David Burkus in his HBR Blog ‘Innovation Isn’t an Idea Problem‘ talks about the first and sometimes the only things that companies do to start innovation initiative in the organizations – start an idea management system. I would like to add that they all start by saying ‘All ideas are good’. So they have all kinds of ideas and lots of ideas. If you ask them what will you do with them, do you even have the bandwidth to go evaluate these ideas – they are clueless.
David quotes examples where winning ideas were there in the system, but there was a bias against them in the system that let the ideas be taken forward by the rival companies. I am sure there are million other examples where some bright ideas were lost in the labyrinth of large setups and their red tapes. What you do with ideas is more important that seeking them out.
David talks of a stock market kind of democratic idea evaluation. This is one of the ways in which ideas can be evaluated in the organizations. Different types of organizations may need different types of Idea evaluation and even different types of idea would need a different type of evaluations, but what is universal is that they must be evaluated competently and idea generators must be given a response and if possible feedback.