Recently, Planview IdeaPlace CTO James Gardner shared some of his expert tips on using crowdsourcing software to build your innovation pipeline. Here’s what we learned.
1. Quality Matters, But So Does Quantity
For organizations that are already getting tons of ideas from the people in their extended networks, continuing to push for suggestions might start to seem less important. But according to Gardner, you should be wary of staunching the flow too soon — especially if backing off on ideation is a result of feeling overwhelmed.
“Sifting through hundreds or thousands of ideas is certainly a daunting task, but there are solutions out there,” he writes. “Using a crowdsourcing platform will often remove the majority of the legwork.”
2. Incremental is Okay
Innovation is so often tied to never-before-seen ideas and inventions that it can be difficult to pull back from the grand picture and look for ways to innovate on a smaller scale. And while it’s important to think big and bold, it’s not necessary to do it exclusively. Says Gardner, “An alternative to this is to look for new ideas that can make incremental or operational improvements, to complement those disruptive ideas. As you’re spreading your innovation investment, you’re more likely to see a return in a shorter space of time, building a demonstrable ROI.”
3. Crowdsourcing Innovation = Diverse Ideas and Predictable Outcomes
By posing business challenges to a large, diverse group of people, you’re bound to get some off-the-wall suggestions and a decent amount of repetition. But, argues Gardner, collaborative innovation can actually help you plan for the future of your business. “By applying this logic to your innovation programme,” he says, “You are able to get an accurate prediction of how much an idea will cost to implement and how long it would take to deliver.” He also notes that using a crowdsourcing platform will allow you to expose valuable opportunities buried in the chaff.
Besides — studies show that the best new ideas come from unexpected places.
4. Don’t Be a Loner
Driving innovation in your company isn’t an exercise that should be taken on by a small group of experts, and certainly not by the management team alone. Letting employees and partners in on ideation will give new and unique insight into what works, what doesn’t, and what should. “By getting the crowd involved in both the idea generation and the ROI prediction,” Gardner writes, “Innovators are able to take a lot of the guesswork out of innovation.”