The pressure to innovate has never been greater for every company. After speaking to many CIOs and business leaders about innovation, a couple of issues rose to the surface: ideas are being drawn from so many sources now -- employees, partners, customers, and other stakeholders -- that the decision about what to invest in is getting harder. At the same time, the process for sorting through, evaluating and incubating is cumbersome. In my almost-finished report, I decided to take a crack at developing a simple methodology and evaluation tool that helps spot good ideas in the pile quickly and fast-track them into an incubation stage.
Innovation is a discipline with established best practices, needed skill sets, and time-tested processes and tools. But even the process of innovating is being disrupted by social media, collaborative tools, and customer empowerment. A good innovation program empowers your people, engages partners and customers, revives morale during challenging times, and provides an extra shot of competitive energy when you need it. Engaging in a genuine and meaningful dialog with customers, partners and employees around innovation is admirable and has proven to be a great source of new ideas for many companies. However with so many ideas being generated, time and energy gets wasted on ideas that won't go anywhere, vague criteria designed to cast the widest net don't provide any kind of focus, and opaque evaluation processes leave people guessing about the status of their idea.