Wednesday, June 18, 2008

How Does Idea Evaluation and Selection Work in Idea Management Software?

I recently received an email asking me "what methods and processes are used in Idea Management software to filter, group and select the ideas?"

The answer is that different software applications may use different methods.

Some of the methods that may be included in given idea management software may include:
  • initial peer assessment of ideas (e.g. other employees or participants rate ideas on a scale of 1 to 5)
  • expert review of ideas (designated experts provide an expert opinion of the viability of the ideas)
  • an evaluator or team of evaluators assesses each idea or set of ideas to determine and select the strong ones
  • the participants use formal voting methods to determine the strongest ideas (e.g. each participant can select only what they see as the 3 strongest ideas from all the ideas submitted)
Typically some combination of the above is offered, with the client organisation being given the option to configure which methods are used either in general or specifically for each Idea Campaign.

All Idea Management software assists with the implementation of a 'Stage-Gate' process to progressively filter and qualify ideas and select the strongest ones for commercialisation or implementation. However, there is some variation within Idea Management software applications regarding the ability to define and implement custom Stage-Gate stages and checkpoints flexibly within the software. Some software focuses predominantly on the idea generation and capture stages of the Idea Management or Stage Gate process - and covers this activity extremely well - while other software allows organisations to extend the idea evaluation and selection process a little further by defining or providing stages for activities such as market research and testing, prototyping or technical feasibility testing, SWOT analysis, or developing and approving an initial business case.

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