Mining your organization for ideas

By Nicholas D. Evans, Computerworld |  IT Management, innovation

* Ensure that processes are in place for appropriate evaluation and implementation of ideas. Ensure that you have all the people, processes and technology to act on the ideas in an appropriate and timely manner. Ideally, link to a corporate innovation program. This requires executive sponsorship, funding and assigned resources who are ready, willing and able to implement these processes.

An innovation database should capture existing intellectual property and emerging trends in addition to ideas for new products and services.

* Get a handle on your existing intellectual property. In your quest for fresh ideas, don't ignore suggestions about leveraging your existing assets and intellectual property in innovative ways.

* Pay attention to rewards and recognition. Most research over the last several years has shown that rewards tied to innovation need not be financial in nature. The most popular practice is to recognize employees publicly -- you might mention them in a companywide email or spotlight them as lead innovators on the company's innovation portal. Financial incentives are typically reserved for issued patents or significant ideas that have made it all the way to successful commercialization.

* Incorporate event-based ideation sessions. While there is certainly value in corporate idea repositories or innovation databases that are always open, it's a good idea to supplement them with highly focused, event-based innovation sessions, such as one- or two-day innovation workshops. It's not a one-size-fits-all thing.

* Assign a cross-functional council for governance. As is the case with knowledge management initiatives, having a cross-functional council for governance of innovation processes can help to ensure that all departments and business units are represented and maximize company-wide coordination and collaboration. * Link to the rest of the innovation pipeline. An ideal end state for idea management is to have it be a natural part of the organization's overall innovation management processes. The idea management aspects are simply the front end of the innovation pipeline, with the overall objective of increasing the number and quality of ideas coming into this pipeline and the overall throughput of the pipeline into downstream revenue.


Originally published on Computerworld |  Click here to read the original story.
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