Focus and discipline are the hardcore characteristics of a manager. That’s while innovation is more attributed to free-spirited, creative artists. The classic definitions make entrepreneurs think about innovation as their Everest. But what makes a great leader is owning a combination of management skills and an innovative mind. They come hand in hand with innovation management tools.
Why do you need to innovate, and how can you use online tools to manage innovation in your business? What’s the importance of crowdsourcing? What are the things to remember when choosing an innovation management product? These are the questions we’ll discuss here.
Why Do You Need Innovation?
An entrepreneur must acquire innovation management skills to stand out. Here are some of the reasons why you need innovation:
Increase profit. You can cut expenses in human resources by innovating in employer retention. Improving existing products and making new ones will affect your business revenues. It also brings positive changes in processes and operations.
Stay competitive. Think about customers’ needs creatively to stay ahead of the curve. Innovation management lets you go beyond competition. It makes you the leader in your industry.
Ensure agility. Agility is the exact opposite of staring at each other when a new challenge arrives. It helps the manager anticipate the problems and understand what should be done and who should do it. Read more about this concept in our guide to “Implementing Agile Leadership for Success in Business.”
Increase employee engagement. By implementing systematic ideation, you empower the silent masses in your corporation. People work with maximum motivation and enthusiasm when they feel appreciated. It is one of the ways that can ease the path to improving the workplace culture.
As a business owner, you manage a group of experts with great potential yet to be released. It is your job to find a way to hear the crowd and use their ideas best.
What is Crowdsourcing?
To explain this word, we have to look at another term, the wisdom of crowds. This ancient theory assumes that collective human knowledge is better than a single person’s knowledge. In the Digital Age, this notion gave birth to platforms like Reddit, Quora and Wikipedia.
But what if the crowd is not educated or informed about the problem they are asked to solve. There is also the risk of a phenomenon called groupthink. Human beings tend to conform to whatever the group is saying. Crowdsourcing introduces a balanced approach between the concept and the challenging results.
Crowdsourcing is a modern practice involving a body of people to find solutions. Here are some examples. The Waze navigation app encourages drivers to report and update road status. Companies like Lego, Starbucks and McDonald’s have launched successful crowdsourcing campaigns. This time, it’s the customer who designs new products.
What is Innovation Management?
Innovation Management is the process of developing a new product, service or business model. It is a mixture of risks and returns. The process starts with a series of questions:
- What product/strategy/service can you produce?
- How can you create it?
- Why would someone need it?
- Who will need it?
You can start from who instead of what to find your target audience before deciding what to produce. This upside-down process gives you opportunities to think about new ideas.
How to Choose the Right Tool?
Innovation management tools help you get the best out of interacting with people. Choosing the right software sometimes gets tricky because of the many providers. Here are some tips to consider when selecting your innovation management tool.
Accessible User Interface
Crowdsourcing and idea management engage a large group of people. Therefore, tools must be easy to learn and use. People who understand the approach are more likely to be involved. Transparency and accessibility of the features and procedures create value in every campaign. Most of the tools come with a trial version that you can test for a limited time. So you can test how your team gets inspired by the interface and how willing they are to share their ideas. Some ideation tools have gamification features that make sharing enjoyable for participants.
Before choosing a tool, ask if it is campaign-oriented, flexible, and scalable. Localisation facilitates your activities if you’re running an international enterprise. The best tools let you plan the processes smoothly. They also enable you to categorise ideas and assign people to work on them.
The pilot option lets you observe how the platform works and how it can meet your business goals. You can also see how it integrates with your current business software. Before using a product, you need to know how powerful the analytics. The pilot option helps you explore how it engages your employees in innovation. All the tools we’ll introduce here have free demos.
What are Innovation Management Tools?
Innovation and technology are unavoidable friends in the Computer Age. Developer companies have introduced products that ease the way of innovation management. These tools let users submit ideas, collaborate, vote and provide feedback. In a post-pandemic world and with the popularity of remote work, the use of innovation management tools becomes inevitable. Here are our top picks of innovation management tools.
With crowdsourcing features on a large scale, Brightidea helps engage your employees across the globe. It enables you to track the success of new ideas across departments. The tool is designed to achieve the best outcome with its people module. Viewing certifications allows users to interact with the right people. You can also import contributors from other platforms. The invention module tracks several innovation processes, ensuring that each performs optimally. You can also track ROI (return on investment).
Planbox is a virtual collaboration platform. You can tailor the program and monitor the progress through in-depth analytics. This all-in-one solution is structured on four levels: initiatives, projects, items and tasks.
Planbox uses AI (artificial intelligence) and machine learning to find actionable information easier. You can integrate it with an open API to over 2000 Apps to work seamlessly across tools.
Q-markets idea generation/validation tool is ideal for mid to large-size companies. You can use it cloud-based or run it on your computer. This platform encourages users with gamification features. Additionally, managers can get the bigger picture with the graphical view of idea funnels. The homepage is customisable, making it easier to work toward specific goals. It also includes email alerts to notify users about new ideas.
With HYPE innovation, you can use solutions based on your focus: strategy building, idea generation, partner engagement, or value creation. Recent market advancements are reminded to users for encouragement and motivation. The platform supports 17 different languages, so you can personalise and localise it. Integration with other business platforms like Yammer, Jive, and SharePoint is possible. You can start with basic features and scale your platform as you grow. It also gives you standard reports to help you make better decisions.
Wazoku is a developer of enterprise innovation platforms and idea management software. It’s also an open innovation marketplace that enables internal and external crowdsourcing activities. It easily integrates with popular tools like Office, Slack and Trello. Users can design submission pages with customisable fields. They can also rate ideas based on feasibility, cost, strategic fit and time-to-market. Best ideas get to the top of the leaderboard to receive medals and reward points.
Innovation Management is the process of collecting ideas, evaluating them and leading them to create new products, services or business strategies. Entrepreneurs need innovation to increase profit, stay competitive, ensure agility and increase employee engagement.
Crowdsourcing is a great way to keep every company on top of the ideation game. Besides classic techniques like brainstorming and mind mapping, new tools can inspire growth in innovation management. Before choosing the right tool, make sure it is customisable and has a pilot option.