While some individuals are well versed in idea management as a concept, sometimes we find that we have to explain what the concept means and, once individuals understand the problem, the solution makes perfect sense.

Image courtesy of Natalia at petitpotato.
Image courtesy of Natalia at petitpotato.

Ideas and inspiration in their raw formats are difficult to control and manage. They come to us at any point in time and don’t always come in formats that we can easily process and manage. Part of putting ideas together involves not just our own efforts, but also the efforts of others who can help us sort out the puzzle. Rarely do we find that a great idea comes fully formed from one individual. Ideas must be built upon and improved before they’re able to function independently.

In order for ideas to develop properly, they need two things which seem almost contradictory: structure and flexibility. Structure allows you to manage the process that the idea goes through and come to an understanding of when you must review the idea or approve it. But flexibility allows you to develop the idea freely and gives you the space to let other ideas work off of it or take the idea through another stage, if necessary. A platform that allows you both structure and flexibility has the best chance of getting great ideas and making them even better. And that’s basically what idea management is – a way of putting together the puzzle pieces.

Ideas come in a variety of different shapes and need different processes that work with them, rather than against them. So in order to develop them, your ideal platform should not only let you input ideas, or let others input ideas, but also let you decide how the idea is defined and the journey the idea can take from start to finish.

Once you have all of that, you should feel more like you’re on a pathway to innovation and less like you’re assembling a gigantic puzzle without all the pieces.