4 Essential Features for Running an Innovation Program

Organizations are no longer trying to “keep up with the Jones’,” but rather, now understand that unless they innovate, they will crumble beneath the competition. Innovation is easier said than done, but with the right innovation management program and a well thought-out approach, organizations can succeed in this difficult task.

Here are four ways to get started:

Client Success

In 1996, John Kotter published the book Leading Change, which revealed one dire yet not overly surprising statistic: only 30 percent of change programs succeed in organizations. A 2008 McKinsey survey of three thousand global executives only further proved that most of us were failing when it came to change management, with again only a mere 30 percent of such initiatives succeeding.

The problem does not lie in the change management initiative itself, but rather in the approach. There is no question that implementing an innovation program is not easy, and implementing a successful one is even harder. But simply buying some innovation management software and asking employees to use it is not going to build a successful innovation program. A culture of engagement and innovation has to be grown in order for employees to jump on board.

Enter a Client Success program. This program can significantly improve the odds of any innovation initiative succeeding by providing all of the necessary resources and the management best practices necessary to drive community engagement levels and leverage your innovation campaigns. In many cases, the innovation management software you have invested in will include these services as an add-on.

Back-End Management

In order for an innovation program to be successful, both employees and leaders must be engaged. This means that the software selected should not only be intuitive for employees, but it should also cater to organizational leaders as well (remember, leaders have even less time to learn the inner workings of new software).

While many software programs may have a plethora of interesting back-end features, many of them simply become confusing clutter that get in the way of successful workflows. Keep the workflow as simple as possible. Unless you are an organization with a strong virtual community and have established processes in place for managers to evaluable ideas, steer clear from more advanced features.

Front-End Usability

The more frictionless the software, the greater user engagement will be. While this may seem obvious, many organizations still over estimate the amount of time an employee will devote to learning how to work with new software. Before purchasing, do a test run and see how quickly it takes you to log in and how simple it is to submit an idea, to vote, and to comment. If it takes longer than five minutes, you will be losing the interest and engagement of your community. Opt for software with as little of a learning curve as possible and you will drastically increase your chance of success.


A growing number of employees are opting to use mobile devices as their tool of choice at the workplace, which works to the benefit of the organization. For example, in the Saint Elizabeth community where most of the company submitting ideas through their devices.

An innovation management program that is mobile-friendly is crucial to the success of an innovation program. It makes things easier for the employee, and as a result organizations receive more ideas. The quality of the ideas are also more often better as employees are able to submit their idea in the moment and need not wait to get onto a computer and log in to provide their valuable insight.

image credit: travelwithmiles.com

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Jacqueline Zhou




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