16 April 2012

An idea management system is simply defined as a wholistic methodology for collecting, filtering, and implementing ideas. Traditionally, these systems were paper based and required great manual effort to manage.

In the 1990s organizations began using spreadsheets and databases to help record and catalog ideas, however these early "digital" methods did not allow many people to interact with the data. It wasn't until recently, and really in the last 5 years, that web 2.0 technologies helped propel idea management into a new dimension.

The modern systems enable users to interact with ideas through it's entire lifecycle. What's better is the fact that with modern web based systems every user can search through the database to learn which ideas have worked and which ones haven't. This makes idea management systems like Eureka unique best-practice reservoirs which are ideal and necessary in every organization.

Posted on Monday, April 16, 2012 by George R.


13 April 2012

I came across this article on crowdsourcing, and how the old saying “two heads are better than one” is as true as ever. “The more heads, the better” is probably the modern day version of this. In the past, and innovation experts will agree, too many heads created too much useless information and idea clutter (aka – noise), so limiting brainstorming to a select few was the best way to conduct business.

Today, however, technology helps us filter that noise. Crowdsourcing tools like Eureka, and others on the market help remove it through its voting, scoring and gamification algorithms. Along with expert scoring, it’s easy to find the best ideas. The crowd does the heavy lifting, and the more of it, the better!

What’ better, is that these idea management systems are easy to setup and use, and most of them on the market offer a free version or a trial period. Eureka’s free version is a fully functional system limited to one challenge – enough to run a pilot and determine if the paid versions are worth investing in (my opinion – They Are!).

Posted on Friday, April 13, 2012 by George R.

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11 April 2012

It is sometimes said that your best engineers are the workers running your production lines every day. Most of these engineers don’t have engineering degrees or for that matter college degrees, but they can probably solve some of the biggest problems facing your organization.

If not asked, the knowledge of these ‘engineers’ will be invisible and they will do their required work as directed, but at the very moment they are challenged, the ingenuity of these ‘engineers’ could surprise even Einstein.

Their ability to eliminate waste and make processes more effective, as well as think-up new product ideas and improvements, is mostly due to the amount of time they spend at their given tasks. They literally earn PhDs in those tasks and products, and thus have the ability to identify every possible improvement opportunity.

Unfortunately, many organizations fail to place the challenge squarely on their employees’ shoulders. Their fear of Employee Suggestion Programs, due to the well known and documented problems arising from poorly managed ones, is one of the main reasons they do not formally solicit employee input and thus shut out their greatest asset… their brain trust.

Employee Suggestion Programs don’t have to be difficult-to-manage resource hogs. In fact, today's web technology has given birth to a new breed of software designed for Innovation and Idea Management. The tools contained in these systems place ‘controls’ on the pitfalls and problems associated with the traditional employee suggestion program:

· Web-based suggestion forms which can be routed electronically and thus eliminate the manual transportation of paper based ideas.
· Ideas are stored in a central repository (database) thus making them accessible and searchable by the entire team.
· Live reporting functions make program status transparent to all the stake holders.
· Automated email follow-up of stake holders with open tasks.

Furthermore, these tools have made it possible to bring all members in the organization into the innovation loop – an area previously reserved to marketing, engineering, and management teams. The ability for all members to bring forth their ideas and collaborate with each other is a benefit that no organization wishing to remain competitive can afford to ignore.

Harnessing the knowledge of the ‘best engineers’ is key to making your organization’s current processes as efficient as possible and allowing it to continue inventing its future.

Posted on Wednesday, April 11, 2012 by George R.

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