Ideas are essential to business success. None of the biggest business contributions from the past few decades could have come to fruition without a single bright idea. But just as ideas take an organization to new heights, a lack of great ideas is enough to derail a business entirely. Intranet ideation tools are crucial to modern businesses success, yet it remains somewhat of a mysterious concept to many CEOs and managers.
Even if you've never heard the term "ideation" before, you probably already know what it is and how it works. Ideation is the process of fostering the development of great ideas and solutions within an organization. The beauty of ideation is that there are many ways to approach it, some of which will be more effective than others. Taking the right approach to ideation is often a process of trial and error. Fortunately, modern businesses can benefit from using a social intranet software platform to help improve ideation and make it more effective.
Anyone who has used intranet software in a business setting knows just how effective it can be. A well-designed intranet improves communication, streamlines project management, and makes sharing files and documents easy. Because of this, a social intranet can also make ideation tools and techniques more of a reality for any business, especially those who work with remote employees.
Improving ideation within your organization has many benefits of long-lasting positive effects. Here are the top 5 benefits of intranet ideation tools and techniques:
Whenever you have a staff of talented employees, the amount of untapped knowledge can be immense. If you don't take steps to pull ideas from the minds of your staff and encourage knowledge sharing, benchmark solutions can disappear and never be put to use. Think of the products and services you currently offer, and how they wouldn't exist if those ideas hadn't been thought of in the first place.
Ideas and solutions can come from a single mind, but when it comes to brainstorming, there's no substitute for great collaboration. When employees collaborate with each other, the chances of new ideas and solutions coming to light can increases. Collaboration can occur on many platforms, but social intranet software is perhaps one of the most effective. It helps people communicate their ideas with other staff members.
It's critical for colleagues to be on the same page with each other, yet it's one of the biggest issues faced in business today. When confusion comes sets in, negative consequences pop up, some of which can be detrimental. Since ideation typically occurs in a group or community-based setting, any confusion that exists can be dispelled in a quick and effective manner.
If everyone thought the exact same way about the same topics, the world would be a boring place. This is one of the main reasons why ideation tools and techniques are so effective. They allow employees to present unique ideas that can be commented-upon and discussed with other members of the social community. In this way, each idea is truly a community effort, often going through many iterations before it becomes usable.
The products and services designed and developed by an organization can determine its success. The trick here is to find consistency. Creating just one benchmark product or service and then releasing other options that don't measure-up won't do your business any favors. Creating better products and services means coming up with ideas and solutions that can support them in the first place, and ideation tools are indispensable in this regard.
For those new to the concept of ideation, it's important to realize the different techniques and ways it can be used. This is especially true when embracing intranet ideation tools, as there are countless functions for idea generation that can effectively improve your organization.
While there's really no limit to how intranet ideation tools can be used, the following are a few common techniques:
Content marketing is one of the most effective ways to grow an audience today, and it's not getting any less important as time goes on. Creating great content isn't easy, however, and it's no secret that mental roadblocks can pop-up now and then. Ideation tools are an important part of coming up with great launching points for business blogging and article creation, and a company's social intranet is the perfect place to conduct ideation sessions.
As stated previously, ideation tools play a vital role in the creation of great products and services. You never know when inspiration can strike, so having the ability to record, share, and expand upon ideas on your company intranet is essential to creating innovative products and services.
An organization's customers are its lifeblood, and offering poor customer support will cause lasting problems down the road. Therefore, improving customer support is an essential part of running a successful business, but you have to come up with the bright ideas to do so. Intranet ideation tools help fix issues related to customer support and make it easier for your audience to get the answers they need in a quick, efficient manner.
Everyone wants their company to run like a well-oiled machine, and coming up with effective ideas to improve internal logistics is the best way to go. No matter how confident you feel about how things are going, there is always room for improvement. Intranet ideation tools can be an excellent way to streamline internal logistics.
Getting your intranet ideation tools and techniques off the ground doesn't have to be difficult, but coming up with great ideas and solutions won't happen without some work. By sticking to a solid plan of action, you can help ensure ultimate success.
The following tips can dramatically improve the process of generating ideas:
Because a company intranet can have such a positive influence on ideation, implementing the right social intranet software is one of the most important things you can do. There are countless options available, many of which claim to be "one size fits all" solutions that can be used by any type of business. Avoiding these options and sticking with flexible intranet software, those which can be customized and tailored to fit the specific needs of your organization, is the best way to ensure that issues don't occur.
Ideation can occur naturally within your social intranet without you needing to intervene, but it can also be effective to schedule actual ideation sessions. This is a great way to bring to light any ideas that you and other employees have been thinking aboutt. Ideation sessions should be optional for employees to attend, but you should stress their importance whenever possible.
In any organization, a few core "thought leaders" will emerge over time, and this is especially true when a social intranet is used for ideation. Identifying thought leaders and giving them the tools they need to succeed can bring about ideas and solutions that may never have come to fruition otherwise. You should hold on to these employees whenever possible, as they can likely improve your company over time.
Most people will admit to feeling more productive and in control when they have goals to stick to. Creating goals helps to clarify the endgame of whatever is being worked on, and it's useful when applied to your ideation tools and techniqes. Perhaps you want to come up with a tagline for a new product, or are working to create a content marketing campaign. Clarifying goals such as these can help your organization focus and produce great ideas and solutions.
Most organizations have employees on staff that may be brilliant but don't always feel comfortable speaking up. This is a common problem that can be difficult to resolve. However, more often than not, getting employees to speak up is all about offering encouragement. People want to know they're appreciated and that their opinions matter, but your staff might not share their ideass unless you actively encourage them to do so. Checking-in with people on occasion to see if they have anything to share is the best route to take, and the extra attention will no doubt be appreciated.
Leading by example is essential when it comes to improving ideation. It ensures your staff has a solid handle on what is expected of them. Take time to brainstorm and share ideas, as this will help get the wheels turning for improved ideation techniques.
One of the most effective aspects of any social intranet is that employees can comment on posts made by their colleagues. This could be as simple as offering words of praise ... or as complex as taking an idea and putting a completely different spin on it. Things really get useful when commenting is used as a method for improving your intranet ideation. Every idea comes with the potential for it to be expanded-upon, and commenting is often the most effective technique for ensuring that this occurs.
It's easy to overlook an idea if it doens't initially appear effective. However, it's important to realize that every idea deserves attention and can only grow if proper attention is given. Some ideas will never become viable, but the only way you'll know is if you give them a chance to grow.
Ideation can be akin to making new years resolutions ... the initial excitement might burn out before returning the desired results. You are bound to experience issues if you don't remain consistent. Consistency means coming up with and sharing ideas on a regular basis, which is the only way to find success with intranet ideation tools.
The road towards improved ideation can be a long one, and you'll no doubt encounter some roadblocks along the way. However, if you can learn how to use your social intranet as an ideation platform, you'll be one step ahead of the competition. Don't forget that ideas are always in flux, and experimenting with different ideation tools and techniques can be an effective way to see the change you're trying to make.
Put together a plan, and ideation will fall into place.
Tim is president and co-founder of Axero Solutions, a leading intranet software vendor. He's also a bestselling author of Who the Hell Wants to Work for You? Mastering Employee Engagement. Tim’s been featured in Fortune, Forbes, TIME, Inc Magazine, Entrepreneur, CNBC, Today, and other leading publications.
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