Knowing what idea process to run and how

What is it?

Collecting ideas can take varying forms. You can collect ideas from co-workers. You can collect ideas from external parties, such as universities or start-ups. You can collect ideas just during a defined period of time or as a continuous process. You can look for any improvement idea or the next big bang. You can ask for ideas around a very specific topic or around a topic that matters to everyone. 

You simply can design very different processes. To find the best idea process to run, you should first clarify your boundary conditions, i.e., your ambition, the ownership, the level of comparability, and your target audience. In the following, we present different vehicles for idea collection and how you can use the ITONICS modules to make them fit the process that fits best your context. 

Read on to learn more about:

How does it work?

Defining the target audience

At first, you need to win clarity on whom you deem most knowledgeable to come up with a winning idea. Generally, the contributors can come from within your organization or from outside your organization. If you want to collect ideas from the outside, e.g., from universities, start-ups, and research partners, you need to provide them with an option to submit their ideas. Since they are external, they usually will not have access to your application and, thus, have no option to submit their idea from within your application.

For collecting external submissions (meaning external to your application), ITONICS offers an External Gateway. The External Gateway enables you to build a bridge between your application (where access is only given to authorized individuals) and a public community (individuals with no access to your system). Via this bridge, you allow such a public community to, for instance, submit an idea or feedback. In fact, submissions via the external gateway will create a new content element in your system. You can then process this content element further within your application and along a specific workflow.

If you collect ideas from people with access rights to your application, then you just need to invite them to your system, the respective challenge and inform them how to submit their ideas. 

One common process or multiple individual processes?

If you have a clear picture of your target audience, you should win clarity on your ideation process. Should any submission be treated in the same way, i.e., any idea needs to meet the same requirements and process, or are there situations in which the idea processing will look different on a case-by-case basis?

Some examples of different idea processes:


If every submission should be processed along the same workflow, you should configure your idea workflow with the ITONICS workflow. Using the ITONICS workflow will provide you with many custom configuration options, the use of any standard ITONICS module, and the design of your own notification templates. 

If you want to allow the creation of different workflows, you should use ITONICS Campaigns. This is particularly helpful if you have multiple departments involved who want to run their own idea campaigns, i.e., have individual stage-gate processes.

Always open or time-bound campaign

If you then start to run your campaigns, you need to provide submitters with an exact outline of what happens with their ideas. A part of this is indicating how long they can submit their ideas. Is it always possible to submit an idea, i.e., is it an always-on campaign? Or, will there be a defined period during which ideas can be submitted, i.e., is it a time-bound campaign

Time-bound campaigns make, of course, sense for topics for which you need to find urgently a solution. In contrast, always-on campaigns make the most sense for more strategically relevant topics. 

Both campaign types can be realized with ITONICS campaigns and ITONICS workflow; however, with ITONICS workflow, there is no automatic deactivation once the set submission deadline has been reached. This needs to be indicated manually on a specific campaign. This is automated within ITONICS campaigns.
However, with ITONICS campaigns, you will not be able to transfer/convert a submission to any other entity.

Top-down or bottom-up campaigns

Besides explaining the time frame for the submission phase, it is, of course, also important to tell submitters the timeframe of the other phases. This difference is meant by a top-down vs. a bottom-up campaign approach. 

In a top-down approach, gate decisions on ideas always happen at the same time for all ideas. This means that a certain phase will end at a certain point in time (and the next phase with the selected ideas starts). Ideas still sitting in an earlier phase can thus not be moved to the current phase later. 


In a bottom-up campaign, ideas individually run through the different phases. You may recognize that this campaign type makes the most sense in combination with always-on campaigns. Since a new idea can hit the process at any time, ideas naturally will have a different tempo. 

Both campaign types can be realized with ITONICS campaigns and ITONICS workflow; however, with ITONICS workflow, there is no bulk movement of ideas possible from one phase to another phase. This needs to be done individually for each submission. The bulk option is available in ITONICS campaigns and for the top-down and bottom-up approaches.

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