Community Forum – Soliciting New Product Ideas
How do you solicit new product ideas from employees?
I’d like to learn how companies solicit new product ideas from employees. Do you have the equivalent of an on-line suggestion box? Do you issue a product idea challenge? What works? What doesn’t?
Christopher F. Morrison, Ph.D, RD&E Director, Technology Partnerships and Development, NALCO
There is a great book on this very subject. It is titled “Ideas Are Free” by Alan Robinson and Dean Schroeder. It discusses how to:
- * Manage ideas – the importance of going after small ideas, and some of the traps of common reward schemes;
- * How ideas are EVERYONE’S job, and how effective and efficient processes can bet set up for managing many ideas;
- * How to make good ideas great, and to reshape culture.
As these books go, this one is actually a decent read. Plenty of stories and real life examples.
Franck Barrere, Innovation and BI Director, Technology, Rio Tinto Alcan
In our organization (more than 500 people developing technology and products) we have la long history of collecting employees ideas for incremental to disruptive innovation proposals. The system is based on natural team animation and dedicated leading indicators to follow progress (ideas submitted) against target. A strong control is also put on the idea treatment process (incubator) in order to have a qualitative treatment of ideas while avoiding high inventory of ideas in analysis progress. The system was based on manual work-flow and excel data base for each team. The idea generation is based on idea submissions from individual initiative, and also from “innovation challenges” (call to ideas on specific challenge well documented, communicated during a limited period). Since early this year, we have implemented a globally integrated and on-line system to improve this process. The tool is called FEI -IPMS (Front End Innovation – Integrated Project Management System). The idea generation module is based on Innova platform. This system was very well welcome by the employees and we already saw an increasing ideas submission, and active collaboration around new ideas.