4 Start-Up Secrets To Highly Effective Idea Management

A question we get often by people and groups taking a Singularity University tour is how we, a software start-up working with idea management, manage ideas.

The obvious sales answer is that we use Ideanote, and so should you. While this is true, it does not tell you the whole story. It doesn’t tell you why we use Ideanote or why we find it so awesome. To boil it down, there are four core values that dominate both our work process and platform; transparency, flexibility, immediacy, and inquisitiveness.

Read more to find out how implementing these four values can help improve your work and business.

Idea Management and Transparency

Transparency is key when you want great ideas to flourish.

At Ideanote, we all share one big office, which makes transparency very easy. This type of set-up encourages cross-team conversations, and you will usually find a programmer contributing to a marketing meeting or the other way around. Not only does this create a certain esprit de corps, it also brings different viewpoints and ideas to the table.

This democratizing of ideation is very near to our heart, which is why it is a core principle in Ideanote. Our platform allows users to share ideas with whoever they want and encourages thinking across department lines. We really do try and practice what we preach.

While we are very proud of our commitment to transparency, we are not unique. Radical transparency has become a common core value of many start-ups, who rightly see it as a way to bring clarity and focus to an organization. As Joel Gascoigne, CEO of radically transparent company Buffer, says; “By having a completely open culture, we’ve created a workplace where people openly share when they have circumstances which affect their ability to work at 100%.”

So not only does transparency breed team spirit and encourages different viewpoints to meet, it also reinforces the idea that every employee is responsible for the future success of the company. Any wonder we love it? Another value that creates better products and happier employees? Our second love; flexibility.

Idea Management and Flexibility

“The measure of intelligence is the ability to change.” – Einstein

Going back to our shared office, we have no such thing as assigned seating (except for our lead designer Rudko, who is very fastidious about his seating arrangements). The rest of us go into the office and take whatever seat is available. While this may seem like a mundane detail from our office life, it underlines a crucial Ideanote value. We are a start-up that embraces flexibility because not only does it make us better, it also makes Ideanote better.

Flexibility increases productivity improves the work/life balance while also promoting teamwork. Because of this, we also offer the same flexibility to our users. The Ideanote platform can be accessed through an app and through internet browsers. Users also have the ability to customize Ideanote, so the platform fits their needs.

As a tech-startup, we wholeheartedly involve ourselves in the digital culture. This can be seen in our embrace of cloud-based sharing, online communication, and the global business model. As a result, users can suggest ideas and engage in discussions with every country, office, and desk in the world.

Another way we commit to flexibility is through our participation in the subscription economy, on both sides. By using subscription services ourselves, we can quickly scale up or down, depending on our needs. And we give the same opportunity to our users, with Ideanote being completely scalable.

As we are a tech startup filled with millennials, our third core value can’t come as a surprise:

Idea Management and Immediacy

“In today’s market, the concept of waiting is dead” Strong words, but not exactly untrue. From Amazon one-click ordering to Uber offering to pick up customers in 10 min or less, modern business culture is dominated by speed. The culture of immediacy is reinforced by a report from salesforce.com, whose results show an emphasis on real-time responses.

These numbers are echoed by a Convince & Convert survey, who found that 32% of customers expected a response within 30 minutes, and 42 % expected a response within 60 minutes.

While we at Ideanote try to take a zen-like approach to work, we are still a tech start-up that prefers to use our time to work, not waiting. This principle is at the basis of both our internal and external communication, as well as the Ideanote Platform.

We use whatever communication channels will give us the quickest response, and we have a Customer Success Manager that any customer can contact with questions.

The Ideanote platform itself allows users to instantly share ideas, comment on other’s ideas and discuss. With no waiting time, lag or buffering, Ideanote simulates the face-to-face brainstorming session, even if participants are across departments or country borders. Immediacy also means an idea can come before many eyes in a short time, which is a godsend in the fuzzy front-end innovation phase. The faster and earlier you can screen ideas, the faster you can discard inadequate ideas and keep the valid ones.

Our focus on immediacy is very closely related to our fourth value; asking questions.

Idea Management and Asking Questions

Asking questions, you might say. What does asking questions have to do with how you manage ideas? A few things actually. Firstly we embrace questions from every side, employees, and customers. This does not mean that every decision we make has to go through several levels of approval, on the contrary. By inviting questions at every stage, we help democratize the brainstorming and decision process. Secondly, we appreciate every time a customer has questions for us because it means that we get to think further about our product and our process.

Asking questions in a business context has been heralded as a lost art, which managers do not indulge in enough. Lack of asking questions has been connected with creating several dysfunctional business patterns, from delays to dissatisfaction to poor decision-making. As a general rule, we embrace questions as a sign of a healthy business culture. We regularly keep in contact with our users to know how they are using the platform, what they love about Ideanote and what we can improve. We ask those same questions to each other, all to understand how we can continue to improve our work processes and our product.

These four values combined, symbolize the typical start-up spirit. It is therefore unsurprising that we at Ideanote embrace these values and express them in our work and platform. The Ideanote platform is our way of giving even the largest and most established company the start-up spirit.

If this has made you more interested in idea management, then you might be interested in our article about how idea management can increase team engagement. Or maybe you’re more interested in the advantages to using a cloud-based suggestion box.

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