Large enterprises, start-ups, and organizations all use idea management. But idea management does not only occur in professional settings – there is actually such a thing as non-work related idea management and we all use it without realizing it. Let’s call it personal idea management.
We start by identifying a challenge or opportunity. After that, we come up with some ideas, get feedback and choose to develop one of them. Some ideas are bad and others do not suit our needs so we abandon them but we often remember them later when circumstances have changed. In the end, we have a single idea that we use to solve our challenge or seize the opportunity. You might be skeptical but think about it for a moment. There are very many things that require ideas, feedback, development and implementation. Here are a few examples of private idea management. But first, the picture below will give you a better oversight of the idea management process.
Most of us are familiar with finding a gift for a loved one and sometimes it can be quite the challenge. We think about it for days, weeks even months, and then, hopefully, we find just the right thing. This is private idea management. You start by trying out a lot of ideas in your head. You think about each of these, give yourself some feedback and even ask a friend for a second opinion. Then when you are happy with the idea, you move into development. This would, for example, be finding a store or a website that sells the gift. Sometimes the price is too high. So you have to go back to your other ideas and find another that fits your budget. Then when you buy the gift, you have implemented your idea. This private idea management process is essentially the same as the one that companies use for their innovation.
Every year people choose a destination for their summer holiday. This is an opportunity where you get the chance to see a new place or relax in familiar surroundings. You look at offers from travel agents, think about their previous experiences and find flights. Next, you create a list of possible destinations. This is the idea generation phase of this private idea management process. Each idea then gets feedback from friends, family and travel websites. One destination might be a bit too dangerous this year so you decide not to go. Maybe next year it will be safer so you keep it in the back of your mind. By doing this, you are returning the idea into its system in hopes of accessing it later. After all the feedback and price checks you book the trip and wait for your flight.
Most people have written an essay for school or college. This process is another example of private idea management. First, you have to solve the challenge of finding a relevant topic. Often, a student goes through many ideas. They weigh the pros and cons with feedback, either from themselves, friends or teachers. After this, they select a topic, start researching it and perhaps write a few paragraphs. This would be the development phase. It is hard to start an essay, and sometimes students quit subjects and try another one. Often, the second idea is no easier and the student quits this one too. Luckily, they stored the first idea and give it a second look. After having tackled something else they feel more confident about the first idea. So they try it again and finish the project on time.
Today, there are so many things people can do in their downtime. These are the opportunities we have in our time off from work or school. There are so many ideas that people have to sort them into different missions, depending on who they are going to invite and their interests. They then fill these independent missions with different ideas and go over the pros and cons. In the development phase, you check if your friends are available. If not, you might have to try another idea and even change missions if people are busy. In the end, you will find an idea that suits all your needs and implement it by doing something fun over the weekend.
Choosing a degree is another example of private idea management. It starts with the prospective student thinking about all possibilities, some for a long time and others just for a fraction of a second. They consider everything from dropping out to carpentry to a Ph.D. in medicine. This is the idea generation phase with some self-feedback. Friends, family and mentors give more feedback on the remaining ideas after the first phase is done. After that, the prospective student should have enough information to start looking at specific colleges. Maybe they do not have the grades to get into certain universities or maybe the location doesn’t work. If that is the case, the student has to look at other ideas. If not, they can continue with their application which is the implementation of their idea.
Looking for a job can be a challenge as well as an opportunity. If you respond to the wrong ad you might end up doing something you don’t like. Therefore, you need to look at all the possibilities and weigh your strengths and weaknesses. This is the idea generation phase and the feedback phase. When you send out an application you start your development phase. This continues if you get an offer for an interview but throughout you will receive continuous feedback, both from yourself and others. In the end, if you are offered a position and accept it, you have successfully implemented your idea.
If you don’t organize your ideas, whether it be weekend plans or anything else listed above, your plans won’t pan out. You might end up sitting at home doing nothing – heck, you might even end up being jobless and without a degree after having turned in a bad essay! That’s a worst-case scenario, but you get the picture.
Lack of working with ideas can turn out even worse in a company environment. If a company does not organize and develop their ideas, they might end up staying in place while other companies innovate and leave them in the dust. To work with ideas effectively, a company needs to use idea management. Better yet, they need to use an idea management platform. By doing so, you will capture more ideas and follow more of them through. This will help you innovate, and innovation is one of the most important parts of the modern workplace.
When you are aware how idea management affects your life, you can use it better. Being organized in your private life is just as important as being organized at the office. When you realize the benefits of idea management, you will see how necessary it is in business. If you want to innovate, you need to understand how to optimize your ideas and to do that you need to use private idea management.
If you like this article you can check out a few others on similar topics like: What is Idea Management and Why is it Important?,The Ideanote School of Innovation: Design Thinking and The Ideanote School of Innovation: Types of Innovation.