Our blogs series, Your Idea Counts!, is not about the platform but rather about the definition, thought process and end-to-end process of implementing ideas in the enterprise for a product(s) but could easily be applied in many other avenues. This is a series because there is much to say and we don’t want you to have to read a book to get something out of it immediately (so, short and productive pieces). This blog series gives you the necessary thinking and end-to-end plan (with actions along the way) on using Ideation.
Idea Valuation (a.k.a. Reporting or Analytics)
Finally, it’s time to talk about idea valuation (also known as reporting or analytics). We need to have concrete evidence to show the value of having ideas and that it is working to support the greater goals of the company and its customers. The problem, as with many other aspects of communities, is that it’s not the easiest to prove. We won’t even try to pretend we know all the answers on how to prove value, but there are a few things we can share and we hope you will heavily comment in this blog so we can, in turn, learn from you!
Proving that ideas are resonating, that they are important and that they are relevant is an uphill climb. It goes without question that an executive is going to ask the tough questions and we had better be prepared to tell a story. As anyone would think, there are basic metrics; metrics we might step up or elevate to be called Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s); and, metrics that are modeled to demonstrate a Return On Investment (ROI’s). Surveys, both external and internal should also be considered to either fill gaps of knowledge or acquire data not otherwise attainable. We assume this is already in place for you, so we are not going to address it here. If you don’t have these, consider creating a customer success survey to specifically capture customer feedback.
Rewards & Recognition
What you do (or not do) to reward and recognize your users’ involvement in ideas is entirely up to you. To that end, it is both an optional as well as an ongoing practice. We place it here because we recommend that you employ your formal gamification system in a stepped and evolving manner beginning with when you go live, so read on.
Ways to capture ideas (both the art and science of using community)
When launching ideas in a community, we recommend starting with some existing ideas and seeding them into the community before go live. Sure, you can start the community fresh from scratch, but think about the missed opportunity of immediately engaging with the users.
Detail of process
As we discussed in a previous installment, you want to keep the process simple. Already, you are embarking on a shift in mindset and way of doing things. It is imperative that you make it easy for your customers to create and present their ideas as well as the management of the ideas. Moderation is what can help to simplify all aspects of idea creation and generation.
Getting Executive Buy-in
It is imperative to get executive buy-in from your development team or stakeholders for where the focused improvements will center. Idea generation is all about improvements leading, in some cases, to innovation and better design.
Define the Plan
You will need to come up with a strategy for starting the conversations. This is important in that you can start off slow with idea generation, focusing only on the new ideas or you can choose to jump-start the conversation by seeding previously presented ideas to the users and getting their insights.
Set Expectations (SLAs defined internal and external)
You need to set some level of expectation with your users. Users need to understand that vetting ideas (creating, voting and discussing) does not warrant response or inclusion on every idea submitted. Some people simply won’t be interested in some ideas and they will go ignored, and that is okay.
Engagement is critical to the success of idea generation. The thoughtfulness and discussion is what can turn a good idea into a great idea. Referencing a comment from our earlier blog, bad ideas can transform into a good or great ideas.
The Transaction Problem
A point of concern is that when we focus feedback on the transaction, we tend to look at problems and potential solutions singularly. We fail to look at suggestions collectively as potential insights into how we can truly change or improve our offerings.
The Knowledge Problem
That’s the problem, lack of knowledge. When we don’t truly understand our customer and what they are trying to accomplish using our products and services, we can’t design a better product or service.
So why not build into your customer engagement model that very layer – an idea layer – in your community. Call it what you will, but we challenge you to think about ideas being more transparent. Whether those ideas are truly public, or reside behind some firewall where only licensed or registered users can see them…EXPOSE THEM! Get the conversation started with your customers.
The Engagement Model
Before outlining the model, make sure you define a process that includes development/service ownership and agreement on how everything will work.