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CrownTV’s latest eBook, Internal Communications Toolbox: 10 Ways to Better Connect Your Team, provides all you need to build a comprehensive internal communications plan using the latest and greatest tools. To give you a taste of the eBook and what it has to offer, here’s Chapter 8, titled “Aha! Idea management”, in its entirety. If you like what you’ve read, scroll down for a link to download the full eBook!

Aha! Idea Management

Ideas power our existence. Nearly everything in the world – from household products to games to fine art pieces – starts with an idea. For businesses, they’re one of the most valuable resources. An idea, however, is just an idea if it’s not acted upon. Not all ideas are good ones, but the worst thing that can happen to an idea is it going unheard.

ideas, lightbulb

Now is the time to work idea management into your IC strategy. As trends in company culture shift toward horizontal structure – where upper management is accessible, and all employees have an equal voice – it’s important to listen to your team and harness their brainpower. Whether you’re a startup or a 20-year industry veteran, ideas fuel business growth and development.

To gather ideas and be in a position to act on them, it’s best to have an organized way for your team to share their ideas. And that means anyone on your team, from your office manager to your HR director.

Ways to Capture Ideas

Chances are your team has some great ideas up their sleeve, but sometimes you need to get the creative juices flowing. Give these methods a try.

survey

Conduct surveys
Create and distribute a survey for your team that allows them to express their ideas. There are a wealth of online tools enabling you to create web surveys, or you can take a DIY approach. We’ll discuss surveys in more detail in chapter 10.

email, newsletter

Use your internal newsletter
In your employee newsletter, ask your team a simple question whose answer will coax ideas out of your team. Ask them to reply to the newsletter with their response(s).

brainstorm

Hold brainstorm meetings
It’s one of the oldest methods in the books, but that’s because it works! Our tips: Keep it small so no one’s competing to be heard, and make sure there’s a clearly stated topic. It’s all too easy for brainstorm meetings to turn into tangential chaos.

slack logo

Have an ideas channel in your team chat
Create a channel within your team chat platform just for ideas, and allow all team members to join. Be sure to check it regularly and take note of the ideas you like!

lightbulb, quotation marks

Display idea-centric quotes
Put up posters or use digital signage to display motivational quotes centered around ideas and creativity. It’s a simple gesture, but it puts your team in the right mindset.

toolbox

Use idea management tools
Read on for tools and software meant for gathering and managing team ideas.

Idea Management Tools

Surprise! There’s a whole category of IC tools suited for capturing and managing ideas. Some tools make it their sole or primary focus, while others are collaboration tools containing idea management functions.

aha logo

Aha! prides itself on “giving everyone a seat at the table”. The tool allows any team member to submit ideas and feedback to a branded portal, where colleagues can upvote them, add comments or mark progress. Idea submitters are automatically notified when the status of one of their ideas changes. Administrators can sort ideas by status and view top contributors.

brightidea logo

Brightidea includes a Suggest app, which allows businesses to crowdsource ideas from employees and then pass them along to the appropriate decision-makers. Employees send their ideas to a single email address, with the option to include hashtags and relevant photos. They can then track the evaluation of their idea, and any implementation steps taken.

spigit logo

Spigit’s website states “Somewhere in the mind of an employee, partner, or customer is an idea that can radically transform your business.” We couldn’t agree more. Within the innovation management portion of the tool, employees can post an idea, comment on colleagues’ ideas, gauge interest and calculate potential risks, costs and returns. Spigit’s technology then highlights the ideas most likely to have success, adding automation to the process.

ideascale logo

IdeaScale embraces “open innovation” where ideas come from anyone, not just decision-makers. Like the aforementioned tools, IdeaScale enables teams to share, comment, and vote on ideas. Top ideas move on to an adoption and collaboration phase, where teams emerge to create and pitch idea plans and have experts evaluate them.

Conclusion

You never know who or where your next great idea will come from. Idea management tools and strategies help you not only capture ideas, but also foster an innovative company culture where everyone’s encouraged to speak up and share their ideas.

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