Prompted by this post over on Front End of Innovation, Idea management software is just like Facebook except everyone is talking about work, I really got to thinking about the high level concept and the result is the “infographic” below which tries to summaries several key points, leading with the main one of context. Below this is a brief bit of elaboration:
The focus is pretty much ideas (I agree with Brightidea that Accelerating Corporate Innovation Emerges as the “Killer App” of Social Business Software, with ideas at the core) but ideas as everyone knows are nothing without delivery. Ideas are also pretty useless if they have been well implemented but they don’t meet a market need, profitably, etc. Also, the context in which they are created is really important. So this picture tries to cover those things off simply – feel free to use and share and/or comment on if you think it can be improved in any way.
The point I’m making here really endorses what was said in the first article I linked to – “There’s got to be more to an idea management system than just idea generation.” If ideas are the Alpha of innovation then there has to be a lot more before we get to Omega and aside from Processes and Metrics I think it’s all about context. The context within which you find and connect with colleagues, build relationships, collaborate and explore new avenues with – THAT is where great ideas flourish. Now it doesn’t matter so much that it can be done with an ideas management system that has broader social capability (like Brightidea, Spigit, etc,) or through a social platform like Confluence or Drupal with their ideas addons or finally, on the social web via a massive community like Facebook through several apps that companies are starting to offer. The point is broader social activities lie at the heart of effective ideas management.
I don’t need to say too much about processes other than to point out the same fear I have about over use of them covered in the first few paragraphs of this handy Dachis Social Business Summit summary. But I still believe they are necessary, especially when you have a large community creating lots of ideas that need herding and filtering, implementing, etc. Process will help and I have plotted a non-exhaustive list of some of the obvious steps that need covering in a fairly obvious flow. And I also don’t believe that process and creativity together, which is anathema to some, are mutually exclusive. I believe like TS Eliot did that ”When forced to work within a strict framework the imagination is taxed to its utmost – and will produce its richest ideas. Given total freedom the work is likely to sprawl.”
This area definitely needs no introduction. The need for an effective mechanism for capturing and reporting activities and that provides metrics you’ve defined to measure success, cannot be exaggerated. Calculating ROI is an increasingly important aspect of Social Business and there really is no way you can and need ignore this aspect since most modern platforms either provide the capability nativley or it can be relatively easily built. Similar to process, I have merely noted a few of the obvious areas that could be covered but there will be many more.
I’m about to embark on a large exercise for a client, to evaluate possible systems for them to use and we’ll be covering all of the areas mentioned above. I’ll be reporting more about my learning along the way (where permissible) so watch this space.