There is a lot of information out there on how to use crowdsource software to generate new ideas. This information is all highly valuable and really important. However, what this information often doesn’t get into, is what to do once ideas have been generated.
Why You Must Plan for Idea Selection
When you crowdsource for ideas, there is the possibility that you will get thousands of replies. This is why it is very important that you plan how ideas are selected, which happens twice. The first time is once they are presented, and the second is when they have been tested. By having a process and plan in place for this, you will be far more likely to end up with an idea that can actually be implemented and made to work. Let’s take a look at some important tips.
Build and Expand on Ideas
First of all, when you crowdsource for ideas, they aren’t complete yet. They must be properly reviewed, clustered into categories, and then expanded upon. An affinity diagram can be a very useful tool for this, as it helps you to identify whether there are any underlying themes. You should also make sure that as many people as possible are involved in this stage, for instance by leaving the crowdsource or idea management software platform fully open.
Meet the Objectives of Your Company
Once you have completed the first step and have various categories of ideas, you need to determine which of those categories actually meet the mission, vision, goals, and objectives of your company. Ideas can be very good, but simply not relevant. Those can be shelved rather than discarded. Other ideas will never be relevant, in which case they should be removed immediately. At this point, internal stakeholders have to be involved, as they understand the company culture and its mission and vision.
Understand that Good Ideas Don’t Have to Be Great Ideas
Many of those who look through ideas only pay attention to those that could really be “the next big thing”. But a small improvement on a relatively insignificant process can have far-reaching positive benefits. In fact, really big, company-changing ideas should be reviewed completely separately (they should be in a different category at step 1, in fact).
Test Whether Any Assumptions Are Right
As human beings, we make assumptions. For instance, we assume we know the customer. While this cannot be helped, what can be helped is taking those assumptions as gospel. Instead, you have to test them. This is absolutely fundamental, as directing a new idea towards a demographic that doesn’t actually exist will lead to instant failure.
Be Ready for Resistance
Last but not least, you have to be ready for some resistance. People do not like change, whether they are your employees, your customers, or your board members. There will always be a nay-sayer who believes things will go completely wrong. You need to channel that into a learning process that delivers something positive.