Do you know what innovation management is? Try taking a look on forums and on LinkedIn, for instance, and you will find thousands of definitions. This makes it confusing, unfortunately. Organizations put idea management software collecting employee innovations in place, but they don’t really know what to look for. There are two broadly accepted definitions of what innovation is:
- Lots of small changes that slowly transform a company.
- One huge change that suddenly transforms an entire industry.
So which one is right? It now seems that both are forms of innovation and that it is perhaps easiest to understand innovation by seeing it as a type of music.
Idea Management Software Collecting Employee Innovations and Music
Defining music is impossible. When people try to define it, they tend to describe what they like as music. But a song created by a teenager with wealthy parents is just as much music as Beethoven’s 9th. And a top 10 hit is just as much music as a jingle for an advertisement. It isn’t about arguing what music is, it is about recognizing that all types of music have an impact on public perception. In terms of innovation, this means:
- That it has a scale. The more resources are available, the easier it is to create and executive innovative programs, although it doesn’t necessarily make them better. All music, meanwhile, operates by scales.
- That there are capabilities. It may be a wonderful innovative idea to paint the sky pink with purple spots, it simply isn’t possible. But certain things are possible and can be learned if you don’t have the capabilities. Someone can learn to play an instrument, for instance, and make music.
- That it must be appropriate. Playing Sympathy for the Devil in church is not the right idea. Whatever innovative idea employees come up with has to be appropriate for the business, preferably helping it to achieve sustainable growth.
- That it requires a leader, but they are there for guidance. It is like the director of an orchestra. They will say who does what when and how, but they don’t actually play an instrument themselves. They simply bring things together.
Every organization needs to learn to embrace innovation. They also have to make it possible, which is where the software comes in. But more than anything else, someone has to give it direction. Someone, preferably a manager but it may also be someone that others look up to for any other reason, should take the first step and lead by example. And management has to demonstrate that they take people’s opinions seriously.
There is no point having innovation management software in place and collecting people’s ideas, unless something is also done with it. If people see that they aren’t listened to anyway, they will quickly stop providing ideas. It is about everybody coming together and sharing ideas on an equal footing, without any hierarchy.