Making Ideation a Competitive Strength

Photo by Diego PH on Unsplash

Photo by Diego PH on Unsplash

Ideation is evolving as a category as more and more organizations seek to tap into the collective wisdom of their employees. Ideation, or Idea Management, is a process whereby an organization can inspire creativity, capture it, create a plan, and take action. It can (or should) play an important role within your digital transformation strategy by allowing employees to drive the innovation process. As I always say, the more you involve people in the process the more likely they will support the outcome of the process.

This is not so much a blog post as an outline supporting the concept of Ideation, and how to support it within the enterprise:

Its about surfacing ideas from your employees that may otherwise be lost within the daily tasks, with no way of being shared with peers and management

  • Cross-functional
  • Opens up dialog across all employees
  • Allows people to provide feedback from their unique perspectives, making the overall solution more robust, grounded

Method for moving an idea through a formal review process, or project to where action can be taken – and innovation measured

  • Reduced costs
  • Improved customer experience
  • New product introduction
  • Improved internal systems and processes

Within most organizations, idea management more about aligning with their internal processes

  • Employees submit ideas
  • Employees vote on best ideas
  • After review by management, the best ideas are promoted to projects
  • Employees with winning ideas get recognition or rewards

One problem with ideation is that it is usually disconnected from the rest of the collaboration platform — seen as a standalone activity

  • Can lead to lost information
  • Ideas could be out of context to historical projects or information
  • If outside of normal tools and systems, could be a loss of productivity, or even adoption
  • Discovery can be difficult
  • Studies have shown that people are more likely to respond if others are already discussing — so the more activity, the more likely others are to join in the discussion

When linked to social tools within the enterprise, it becomes a natural fit for employee dialog and can be better linked to knowledge management activities and collected knowledge

  • Product team or business unit-led initiatives
  • Monthly challenges
  • Incorporate it into the new product introduction (NPI) process
  • Community-led

Creating a more intelligent “digital workplace” means better incorporating the tools employees use to communicate in ways that also benefit the business

  • A more natural fit for the way teams work together
  • Pick up on tacit knowledge otherwise lost by most systems
  • Needs to continually evolve

Christian Buckley

Christian is a Microsoft Regional Director and M365 Apps & Services MVP, and an award-winning product marketer and technology evangelist, based in Silicon Slopes (Lehi), Utah. He is the Director of North American Partner Management for leading ISV Rencore (, leads content strategy for TekkiGurus, and is an advisor for both revealit.TV and WellnessWits. He hosts the monthly #CollabTalk TweetJam, the weekly #CollabTalk Podcast, and the Microsoft 365 Ask-Me-Anything (#M365AMA) series.