Ideas are one of the most important resources for modern corporations. They move businesses forward, help them grow and drive innovation.
But in order to transform a bright idea into real value for you and your customers, you need a structure and a process for your ideas. You need idea management, or more specifically, idea software.
Like anything else worth exploring these days, idea management comes in a digital and intuitive version (idea software). That is is exactly what Ideanote provides.
Idea management is basically about getting the most out of the ideas, creativity, and know-how of you and your co-workers. It is about sharing ideas internally and developing them together. It is about everyday innovation in the workplace.
There is no definite structure for working with ideas, but one way to look at it is splitting it up into five steps:
- An employee asks selected co-workers for help regarding a certain challenge/opportunity
- The selected employees come up with ideas and suggestions regarding this challenge/opportunity and share them with each other
- The employees develop these ideas by giving each other feedback
- The best ideas are reviewed in their corrected versions
- The final ideas are implemented.
The Case: How to Use Idea Software in a Digital Agency
Idea software can help all types of businesses succeed. One type of company that is especially well-suited for idea software, however, is the digital agency. This is the story about how an international digital agency used Ideanote to re-define its approach to employee ideas – and how you can do the same.
FCR Media is a group of European digital media agencies whose market has grown significantly in the past decade. FCR Media has more than 1.200 employees spread out over 35 offices. It has expanded their digital media-based services to 12 countries since 2010.
The digital media market is fast-moving and increasingly competitive, and digital agencies are required to master more and more skills. It is also an industry where you essentially win if you are able to excel at two things simultaneously: being creative and turning said creativity into results.
Due to all of the above, FCR Media realized that there was a need to change the way the company managed the many ideas and all the know-how of its employees. They decided to find themselves an online platform for the task.
How Things Were
But first a step back: how did FCR Media work with ideas before? Well, FCR Media said that they had previously tried different methods but that nothing had helped them in a structural way. They had, for instance, been sharing ideas via email and gathering them in a spreadsheet. In theory, this might seem fine, but in reality, not so much.
You might be able to go through all the above-mentioned five phases of idea management with an email and a spreadsheet – it is not physically impossible. But it is, however, clumsy, time-consuming and inefficient, because emails and spreadsheets were not built for managing ideas.
Consider this: for the everyday user, social media platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter, and Snapchat can all, essentially, do the same thing. You can share messages and pictures with the public or with your personal contacts.
But in reality, these are completely different platforms because they were developed for very different purposes. If we tried to combine them all in just one platform, all hell would break loose.
The result of using tools for idea management that were not built for this purpose will, of course, be that employees do not feel encouraged to participate in the process. The ideas that are shared will not be developed properly and few to none will be implemented. And when ideas are implemented, you can almost be certain that the outcome would have been far better if the employees had been given the right tools, like idea software, to share and develop them together.
This is all that happened when FCR Media used emails and spreadsheets for their ideas. Just like it has happened to countless companies before.
FCR Media Needed to Change
This underutilization of their employees’ creativity led to a restructuring of FCR Media’s processes. They created an innovation lab where 20 selected team members could focus on ideas and innovation. This was a great start. But in order to do this, they needed to stop using emails and spreadsheets. The company wanted a modern solution that would suit the competitive digital media market. So FCR Media had to find a tool dedicated to gather, share and develop ideas. Without even knowing it, the company was looking for idea software.
”It was impossible to streamline and structure the input that came from everywhere in terms of innovation, so we needed to be able to structure and track innovative ideas.”
-Bart van der Heijden, Director of Strategy & Innovation
In order to find the best-suited idea software, the company starting off by finding two potential platforms to try out. They had identified a challenge (“How can we better utilize ideas?”), and then gathered 15 ideas on the matter in the two platforms. Then, they started exploring each platform’s features.
After the test, they found that Ideanote was the better option for their needs due to its intuitive, engaging and result-driven design. FCR Media quickly implemented the idea software as the company’s standard to work with and develop ideas.
“I found that Ideanote was much simpler to work with, much simpler to figure out.”
– Bart van der Heijden, Director of Strategy & Innovation.
Starting to Use the Idea Software
When talking about their process of being on-boarded to Ideanote, FCR Media used words like intuitive, logical and agile. Because a good idea management platform is easy to use, employees will quickly start using it in their everyday work life. We are not talking about yet another complicated IT system that requires a two-day on-boarding workshop. Employees will get a quick introduction and can then dive right into it.
Using the idea software on a continuous basis is made even easier because it is not only accessible from desktop but from mobile too. That way, employees can submit ideas directly to the platform wherever they are, whenever they want.
FCR Media’s Renewed Process
Being able to share ideas anywhere and anytime via idea software is highly relevant for digital agencies like FCR Media, whose employees are often out of the office for customer meetings and the like. If, for example, a sudden challenge arises right after pitching for a potential customer, you can immediately submit it to your company’s idea management platform to get the ball rolling right away.
”Given our strategy to partner and co-create with international innovative players, we are continuously looking for ideas or solutions that are already available in the market and have a proven value.”
– Bart van der Heijden, Director of Strategy & Innovation.
That is just the tip of the iceberg though. A creative company like FCR Media and similar digital agencies are full of ideas. But good ideas are worth nothing if they never see the light of day. An idea software will help you get the most out of your company’s collective knowledge and turn it into a real value.