Idea Management

Idea generation is part and parcel of the product development process–every product brought to market starts with an idea. Ideas drive innovation, unlock solutions, and push us to stretch our imaginations. 

Good and bad products naturally inspire ideas around how the product can be improved, enhanced, used in different applications, or adapted to fit another market. How companies choose to manage and implement ideas sets them apart. That’s where Idea Management comes in.

What is Idea Management?

Idea Management is a structured approach to gathering, organizing, storing, evaluating, and implementing ideas to improve business outcomes. Product management teams can generate the best ideas possible to support the innovation process and their business goals by following a process for capturing ideas. 

Idea Management is separate from Innovation Management. While they are very similar, they differ slightly in that Innovation Management refers to the broader implementation of transforming ideas into innovative solutions that fit within a business model, usually through structured strategy and brainstorming sessions.

Why is Idea Management Important?

Idea Management is essential, particularly in product development, because it can help facilitate stronger customer relationships, better team alignment, and clearer product direction. When a company empowers its internal teams, customers, and prospective buyers to share ideas and product feedback, they not only demonstrate the value they place on customer and staff engagement, they create a steady pipeline of ideas from which to draw inspiration, stay competitive, and develop viable products. 

Often times a business will use an ad hoc process for storing ideas. For example, they may capture ideas in emails, spreadsheets, CRM fields, memos, and other documents. Over time, as the business grows in size and complexity, having an undefined method for idea collection becomes cumbersome, leading to disorganization, and lost opportunities.

That is why companies utilize Idea Management software. With a centralized place to store and evaluate ideas, everyone in the organization can easily submit and access ideas making collaboration easier.

Along with centralization, Idea Management software offers the following benefits:

  • Efficiently assess the impact and feasibility of an idea
  • Move from reactive building to proactive problem solving
  • Set priorities to make better strategy, budgetary, and resourcing decisions
  • Identify common pain points and requests among customer segments
  • See what ideas your most high-value customers are asking for, as well as trends that may have led to churn
  • Communicate directly 
  • As ideas move from concept to testing to launch, keep your team and customers informed with status updates, notifications, emails, etc.

Trying to wade through a large pool of ideas can quickly become overwhelming, especially if your team already has a backlog. Having a centralized process that utilizes your strategic goals and business initiatives as a framework can help your team decisively evaluate which ideas will have the most impact and keep customer needs front and center.