process, from the initial idea to its approval or rejection.
When you deploy the ideation tool, such as Valo Ideas, you will have the option to configure the idea workflow, the categories and a couple of other things to support this process.
3. Don’t forget to “spread the word”
Repeat, repeat, repeat. Just like with the launch of any digital tool, perseverance and patience are key. So you published a news globally within the organization about the new ideation tool, and nobody reacted to it? So nobody showed up in the launch event? Don’t worry, it’s part of the process. It’s just the beginning of a long journey.
Be patient and repeat your message in multiple different channels, multiple times, privately as well as publicly. The message will get through eventually. Make sure that your message is clear and it makes sense from the individual’s point of view. What’s in it for me? Why should I spend my valuable time submitting ideas? What will happen to my idea after I have submitted it?
4. Reward and recognize success
Offering a reward like an Amazon gift card for the “ideator of the month” is one way to engage and reward people. With most ideation tools, such as Valo Ideas, you can keep track of the top contributors and reward them accordingly.
However, based on our experiences from the field, we have come to the conclusion that the biggest reward is simply the ability to participate in the decision-making in a fair and transparent way. That is what matters most. A well-defined, well-communicated and transparent ideation and innovation process in itself is what matters. That is what will most impact your employee satisfaction and your business results.