What is the best ideation tool for idea collection and management?
We're looking for a tool that is aligned to the nature of a "immature" organization entering into a innovation cycle. This tool should both support the nature of the challenge ahead and enable the development of the company and staff as we progress. Any advice?
Having been around the block with a few tools now, ranging from simple to the decked out features version, I would highly recommend Wunderlist (wunderlist.com):
1. A very simple online and/or app interface to list ideas
2. The list can be shared with a team
3. Users can 'star' their favorite ideas
This is great for the ideation stage only but extremely simple and effective. To clarify, I have no affiliation with Wunderlist other than being a rabid fan of its simplicity and effectiveness.
My alternative recomendation would be Evernote but this has to setup well to allow for effective use, especially by a team.
Yes. It's Pinterest...no, don't laugh, wait...Pinterest is a Visual Discovery Tool for projects (although we are barely scratching the surface of that). Look, you know when you see those cop shows, they have a wall - a case wall. They Pin things to this wall, the suspects, the evidence, the victims, they add notes, they draw arrows. They add and remove as necessary. This is a very real technique which is used in Police. Why? Because it allows to see the whole picture, it allows to see patterns, it allows to join the dots. It is tried and tested and uses the human aptness for visualization and pattern recognition. It helps us to make those intuitive leaps of thought. That is exactly what Pinterest boards represent. These boards can be secret. This means you can create virtual Case Walls which can be accessed anywhere by anybody who is part of the project and pinned too - but not others - and you can invite others in. But you can also pin to public boards for focus groups and feedback.
I would suggest there are many tools that are applicable - but none perfect.
Besides the basic infrastructural issues of how, through time and space, your team can interact, there are issues of framing at play. Each tool captures and structures ideas that both stabilize an idea, which can also mean calcify it. This last bit means that future ideas tend to build on the last - this may be a bad lead!
Look at how your group interacts and consider a layered approach to idea generation, adoption, and adaptation. I am fond of the "Stage-Gate" model that allows you and your team to build a regular process of idea generation and management. You will have a superstructure that requires developing criteria for the acceptance (gates) of ideas as they absorb more resources on their way to becoming core parts of your products, services, and internal procedures.
Use a thoughtful survey technique that focuses on what the organization wants to achieve as a goal. Combined this with statistic report for at least 3 years of experience from organizations with similar goal. From analyzing both data you have to design your own pattern to collect ideas based on options that are purely unique to get attention.
Start with the development of your mission statement...Then go to your vision statement, develop these as a team that you wish to go, and to visualize getting there. Innovation starts by opening up the communication cycles and allowing thoughts and ideas to be discussed with nothing being initially discarded...I used to have rule that every time people told me what we could not do, it cost them a $1.00. Then used the money to buy them all a lunch later
We have used Trello.
We have used pictures of our white board.
We have used recordings video and audio.
We have used Excel.
None have seem perfect all seem to restrict us but ideas keep flowing and we keep recording them...
There are 4 key phases that need to be considered. Phase 1 - ideation (have a framework for what constitutes an idea), Phase 2 - criteria for selecting winning ideas, Phase 3 - stage gate process to translate winning ideas into full baked solutions and Phase 4 - implementation.
The key features of an "immature" organization are frequent changes with a blurred direction. Specific tools may be used but need to abandon after a short while. The normal approach is I will adopt Agile mindset and design the organization to execute on an agile platform so that it will shape up as and when required.
Richard Stern- Outline the Project for the management group then assign each person a part of the Project to do. Have the staff submit Plans for reiew. Sich action provides management a chance to see how members of staff think. This type of action puts staff on notice that their input has meaning and can impact the business. Great employees will shine the others tell you by their actions that you should be looking for better employees.
All social network use for idea collection in the following sequence:
Brain and Creative Thinking BACT is a tool that explodes the creative tinking of all that uses it
My free e-guide to business ideas in just 10 pages, 4 points each along with how to easily use them. You'll find it catches a lot of out-of-box possibilities. Comes with case studies of the strange ways we do business these days!
Here is an article I wrote with some great tools for establishing a vision: http://www.noomii.com/articles/5046-brainstorm-and-capture-your-vision
No particular tool comes to mind. In advance of the tool I would recommend that your organization establish clear, consistent PM processes. This would form the basis of establishing your requirements for the tool. Acquiring the tool should be treated like any other project.
Check out Trello.
It's a very powerful tool that can be used for so much. We use it to manage inbound marketing project and campaigns, collect ideas and as a task list on steroids.
It's simple in how it works but this simplicity is also very powerful and scale-able.
I usually start off my work with startups and small enterprises with the lean canvas (go and check out https://canvanizer.com/new/lean-canvas ). Once you have your team understanding the different blocks, you can use Trello to form specific boards, collect ideas there, add photos and supporting content/files and allocate actions around those ideas.
Another handy approach for keeping track of the time you spend, is it to write the estimated time for a task in square brackets and the actual time gets tracked in round brackets...e.g. you have a card: "research innovation stakeholders and prepare high level handouts" - (4)  - meaning you have spent 4 hours on this task that you have planned to take around 10 hours. The people you assign to this task in trello can update the round brackets easily. For simplicity, it is easier to use increments of 15 minutes instead of one hour, so the example above can mean, you spent 1 hour on this task that you estimated to take 2.5 hours to complete.
I am not sure about the size of your company/team, but this should be a good start for small to medium enterprises. Good luck and much success to you and your team!
If your group is fairly compact, there's an interesting desktop app called Curio. It's a kind of electronic scrapbook that allows you to capture and organize ideas in any format from written, to visual, to audio, to mindmaps, and share them electronically. So therefore, it integrates with Evernote or Pinterest, or email. The downside is that there's a learning curve. But you don't need to master it in order to use it.
My team and I use a simple Google Docs word doc that is shared with everyone who is working on a specific project where we write down and share ideas as we get them. This works incredibly well, it's very easy, and it's free. We also use evernote.
We recently published an article on co-creation and ideation in the development of new products and services you might be interested in. The same concepts would apply http://bit.ly/1F9qyUE
You might want to look at the use of innovation boards which use short term secure and closed discussion communities to develop ideas, share documents and images etc.
I know exactly what you are talking about and have worked with a number of organisations that want to and need to involve employee teams in the change management process and the ensuing changes in product development. Its is a fine line for most organisations as you want people to be completely involved in the process without feeling they are being marked. So options like anonymous contributions and arms length reporting / sentiment and topic based reporting, also helps to make sure the innovation and ideas are not restricted by organisation culture.
Anyway check out the article and let me know if this is the kind of thing you are looking for.