This week, we will continue the discussion on the FIRE framework and expound upon it. We will discuss a technology that will enable your FIRE framework, known as an Idea Management System (IMS).
Idea Management System
The Idea Management System supports everything from the focus, ideation, and ranking, to managing your funnel for the execution phase. I deployed my first IMS in 2008 while I was CTO at HP. Not known as IMS yet, we chose a particular platform back then. Every IMS system has its built-in assumptions as part of its basic platform. They have to work on enhancing their platforms due to competition continuously.
If you have procured an IMS, are building one, or are integrating one with other systems, there are seven must-have features you need. The first feature is known as the ease of idea capture. This consists of getting all of your ideas captured and putting them into your IMS. The key here is to get every idea you have into this system. It is also important to track who came up with each idea for legal reasons.
Support for Innovators
The second feature is all about the support for your community of innovators. Especially critical for IMS because it brings all of your innovators together in a common system. It becomes a back and forth communication process between innovators. Most IMS systems don’t grasp the idea of bringing people together. People often take it as a passive process, observing but not engaging. A common feature needed is the ease of how you “plus an idea.” When someone creates an idea, you want other innovators to build on it. You want a way to communicate feedback on ideas as well. An IMS is also a great way to celebrate an idea, whether it got funding or ended up stopped.
The next feature is to enable an open innovation opportunity. This feature consists of allowing people outside of your organization to contribute. It includes things like public competitions for the best idea and rewarded with a prize.
Another feature that I am a big believer in is university joint ventures. These are opportunities where you fund PHDs or grad students who work in your focus research area.
Workflow and Life Cycle
The next feature on my list is what I call a flexible and powerful workflow. In many cases, designed enterprise applications have a particular philosophy in mind. While not intentional, they inherently create a step of workflows that enable the feature set within that IMS.
In reality, you want an Idea Management System that adapts to you, not the other way around. It would help if you defined the workflow for your innovation framework and all the tools and processes you use to build upon it. When selecting your IMS, make sure you allow for the system to be easily updated.
Next is a must-have feature; the management of the entire idea life cycle. Ideas get touched by many people and may get funded, stopped, or even resurrected in the future. An example of managing the idea life cycle revolves around the selection. We talked about this on some previous shows on ranking. In your IMS, you want to capture the answers from the process of ranking. Years later, the scoring for these ideas could be completely different due to innovations.
Protect and Recognize
The next vital feature is protection or how you protect your catalog of ideas. This feature can be basic security and encryption, which is very important. In this case, however, I am talking about patents. I am not aware of any IMS systems that have a built-in patent management system. In this case, you need to interface your IMS platform with the system you are using to track the patents you are submitting to or want to submit.
The seventh must-have feature is incentives and recognition. People don’t participate in innovation efforts out of the goodness of their hearts. Some organizations I have been a part of pay for patented ideas that are submitted. Use your IMS system to track this. Award badges for the ideas that people submit. Incentives and recognitions are a great way to get people to get engaged.
The seven must-have features in your Idea Management System are:
- Ease of Idea Capture
- Support the Community of Innovators
- Enable Open Innovation Opportunity
- Flexible and Powerful Workflow
- Manage the Idea Life Cycle
- Protect the Catalog of Ideas
- Incentives and Recognition
I based these features on my dozen years of employing these systems and helping CIOs or CEOs find what they want in their systems. This platform is a tool that supports the overall framework. We discuss and teach all these things in our Disruptive Ideation Workshops, whether virtually or in-person.
More information on FIRE and IMS
If you are interested in learning more about the idea management system or want information from previous shows, check out all the free downloadable material I put together here.
To know more about Idea Management System (IMS), listen to this week's show: 7 Must Have Features of Your IMS – Idea Management System