Investing in the future is smart – and necessary. But not every investment is financial. Ideas are a commodity businesses need to harness, and develop, for both short- and long-term gain.
There’s no such thing as overnight success
Every actor or music group that seems to become the next big thing overnight is an illusion. Leading up to every meteoric rise is almost always years, if not decades, of hard work and paying dues. The same goes for million-dollar ideas. Sure, they exist, but for everyone that takes off, there are hundreds that weren’t worth the paper they were scribbled on. Watch enough Shark Tank and you’ll see all the evidence you need.
Success is nearly always the result of a craft constantly practiced, finally paying off. But can you practice ideas? Absolutely. And you must.
The cost of disorganization
Let’s be clear that in talking about ideas, we’re talking about innovation. Whether it’s a lightning in a bottle moment like the smartphone, or simply changing the way coffee is brewed by creating single-cup pods, innovation is the lifeblood of a successful business.
Failing to innovate in the best case scenario makes you boring. In the worst case, it makes you obsolete. Disrupt or be disrupted, as the saying goes. It’s table stakes. If you don’t believe that, talk to people from Polaroid, Blockbuster, or anyone in the currently endangered taxi industry.
With such high-profile cautionary tales to draw from, it stands to reason innovation and the management of ideas shouldn’t be left to chance. But for far too many businesses, it often is. Do they simply think a similar fate can’t happen to them?
Investing in ideas
More likely, they don’t understand how else to approach their business. They may think innovation is something that happens to the lucky when the reality is: Innovation is a process to cultivate over time with the help of idea management software.
It’s not as crazy as it sounds – especially when you consider that software basically runs the world, and out of sheer necessity at that. Without automated processes, we could never keep up with the volume of data coming at us every moment – from social media feeds alone.
That’s to say nothing of the fact that we’re heading toward greater automation in our lives overall, thanks to the Internet of Things (IOT), and advances in technology like Augmented Reality (AR), Virtual Reality (VR), and Artificial Intelligence (AI).
Businesses expecting to compete in these burgeoning fields need to be proactive about managing ideas, to secure tomorrow’s innovations now.
Just as you don’t open a 401K the year before you retire, you can’t wait until the IOT explodes to start thinking of ways to make it work for your business or brand. You’ve got to make that investment now.
How idea management software helps
The most obvious thing idea management software does is exactly what it says – it keeps track of ideas so you don’t lose sight of a million-dollar idea that’s simply ahead of its time. But it does a lot more than that too.
Ideation is the beginning of the innovation process, but even before your first idea is noted for posterity, you’ve got to commit to the journey. Idea management or innovation software offers a portal through which all things innovation can flow, from soliciting ideas via incentives, to informing on project progress.
Innovation must be a top-down endeavor – part of your company’s culture – for it to truly succeed. Providing access to the process keeps everyone accountable and invested in participating – whether through offering ideas, working as an innovation team leader, or taking charge of a hackathon.
Automation streamlines everything, making it easier to decide which ideas should move forward now, and which should be revisited in the future. When only the ideas with the best potential move on to the prototype phase, you save money. And that’s always a win. Even better when an idea takes off and earns you that million – or more.
But the most important way innovation software helps is by keeping you working toward innovation. The process itself is like investing in an IRA or stock portfolio – it’s all about future return.
So don’t neglect the biggest commodity your business has on offer right now – ideas. Your future success depends on investing in them wisely.
DISCLAIMER: This article expresses my own ideas and opinions. Any information I have shared are from sources that I believe to be reliable and accurate. I did not receive any financial compensation in writing this post, nor do I own any shares in any company I’ve mentioned. I encourage any reader to do their own diligent research first before making any investment decisions.
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