In today's fast-paced and highly competitive business landscape, the race to bring new products and services to market faster than ever before is not just a goal; it's a necessity. The ability to quickly move from concept to customer can mean the difference between leading the market and lagging behind.
This is where Smart Ideation comes into play, offering a transformative approach to the ideation process. Smart Ideation, powered by Generative AI (GenAI), is reshaping how ideas are generated, evaluated, and brought to life.
In this blog, we explore three groundbreaking capabilities of our new Smart Ideation tool that accelerate the journey from the drawing board to the marketplace. By embracing these capabilities, companies can not only speed up their time-to-market but also enhance the quality and innovativeness of their offerings.
Why is time-to-market important?
Innovation is not just about creating new products or services; it's also about delivering them to the market at the right time. It’s true that sometimes an innovation is launched before the market is ready—the need is too nascent, the market too immature. But much more common is the occurrence of companies failing to innovate in time, not moving quickly enough to meet demand, capture market share, or outperform their competitors.
Time-to-market provides a competitive edge for meeting real-time customer needs, maximizing market opportunities, and enhancing responsiveness to trends. It ensures cost efficiency by reducing prolonged development expenses and builds an innovation-forward brand image. Moreover, a focus on time-to-market encourages organizational agility and mitigates risks associated with market changes.
Indeed, speed is essential in innovation, and yet, many companies lack the necessary structures, processes, and tools to deliver innovation quickly. Central to this is ideation. Not because ideation is the most important step in innovation but because it is this step—translating foresight and strategy into the seeds of something tangible and potentially valuable—that frequently lags due to a number of internal obstacles. The good news is that, with the right tools, this step is easily streamlined and optimized for speed and precision.
What is Smart Ideation?
ITONICS Smart Ideation is our solution for fast, effective, and continuous ideation. By harnessing the capabilities of GenAI, this new tool speeds up the creation of campaign descriptions and idea submissions through prompt-based assistance. It removes common roadblocks to ideation for employees, simplifying the process and channeling creativity in the context of your campaign, business goals, and industry.
Using precise AI-generated assessments, Smart Ideation also augments idea evaluation, saving your evaluating teams and experts considerable time and effort as your idea pipeline grows. By further contextualizing ideas within this ecosystem—connecting them to market insights, company goals, and strategy—and automating their evaluation in a phase-gate process, ITONICS positions organizations at the forefront of efficient and effective innovation.
How Smart Ideation speeds up innovation
1. Auto-generate campaigns
Knowledge workers in the fields of innovation and research spend, on average, 41% of their time on administrative and documentation tasks. Contributing to this statistic are campaign managers who are responsible for setting up, launching, and managing idea campaigns in their organizations. Campaign management often involves multiple steps, such as defining the scope and objectives, inviting participants, creating engagement strategies, and managing logistics. With all this complexity, the ideation process can stall before it’s even out of the gate.
ITONICS streamlines campaign management from initial setup to implementation, freeing up campaign managers to focus more on strategic and cultural aspects of innovation.
Campaign managers can select from a list of best-practice campaign workflows. These workflows standardize the phase-gate process and automate the coordination, tracking, and progression of ideas through a pre-configured series of tasks and phases. Available workflow templates include an idea funnel—suitable for idea generation processes that require in-depth analysis of each idea's potential—and design thinking—typically used for iterating on new ideas around a certain topic.
With Smart Ideation, a detailed and targeted campaign description is just a few clicks away. Campaign managers need only provide a campaign title and short summary. The autofill feature then prompts you to select a template for describing the campaign goals and scope:
- Campaign canvas: Produce a structured description covering objectives, stakeholders and audience, instructions and tips to help guide idea submitters, and an engaging closing statement.
- Storytelling tactics for describing the goals and scope of the campaign:
- Golden circle: Explains the "Why" (the purpose or belief), "How" (the process or values), and "What" (the product or result).
- Conflict and resolution: Introduce a central challenge or problem (conflict) and then present a solution or outcome (resolution). The campaign and its idea submissions represent the resolution.
- In media res: Begin with a narrative in the middle of the action, often at a critical point.
For further enrichment, campaign managers can also specify the intended target audience who will benefit from the successful execution of the campaign, for example, product engineers, R&D teams, UX designers, etc. And with autofilled tags, it’s easy to connect campaigns to trends, technologies, insights, existing projects, and other innovation assets in your ecosystem.
Finally, Smart Ideation uses GenAI to autofill a header image for your campaign. It’s as easy as selecting an image style from the list (e.g. cartoon, digital art, futuristic, van Gogh, etc.) and briefly describing what you want to see in the image. Now, in just a few minutes, with a few clicks, you’ve set up a detailed ideation campaign and are ready to start accepting submissions.
