How to Stop Your Idea Management System from Getting Filled with Nonsense Ideas

Today, most organizations have crowdsourcing software made for business in place, enabling them to gather ideas from their employees and external parties. What happens with these programs, however, is that they are flooded with ideas, some of which are brilliant, and others that are absolute nonsense. It can be quite difficult to make sure your employees continue to feel like they should submit ideas, while at the same time telling them that suggestions such as adding 3-ply toilet paper to all bathrooms are not really welcome. Below are some tips to achieve this.

Make Sure People Talk as Soon as Possible

If you can, you should get people to share their ideas with others before they submit them. Have someone in place whose role it is to listen, and who can also tell them what types of ideas you want to receive. Additionally, they should be fully trained on how the software itself works.

Ensure the Opportunity, rather than the Individual Idea, Is Loved

When someone has an idea, they often fall in love with it. This is a great passion that should not be quelled, but it can lead to some problems as well. Once someone loves their own idea, they can become consumed with wanting to prove that it will work. This means they don’t want to hear constructive criticism anymore, seeing it as a personal attack. When an idea is presented, therefore, bring it straight back to the problem it aims to solve, that is what the passion should be directed to.

Always Give Excellent Feedback

Giving great feedback is actually very difficult. It is all too easy for feedback to be perceived of criticism, which has a negative effect. However, if you follow the four tips below, your feedback should become a lot better straight away:

  1. Make sure the feedback is provided in a timely manner. You must be appreciative of the fact that people have invested their time and energy into their submission. You must be respectful of this and hence give them feedback as soon as possible.
  2. Always be supportive in your feedback. Before you speak, put yourself in their shoes and think about how you would take it. Feedback is supposed to be educational, encouraging, and helpful. You should guide people into making things even better, not shoot them down.
  3. Make your feedback specific. This will encourage people to re-submit their idea in a better way, rather than feeling that it has been dismissed.
  4. Think about your words and make them encouraging. Never underestimate the power of words. Never say things like “you shouldn’t” or “I don’t think”, as those are negative in tone. Instead, be encouraging by saying things like “have you consider” or “what if we tried”.

With these tips in mind, you should be able to have a crowdsourcing package and innovation platform that actually delivers what it should do: fantastic ideas to drive your organization and its people forward.

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