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Creating ROI With Idea Management and Innovation Management Software

With consumer and business spending depressed, now, more than ever, organizations are struggling to not only compete, but to stay in business. To survive, organizations are turning up the pressure on anything and anybody that can increase revenue and reduce costs. Not surprisingly, much of this has fallen on employees, who are responding by increasing productivity and sacrificing salary increases.

At some point, the obvious reductions are completed and further staff reductions are considered. However, this is probably the wrong place to look. Research has shown that almost 70% of business knowledge is in the minds of the employees, and general employees are 3X more likely to generate good ideas than a specialist. You could be cutting the very people who have the answers to your problems.

With this in mind, the obvious question is: Why not ask our employees (customers, partners, and other stakeholders) how we can increase our revenue, reduce our costs, and improve our competitiveness?

So, how do you do this?

You could send out an email with this question and hope for responses. You might have limited success, but participation rates with this method are usually low. Besides, people have basic psychological needs when they're asked for help.

Foremost, people want to know that their suggestions/ideas are seriously considered and that they are not "wasting their time" by giving you an idea. This is a simple concept, but a very often neglected aspect of idea collection. To understand, think of the last time you were asked for advice. Did the person asking for advice listen and respond with interest? Did they follow your advice? What was the outcome of not taking your advice? In 9/10 instances, the answers to these questions will determine your willingness to offer solutions in the future. If you are not taken seriously, you'll be less likely to respond again. In the corporate environment, this phenomenon is even more evident--people won't participate again.

Another overlooked aspect of asking for advice is timing. In other words, is there an approaching deadline for getting the answer? Think about the last time you were in a restaurant ordering dinner. You know that the waitress will be back to your table again in a few minutes-as they have already been there twice before asking for your order. You lean across the table and ask your partner for advice on what to order. Usually they respond quickly and you listen intently. You are both under pressure. Now imagine being asked the same question as your spouse walks out the door to go grocery shopping. "I don't care," is a typical reply. No pressure, no ideas.

So how do you overcome these obstacles?

These two examples above are just a few of the best practices that are required for successful innovation. Successful innovation is innovation that returns measurable results-real ROI. You don't need or want pie-in-the-sky ideas (at least initially), you want ideas that solve the problems that you have now.

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