How to Use Front End Innovation to Turn Your Business into a Success
Innovation is something that has to be done across the organization. However, at the end of the day, it is the front end that will have to get behind it the most. This can be difficult, as the whole process is very complex. As a business, you have to find a way to enable your employees to be creative, which requires flexibility, while at the same time utilizing innovation management software package, which is about control. Getting this balance right, will make it far easier for your front end to embrace and implement any innovative ideas.
Flexibility and Control
No manager looks forward to uncertainty or complexity. This is why they implement so many standardized processes, giving them control over the various steps that have to be taken. However, when there is too much control, it stifles creativity. At the same time, if employees are encouraged to always be creative, then they start to think about irrelevant things, which lowers the quality of their ideas.
How to Create a Balance
Four things have to be done to achieve the balance between control and flexibility:
- Focus the ideation. It has to be 100% clear what you are trying to do, why you are trying to do it, and what you expect of your employees. Frame the question you want them to focus on, with clear definitions. Don’t ask employees how they think the organization can be improved. Rather, ask them something specific such as how sending out invoices by a specific team can be improved.
- Make sure you have an interactive system. This is your innovation management platform. Everybody should be able to contribute, both in terms of submitting ideas and in terms of commenting on other people’s ideas. It should clearly list the questions you want answering, while also showing progress, i.e. where each idea is, and what is happening to it. This increases transparency as well. Your system has to be dynamic, preferably based on what is known as the 4Fs – Flexibility, Focus, Fluid stages, Fuzzy gates.
- Gather the information properly, share it properly, and store it properly. The more targeted information is made available, the more uncertainty is being fought. Make sure any information in your company is available to one and all. For instance, with the suggested question on sending out invoices, make sure that there is a link to the current policies and procedures in relation to that. This ensures that even those who have nothing to do with sending out invoices, feel that they can answer the question.
Setting Selection Criteria
One other thing you have to do for each question you ask, is set the selection criteria. This is, again, about providing clarity. Make sure people know that their answers have to meet certain specific criteria if they are to be selected. For instance, with the sending of invoices question, you could define that answers must be within the confines of available resources, such as current post-boxes and mailcarts, and cannot include things like hiring a postal pigeon.