How to motivate people to collaborate on ideation platforms?
One question often asked by people interested in installing (collaborative) idea management systems is an obvious yet very important one: How to motivate people to participate on our platform?. Especially when employees are located in multiple locations, often out of the office for visiting customers, etc. It is my observation that it is not a trivial thing to get enough interaction going. Below I'll list a couple of things one might do to stimulate the innovative creativity of your employees. I'm looking forward to hearing from you what your tips and tricks are with respect to this.
- Start with a small group on a focused topic they are passionate about: Bring together a small group of people that are specifically passionate about a certain company related topic. Give this small group a clear goal to work towards with respect to addressing this topic. One example of such a topic could be to investigate automated testing options for testing the GUI of their application.
- Kickstart the ideation phase with a real life brainstorm: Whenever possible, physically bring together this initial small group of people for an hour long brainstorm with respect to this topic. Be sure to record the ideas created immediately in the ideation platform. Doing this creates a group feeling and an initial kind of enthousiasm, that will be continued online.
- Virally invite others: Once the discussions are going on, allow the group members to invite others to join the discussion. Through such a viral campaign, team members that are already active on the platform do the "marketing" of it towards the rest of the organization. Initially, they will most probably only invite those colleagues that they think can add value to the ongoing discussions and that are motivated enough to participate.
- Explicitly celebrate success: When the group comes up with some clear answers that address the given innovation target, be sure to explicitly celebrate that. This can be done by writing a small article for the corporate intranet, a mention during an upcoming internal company meeting or so. Highlight the fact that the people collaborated across teams together and that the insights gained were more then the sum of all individuals.
- Implement the innovative ideas, crediting the originators: Last but not least, show that you care about the ideas and insights generated. Make sure to implement the proposed ideas, bringing them into practice. Illustrate that good ideas are taken forward and that the originators of the idea are properly being credited. Seeing an idea realized in practice creates a tremendous feeling of accomplishment.
Of course, one can see many more scenarios to start motivating people to participate in ideation activities. I'm looking forward to hearing your feedback on the above approach. I'm also very interested to see how you stimulate the creativity of your people.
Nick Boucart works as a technology advisor for the software engineering group of Sirris, the collective center for the Belgian technology industry. The Software Engineering group focuses on the challenges faced by Belgian software intensive product builders. The group conducts industry driven research around those challenges and actively participates in different (international) research projects on topics like flexible software development, managing product variability and software innovation. Nick’s focus is mostly on flexible and agile software development and on community driven innovation for software intensive product builders.
You can follow Nick on Twitter (@NickBoucart).