What Is Idea Management And The Right Way To Do It?
By Claudia Johnson
Idea is everything. Great products that we see around today all started with one. However, that will hardly be enough for success without proper idea management.
Ideas can come from multiple sources. It is critical to efficiently manage them to identify the ones that can fly. We discuss idea management in this article, plus why it's important and tips for doing it.
What is an Idea?
In its simplest definition, an idea is a thought or suggestion about what could be done to achieve a desired result. When talking about products, we can describe it as an assumption about how one thing or quality could make a product more appealing or better.
Ideas come through feature requests in many cases. They could also result from an attempt to figure out how to make a product more competitive. They may be put forward for action after proper analysis.
What is Idea Management?
Idea management is a systematic approach to generating, discussing, organizing, analyzing, and prioritizing ideas. It is a process of capturing and evaluating valuable insights that can increase the profits of a company through products.
With idea management, a company captures useful insights or feedback from stakeholders, including its customers. These inputs are then used to improve existing offerings or to make new ones.
Product managers are usually in charge of idea management in their companies, being the CEOs of products. They set up the system and create awareness of its existence in their organizations.
Why Idea Management is Vital
Often, people who come up with ideas think their suggestions are the best thing since sliced bread. The reality, however, is that some ideas are not so great and others are practically non-viable.
Idea management not only helps to gather insights but also to evaluate them to determine if they are worthwhile. It is the responsibility of product managers to direct and prioritize them in a roadmap bearing in mind the product strategy and the company's vision.
Ideas can emanate from any sources within and outside an organization. Idea management creates a system for capturing and analyzing them. Such a system pushes teams and other stakeholders not to hesitate when they have "awesome" ideas.
Innovation is the result of great, viable ideas. It helps you to command a significant share of your market.
The process of churning out, developing, and curating ideas is referred to as ideation. It begins with a little background information and identification of some existent opportunities.
As a product manager, you can generate ideas from both internal and external sources. Below are some considerations that can help for idea generation:
Organization – Your company can be the starting point for idea generation. Business goals and strategy, as well as requests by teams and other stakeholders, can lead to new ideas.
Competitors – The activities of your rivals can help you come up with new ideas. It is possible to identify a gap in your product or what you can do better by evaluating features that your leading rivals offer.
Product – Another way you can generate ideas is by assessing your product vision. Try to think of what you can do or do differently to make your product a winner and to achieve its goals.
Customers – These constitute the focal point of all productions. Identify the needs or problems of customers and ideas on how to solve them can follow. You can also ask customers directly for suggestions.
Tips for Effective Idea Management
We provide below a few tips on how to manage a winning idea management system.
Develop a transparent system
Product managers want to start by putting together a centralized idea management system. This will provide where everyone can present their ideas – could be an application, a shared network drive, or a shared online folder. The system should be in such a form that anyone can see what ideas have already been submitted and what is being done about them.
Encourage new ideas
Try to develop a system that gives teams the confidence to put forward ideas. Team members should be made to understand that these necessarily not be world-shattering. Ideas that seem rather ordinary can end up improving user experience and your company's bottom line.
Evaluate ideas with team members
A good idea management session should create room for analyzing ideas as a group. As a product manager, it will help to review ideas collected or submitted with your cross-functional team as necessary. You will do better determining the right ones that are worth proceeding with this way.
Guide idea generation
A PM should also set the tone for worthwhile ideas. Based on what you know about your product and market, you may provide guidelines to steer the thinking of teams. This can save time spent on deliberating non-viable ideas.
You cannot up come up with all the winning ideas. There are those that people in your teams might have and you don't. This is why it will help to encourage teams to come up with ideas and express them.