2. Auto-generate ideas
Participation in ideation and innovation in companies is still often hindered by the amount of time and effort required, poor access to information and tools, and psychological barriers like imposter syndrome. It’s reported that 40% of employees lack the confidence to share their ideas with leadership, and many feel they lack the problem-solving skills and critical thinking needed to formulate high-value ideas.
ITONICS Smart Ideation takes care of these challenges by auto-generating ideas using GenAI. As a first step, campaign managers can use the autocreate ideas feature to populate the campaign before participants are invited to submit ideas. Having a few ideas already linked to the campaign is shown to be highly effective at sparking inspiration and overcoming any “first-mover” hesitation among participants.
Once the campaign is open to participants—whether employees, customers, startups, or partners—Smart Ideation makes idea submission fast, easy, and fun. By providing an idea title and short summary, participants can autofill the description using any of the available idea templates, including:
- Idea canvas: Produce a structured description covering the problem statement, key features, value proposition, and concept.
- Personas: Describe the idea with the mindset of one of the following forward thinkers:
- Albert Einstein
- Warren Buffett
- Elon Musk
- Barack Obama
- Oprah Winfrey
- Creativity Methods:
- Journey Mapping: A visualization of the process that a user undergoes to achieve a goal, capturing all the touchpoints and experiences.
- SCAMPER: An acronym-driven brainstorming technique that prompts users to think about a product or problem through seven different methods: Substitute, Combine, Adapt, Modify, Put to another use, Eliminate, and Reverse.
- Brainstorming: A group creativity technique that encourages free thinking, open discussion, and the exploration of unconventional ideas.
- Headstand: A creative problem-solving technique that reverses the traditional approach to generating ideas by first identifying and exploring the causes, factors, or aspects contributing to a problem.
- Six Thinking Hats: A role-playing model that encourages individuals to look at a problem from six distinct perspectives: emotional, informational, logical, creative, critical, and organizational.
As with campaigns, you can also autofill tags and a header image, ensuring that submitted ideas are sufficiently detailed, relevant, and contextualized within your innovation ecosystem.
By augmenting a company’s collective creativity, this tool not only speeds up ideation, but overcomes the challenges of democratizing innovation.
3. Autorate ideas
Research from Boston Consulting Group shows that companies employing GenAI in ideation see, on average, their ideas funnel grow by a factor of five and are twice as selective in incubation—making them better equipped to rigorously prioritize high-value innovation. This translates to increased speed in innovation but also raises an important consideration: with more ideas comes the need for a more robust, scalable evaluation process capable of separating out the game-changers.
Beyond reducing the time and effort involved in generating campaigns and ideas, Smart Ideation is also equipped to cope with the higher volume of ideas being submitted to a campaign. Designed to provide fast and bias-free preliminary evaluations, Smart Ideation’s autorate feature allows campaign managers to create a baseline for further analysis.
AI-generated assessments can be applied to ideas within any phase of the campaign workflow and any configured rating criteria. For instance, for ideas in the submission phase, you may want to autorate them based on customer benefit and disruptive potential. Meanwhile, ratings like complexity and internal know-how may be more appropriate in the concept development phase as you begin to consider feasibility and what is required to actually bring these ideas to life.
These AI-generated assessments provide the greatest value when paired with expert evaluations. Your internal experts bring their experience and understanding of the nuances of your company and customers. It is this combination of AI capabilities and human perspective that allows you to fast while guided by a strategic direction.
Campaign managers can easily manage idea ratings to uphold data accuracy and consistency over time. With the manage ratings feature, you can effortlessly sift through ratings to see where the rating originated—from GenAI or internal evaluators. This allows you to remove any individual ratings that are deemed irrelevant or that were made in error. Validating ratings in this way allows decision-makers to confidently prioritize top-rated ideas. And to arrive at these decisions faster, the group by rating feature allows you to efficiently organize ideas according to selected rating criteria.
Bring ideas to market faster with ITONICS
Harnessing the power of GenAI, Smart Ideation efficiently navigates through the complexities of ideation, enabling faster campaign setup, more dynamic idea generation, and streamlined evaluation. As a part of the ITONICS Ideation offering, the benefits of Smart Ideation are amplified by a full suite of idea management tools and features. Delivering the fastest path from idea to market, ITONICS Ideation transforms idea management.
- Make ideation faster, easier, and more on target with GenAI-powered Smart Ideation
- Streamline idea management using campaigns and best-practice phase-gate workflows
- Engage external partners and startups with open innovation
- Inspire engagement and boost participation rates with gamification features
- Enable data-driven decisions and track ideation performance with dynamic dashboards
- Spot synergies, eliminate duplication, and validate ideas with recommended relations
By positioning ideation within an end-to-end innovation ecosystem, the ITONICS Innovation OS bridges the gap between strategic foresight and execution, empowering companies to stay agile, responsive, and ahead of the curve in today’s fast-paced business environment.
See the ITONICS Innovation OS in action