A previous blog introduced the seven stages of an employee crowdsourcing programme. To recap, the stages are:
- Defining the objectives, project planning and set up
- The launch event
- Going live with idea generation and submission
- Idea prioritisation and selection
- The Dragons’ Den event
- Routinely communicating the business benefits from the implemented ideas
- Managing the ideas log (i.e. continuing the process of implementing ideas that did not make it to the Dragons’ Den finale but are still worthwhile implementing; periodically communicating the results back to the business)
This article covers the key activities in stages 2, 3 and 4.
The launch event needs to engage as many staff as possible so try scheduling it to coincide with a company conference or a similar event. The points to get across are:
- Explain the rationale for doing the initiative
- Present the 2-3 business challenges that staff will target with their ideas
- Introduce the Dragons’ Den panel members
- Highlight the assessment criteria
- Show an example of a good and badly formulated idea, so staff knows what 'good' looks like
- Communicate the awards and prizes available for submitting ideas
- Explain how the crowdsourcing tool works
- Provide URLs and log on details
- Summarise the project timeline
- Introduce the core team
Above all, make it fun and interactive - you must engage and motivate the staff.
Stage 3: Going live with idea generation and submission
Here are the key points to factor into Stage 3:
- Have a clear start and end date for idea submission. 3-4 weeks is usually a sufficient amount of time.
- Keep engagement levels high e.g. using posters, broadcasting videos on the intranet, arranging lunchtime talks, etc
- Incentivise staff to generate and submit ideas e.g. daily / weekly prizes
- Offer a creative skill-building event to equip staff with brainstorming techniques
- Hire an external facilitator to run brainstorm workshops to boost the volume of ideas submitted.
Stage 4: Idea prioritisation and selection
Now comes the difficult task of filtering out weak ideas to arrive at the strongest ideas for taking forward to the Dragons’ Den event. There are many different ways to prioritise ideas, and the approach you choose will depend on the types of ideas you have. For more information on this topic, I’d like to refer you to a previous article I wrote, click here to download it. In summary, key points to take into account include:
- If you have over 100 ideas, allow an elapsed time of at least one week to conduct the prioritisation exercise
- Make sure the assessment criteria are understood by the assessment panel and the ideas are clearly described
- Cluster ideas into similar themes
- Work in pairs, allowing an elapsed time of 1-2 days for each team to make their cut before reconvening to agree on the most attractive ideas
- Align with management before finalising the list of ideas
- Last but not least, be ready to explain to people why their idea was not selected, and to thank them for their input.
Stages 5-7 will be covered in an article in the coming weeks.
Other blogs that might be of interest include:
- The 7 stages of successful online idea schemes (Part 1)
- Selecting the right person to lead your online innovation initiative
- Making a winning Dragon’s Den pitch
For more innovation tips, please visit: http://www.3inno.com/our-articles
Do you want to be more successful at innovation? I recommend the book Innovation Unplugged – helping managers prepare today’s business for future growth.
Director of 3inno