What Makes a Good Idea Management System?

How to evaluate, select and install an idea management system and how to justify its value

  • Idea generation and collection: here we go for quantityas we are still dealing with uncertainty; the important guidance is the general direction of strategic initiatives that narrows the field of search.
  • Idea selection: at this stage we go for quality,so a lot of work needs to be invested in testing assumptions and setting up experiments that provide key insights with solid measures and argumentation for decisions. This part is systematic, driven by results and data collected.
  • Collaboration and usability are essential points of sharing and valuing the ideas and the work of others. If you do not get over this hurdle an idea management system deteriorates into another idea box or improvement list. There are several techniques that keep various groups interacting with themselves and with each other, e.g. anchoring strategic initiatives makes it much more likely to have frequent interaction between top- and middle-management.
  • Informed decisions and scalability: decision making is the crucial stepin bringing all the ideas, clusters, metrics, experiments and reviews together. You will be distilling hundreds of ideas, inputs and comments into a single innovation project. Comparing options at concept level or doing A/B-testing is not uncommon and must be part of the selection process.
  • Managing the system: behind the scenes an idea management system has creative minds, often filling the role as part-timers, setting up structures and running campaigns. Beyond single events this team will give a portfolio view of all initiatives across time horizons and other business specific metrics. One of their pain is complexity.

Criteria in Detail

Idea collection and selection: criteria for a good idea management system

Criteria Checklist

Evaluation and Installation




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George Fankhauser

George is an innovation consultant for Sensaco GmbH, based in Zürich. Read more and contacts at http://innovationmanager.ch/en/blog .