A new idea is only as good as the innovation ecosystem that surrounds it. Managing ideas in a systematic and structured way ensures that ideas address the right goals, with the right people involved at the right time—from initial idea generation by those closest to a particular business function, to prioritization and execution by leadership teams and technical experts. Idea Management tools provide a clear process for transforming ideas into innovation.
Without a methodological approach to idea management, even the best ideas may be fated to fail or simply slip through the cracks of your organization. The Gartner® Hype Cycle™ for Innovation Management Techniques, 2021 describes how deploying an idea management tool can help your organization realize the full potential of ideas.
Idea management sits within the end-to-end innovation ecosystem and pertains to the fundamental question, “How to win.” It serves as the connective tissue between the raw ideas that emerge from opportunity spaces and fully-formed innovation concepts that eventually develop into new products, services, and business models.
For organizations looking to boost their innovation efforts, there is often a strong and early focus on ideation campaigns. Events like hackathons, challenges, and “idea jams” have emerged as popular methods for leveraging internal and external expertise and creativity to generate new ideas.
Indeed, successful ideation campaigns rely substantially on the brain trust being tapped. That is to say, technology is not necessarily a requisite for propagating great ideas. However, where your organization can benefit from using an idea management tool is in the automation, scaling, and ultimate realization of these ideas.
Idea management tools help organizations not only capture, organize, and filter ideas but also, crucially, evaluate ideas based on cost, risk, and business impact. They can provide a framework for managing an idea portfolio for structured decision-making, i.e., what to execute, when, and with what resources. In short, idea management tools equip organizations with the capabilities to turn collected ideas into focused innovation.
Deploying an idea management tool successfully within your organization requires preparedness and participation. Teams must be engaged, action-oriented, and empowered to move ideas from the collection, refinement and filtering stages to practical implementation and value realization. This requires an internal culture that encourages idea contribution, an accessible system for capturing and organizing ideas, and a clear process for managing these ideas
Your organization can raise preparedness and participation by identifying the stakeholders who will use the idea management tool, ensuring they receive the necessary communications and onboarding, and incentivizing engagement on the tool as well as feedback.
When selecting the idea management tool that is right for your organization, consider these three enabling factors—culture, system, and process—alongside your goals and objectives. An effective idea management tool is one that employees are motivated to use and aligns with your internal workflow.
Gartner places Idea Management Tools on the 2021 Hype Cycle™ for Innovation Management Techniques near the threshold between the Trough of Disillusionment and the Slope of Enlightenment. The practice is expected to reach its plateau in 2-5 years, securing its position in the innovation manager’s toolbox.
Idea management tools are an important building block in the innovation ecosystem. Integrating idea management tools with other innovation tools and functions raises collaboration and alignment. Increasing interoperability is essential in establishing and scaling an end-to-end innovation management process.
The ITONICS Innovation Management Platform centralizes innovation management tools in a digital, modular solution. ITONICS drives innovation from strategy to execution by linking environmental scanning, trend and tech management, idea and portfolio management, and roadmapping all in one innovation software platform. This enables sustainable strategy development, planning, and resource allocation for game-changing innovation.
Gartner, Hype Cycle for Innovation Management Techniques, 2021, 12 July 2021, Jackie Fenn et. Al.
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