Our approach at ITONICS is to think of innovation end-to-end, from the first insight all the way to successful execution. In our webinar on Intelligent Ideation with ITONICS, our innovation experts discussed common challenges in the process and new solutions. Once your company has defined opportunity fields and new business fields you want to venture into, ideation is a way to spawn products and services that can make your company win in that area.
Ideation can potentially democratize innovation in your organization and stimulate creativity. But the reality is that most companies struggle to run productive ideation campaigns and get people to participate. We've summarized the key insights of the webinar in this article.
Ideation is time-consuming and the results are often disappointing
We’ve heard from companies that report they’re only moderately satisfied with the impact of their ideation campaigns, including hackathons and crowdsourcing. Some things seem to work, but there’s still a lot of room for improvement.
When we look at the rise in the popularity of ideation since the mid-2000s there were a lot of hopes linked to it. Companies realized that it could, in theory, have a major impact if they activate people inside the organization to develop innovative solutions. They put in a lot of effort, but what often happens is when it comes time to implement the ideas and achieve market success, the result is disappointing.
Companies answer that their common roadblocks in ideation are a lack of time and motivation, too many rejected ideas, and ineffective idea management. Innovation managers also encounter a hurdle within their own company: an overfocus on what is feasible now and short-term objectives. Executives are also looking for ways to speed up the ideation process, with 68% reporting that it takes just as long as more traditional methods to develop new solutions.
This highlights that ideation campaigns are great in theory but limited in practice. At ITONICS, we believe it’s possible to alleviate some of these common roadblocks in ideation with the help of AI. The solution is not to replace human ingenuity but to augment it with machine intelligence.
Use case #1: Speed up idea campaign management with generative AI tools
If you’re an ideation campaign manager, the new ITONICS generative AI features speed up the process of creating a professional-looking campaign. By providing prompts to the AI, it quickly sets up descriptions, images, and tags for your ideation campaign. Here’s how it works.
Click the Create button on the left and select Campaign from the list of element types. ITONICS provides you with two different workflow templates: Design Thinking and Idea Funnel. In this scenario, let’s say you want to create a campaign about ‘Carbon Footprint Reduction in Supply Chain Management’ and choose the Idea Funnel workflow template.
Now, enter a title for your campaign that makes the purpose clear, then type a summary consisting of a few sentences. This summary is the seed that the generative AI uses to expand the details of your campaign.
Click Create Draft and then select a communication template you’d like the AI to follow. Next, specify what organizational roles are the main target audience for the campaign so that the text can be tailored to them.
If you’re happy with the selection, click Create and the AI starts crafting your campaign description. The result is more compelling than the summary input and even provides five guiding questions to spur the thinking of participants. But if you’re unsatisfied with the description, just click Regenerate.
In the next step, you have the choice to insert autogenerated tags, which help with relating elements in the ITONICS system. The third step conveniently lets you create digital art as the header image for the campaign based on a brief prompt such as "bicycle parts floating in the sky". The AI generates four options, and you just select the image you like.
You now review the campaign page and have the option to edit the text, select a start and end date, or assign a campaign manager. If you’re happy with all the info, publish the campaign by clicking Start Campaign. That’s it; you’ve set up a campaign in minutes! The major benefit of using the generative AI functionality in ITONICS to create idea campaigns is that you don’t have to overthink it. It’s quick and easy, with the reassurance that the output will be professional and coherent.
Use case #2: Use generative AI technology to expand ideas
Let’s now look at the benefits of AI functionality from the idea submitter’s perspective. There’s a tendency for employees to self-deselect instead of participating in innovation campaigns. Perhaps they worry that they won’t be able to express their idea in the right way, or that colleagues with more influence will be selected instead. Generative AI can remove barriers for people who have good ideas but not the skills to communicate persuasively.
Our goal at ITONICS is to empower everybody to innovate. The AI-augmented idea submission functionality in our software levels the playing field so that it’s not just the usual suspects participating in ideation campaigns. Even for participants who are very confident, descriptions generated by AI can be useful sparring partners. Let the tool express an elaboration of your idea, then use your own judgment to chisel it down to the idea’s best form. You can also use it to quickly generate rapid variations on an idea as an exercise in divergent thinking.
Here is how the smart idea setup works. Suppose you are an employee with the seed of an idea that you want to submit to the carbon footprint reduction campaign at the bike component manufacturing company. Perhaps the idea is only half-baked in your head. You’re not sure exactly how it will come together, but you know what components you want in the initiative. For example, your idea could be a ‘Circular economy loyalty program’. Now, let’s see how the generative AI in ITONICS can expand on that.
Go to the campaign’s detail page and click Submit Idea. Enter the idea title and a basic summary, then publish. Click the Smart Action button, and the dropdown shows options to enrich your idea using generative AI. First, we use Autofill Description. Select a communication template and specify the target audience for the idea, such as retailers and customers. The AI then generates an expanded, more eloquent description of the idea, based on your input.
Next, you can also use the same AI functionality to autofill the header image and tags. It’s done; you’ve augmented your own idea with the help of generative AI! The seed of the idea comes from you, while the gen-AI elaborates on it based on its training data of millions of books, articles, and web pages.
Use case #3: Accelerate idea evaluation with AI
There’s another useful AI tool in ITONICS software that benefits campaign managers. Imagine that your campaign was especially popular within the organization, and you now have more than a hundred idea submissions to evaluate. Generative AI can help with that. If you have a large number of ideas and want to quickly differentiate them, use Autorate Idea to do a first-round evaluation based on AI models. It lets you select which criteria you want the AI to evaluate and then uses machine learning algorithms to add ratings with the click of a button.
You can still later get your company's human experts to do thorough evaluations of a smaller selection of ideas and compare theirs to automated ratings. This helpful AI tool provides initial direction in the evaluation process. You can then visualize the relative quality of the new ideas on the Radar or Matrix without having to read through hundreds of submissions.
If you want an overview of all the ideas in a table format, open up Lists to see the ratings in different columns. This is also a convenient place to make multiple edits to idea ratings while viewing them comparatively.
The integration of generative AI into ideation campaigns marks a significant leap forward in overcoming common roadblocks and enhancing the overall innovation process. ITONICS, with its commitment to end-to-end innovation, recognizes the challenges companies face in running productive ideation campaigns. All the reports of organizations experiencing dissatisfaction with traditional methods underscore the need for an upgraded approach. By augmenting human ingenuity with machine intelligence, ITONICS provides a solution that not only addresses time constraints and motivation issues but also fosters a more inclusive and effective ideation culture. Test out the power of generative AI to make your company's innovation process less tedious and more efficient. Book a demo of the ITONICS Innovation OS with us today.
See the ITONICS Innovation OS in action