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This episode: Technologists
When you do finally get a program up and running, you will need a tool to capture, sort and review those ideas. While there are plenty of tools like that on the market, you will likely need someone from IT to assist you in the selection of an innovation management system.
As I mentioned, there are many tools on the market, and you will need to attempt to select a tool which will map to your corporate culture. This is why it is so important to nail the outcomes and the culture fit first: if you use a tool which does not map to the culture, that is not good.
As I mentioned earlier. I was brought in to reboot a moribund program at one of my clients, and the tool that they used was a big stumbling block. All of the other tools that the client used were cool and cutting edge, this one looked like it was Windows 3.1 app which had been turned into a webpage. Beyond the look and feel (even though the design and workflow of the tool is extremely important – there have been so many programs which fall flat due to poor interface design) the process and transparency options were sorely lacking. Here we were trying to foist a backwards looking, closed process system tool on a leading edge user base. When it launched, it collected a few ideas, but nowhere near what it could have had it been the right tool for the job. Think of it this way: this is how your inventors will interact with your innovation program. The interface has to be as cool and slick as the rest of your program.
You need a technologist to assist you in selecting a tool. You may already have a tool in-house which does this kind of thing (at one client I did a review of tools without realizing that they already had 7 licenses of a perfectly good tool which they were using in a completely different part of the organization. If you don’t have a tool, the technologist can assist you in selecting and configuring the tool to your specifications and process. Don’t be timid here: the success of your program depends on the tool being able to accurately communicate the theme and process involved in the program.
Depending on your industry, you may have many different levels of review and approval in the ideation and review process, but my most successful implementations have been ones where the most transparency and the most communications occurred.
In later videos, we’ll talk about the pluses and minuses of specific tools, but at this point, make sure that you attempt to work with a technologist who understands that the program itself is more important that the tool itself. The functionality of the tool should not dictate the process of the program.