Innovation, ideation, crowdsourcing - what does it all mean?
It’s extremely easy to become lost in industry jargon. You might even compare it to translating a foreign language. This unfamiliarity is even more intimidating when we pretend to know, or are perhaps too embarrassed to ask what it all means.
Sound familiar? Then let us help with our jargon-busting blog!
Innovation versus Ideation
First things first, what is innovation? Put simply, innovation refers to the process of implementing ideas which result in the creation of value for an organisation and its customers.
Simple, right? Well, let’s take this a step further - how do we innovate?
To be considered innovative, an idea must be able to meet a specific need, challenge, goal or objective that an organisation has laid out. It should do so by featuring new methods, demonstrating original and creative thinking. It must ultimately be capable of resulting in an advancement to a product, process or service that an organisation delivers.
Which brings us onto ideation, a crucial stage of innovation. Ideation in a simple sense refers to the brainstorming process behind any ideas on the journey to innovation.
But there’s a bit more to it than that. A dictionary will tell you that ideation is the “formation of ideas or concepts”. A short sentence but with a very important word: formation. Successful innovation is seldom the result of light bulb moments from people working in silos. Idea formation only really begins when groups of people work together to develop ideas that have been newly generated - pulling and stretching them in ways that the original submitter could never have imagined. This is where the magic truly happens.
Through a combination of pre-existing knowledge, creativity and business initiative, and a collaborative organisational culture, innovative idea generation and development can be used to establish a way to attain greater value from resources which will, in time, translate into greater value for the organisation.
So now you understand innovation and ideation let's turn to the question on everybody's lips – what is Crowdsourcing?
Well, most of us have heard of Crowdfunding: the practice of funding a project or venture by raising money from a large number of people (a crowd) who each contribute a relatively small amount, typically via the Internet.
The good news is that Crowdsourcing is almost the same, and better still requires no money from the crowd!
By connecting with your crowds to source ideas, you can maximise the size of your idea funnel. The larger the idea funnel, the better chance an organisation has of converting one or more of the ideas from the top of the funnel into products, processes and services that will add true value to the organisation.
The trick with crowdsourcing in the innovation process is to ensure that you utilise the best tools to connect with your crowds in the most intuitive and familiar way.
What familiar way? Well, remember that your crowds are probably using popular social media apps and channels on a regular (often daily, or hourly!) basis. Connecting with your crowds using features and techniques that mirror those of the most popular apps will help to encourage uptake and involvement in your innovation process, leading to more productive outcomes.
OK, so who are your crowds? They are the people your organisation deals with on a daily basis. This includes groups such as employees, customers, suppliers, advisors and partners.
Understanding exactly how people engage with your organisation on a daily basis is crucial to help you identify who your unique crowds are, and how they can help you achieve success.
Once identified, you can begin to harness the power and resource of your crowds. Through active engagement with your crowds, and by incorporating the resulting crowd intelligence data into your structured innovation programme, you can help your organisation meet and surpass its goals and objectives whilst tightening up processes along the way…
….and that’s how you innovate - ta-da! Now you can go off and have a fantastic, innovation filled day to generate lots of value for your business.
So now I’m Innovating?
If only it were that simple! Understanding innovation is one thing, but implementing it (in other words innovatING) is another. At the start of this blog, we referred to innovation as a process that ends with the “creation of value for an organisation and its customers”
An organisation that innovates takes great ideas and turns them in to world beating new products, ground breaking new services, and efficient new processes on a regular and repeatable basis. The translation of ideas into change and progress is built into the very fabric of the organisation, occurring like clockwork and without undue management intervention.
Sounds great – but how do you become an innovating organisation. That’s for another blog, but if you know a little about terms such as Continuous Improvement, Change Management and Corporate Memory, you’ll have an inkling of what’s coming soon…