When most organizations with an idea management system run into an obstacle and/or opportunity that needs to be resolved or addressed they run an idea campaign. A lot of people with different perspectives and experiences are invited to collaborate on the topic and asked to generate creative ideas. Is this approach good enough? Simply stated: No.

A subsequent post will highlight how to design a successful idea campaign. The focus of this post is to highlight that the concept that you want more than ideas; you want their INSIGHTS! You want to know: “What made you think of that idea?” “How did you come up with the answer?” “Have you seen this before somewhere?” You want to know the “I” in front of the idea.

In addition to the title and description, a well-crafted idea form should always have at least one supplemental field to capture the insights behind the contribution. This is where you will often find the “invisible” invention/idea. It’s a new way of thinking, a spark to creatively see new avenues to address your issue. These insights are just as powerful and far-reaching – if not more so – than the “visible” idea. This perspective is what is typically missing from the core team sponsoring the idea campaign. If they find a great idea, but lack the understanding on how best to further refine and develop the idea(s) then the odds of a successful implementation can be greatly reduced.

So, the next time you run an idea campaign, make sure you ask the audience for the “I” of the idea and focus the commentary and collaboration around both the idea and the insights. Make sure you also reward and promote “comments” equally to ideas. In doing so, you’ll significantly increase your chance of finding actionable contributions that can help you move your initiative forward.


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