In my previous post, I went into detail about moving to a proactive, event-driven approach for driving “ideation” and the different types of idea communities including Standing Communities, Challenges, Campaigns, and Contests. In this article, I will drill down into 4 business scenarios and look at the more end-to-end process of planning your activities.
We’ll be covering the four business scenarios as shown in the diagram below.
This 4 step approach gives you a simple tool with which to plan your activity. It is a quick way to frame your approach. The four sections bucket a set of questions to be answered. It works as follows:
- Scenario – What are you trying to achieve? For this bucket you want to specify the objective, the context, and the desired result. This feeds directly into your launch and communication.
- Type – This is where you design the “community” approach and the actual community site. Which of the four types of “communities” fits best? What is the time frame? What is your tagsonomy and information capture? What submission criteria do you have? How will you launch it? What reward or fame will you give to it?
- Process – okay, you have ideas and collaboration. What will you do with the responses? Will you have informal or formal reviews? Who is part of the team? By what criteria will you make a decision to proceed? How will you engage the contributors and the community and provide feedback?
- Downstream – You have an output – an idea that is ready to be made real. What are the downstream processes and activities to make it real? Is there a development project? Do you task it out for immediate implementation? Is there a change management program? How and when will your track and review the progress?
Lets take a brief look at how we might break this down for each of the 4 scenarios above.
New Products Needed – Scenario: we specify that we want a few new products in a given market space for launch next year. We have a $5m development and go to market budget. Type: we’ll do this with a Campaign to last 60 days. We’ll provide 100,000 Amex points to be split amongst the top 5 selected ideas. We require the idea and a written proposal based upon a pre-set template. Review: We have a team of 20 reviewers and there is a board of 5 people to decide. Development: Each will go through your standard product development process that is project driven.
Solutions for an RFP – Scenario: We received an RFP from ACME Widget Co. for proposals to reduce energy consumption for a manufacturing facility. We want our technical solutions and have 45 days to respond. Type: We will have Challenge to last for 20 days. We have a structured tagsonomy and want ideas within 3 categories of technology for the customer. We have time off days for each selected idea. Review: We have a 5 person review team supported by the proposal team. The contributor will be engaged for the proposal write up. Downstream: Our proposal team will make the proposal via our standard proposal project system.
Continuous Process Improvement – Scenario: We want a continuing flow of process improvement ideas for a manufacturing process for a particular division driving towards efficiencies. Type: We will have a Standing Community with Quarterly Rewards for contributions, selections, and implementations. Review: There is a standing team of 5 people that meet monthly to review the submissions and manage the process. Downstream: We use a task based implementation process with team leads for each implementation.
Requirements for Application – Scenario: We want to create a new portal for use by our globally distributed Product Management team. We will be using SharePoint and have a $250,000 budget. We want to begin development in 60 days and want requirements that are vetted by the users with input for feasibility from our technical communities. Type: We have a Challenge to gather requirements and vet them in a visible way. The reward is that the requirements and the solutions that people want get implemented. They are rated and stacked. Review: The rating and feasibility are important. After, the challenge a team agrees on the Requirements and the Solution and publishes the results. Downstream: We go into our standard development process with continued visibility to the Community on the progress.
This framework gives you a good place to get started. As you apply it, and think it through, you will find that one good effort often leads to follow on efforts. For instance, imagine that your continuous process improvement is generating ideas. One such idea is a zinger and could be generally applied across a number of divisions but would require additional political support (buy in), technical solutions and budget. The benefits look big. You may then spin up another Challenge to vet just this one idea.
The permutations are endless. Thus, it is important to use a basic framework such as this to provide some discipline. Each campaign/challenge has a bit of overhead and you don’t want to have too many so that the effect is diminished.
With that said, often, these activities occur at different levels of the organization, some with everyone, and some with smaller groups. By using CIM on SharePoint, you get the means to have a standardized yet tailored experience. In addition, users can participate in different venues. You may have one central Idea Community Portal for standing communities and broad campaigns. However, some of these communities may exist in Department Portals, Extranets, or specific Communities of Interest. Thus, you are usually segmenting your community market and that gives you more freedom to engage more often and in a more targeted manner.
In addition, the Review and Management module of CIM is very flexible. So, you can set up different instances of review and portfolio sites to meet differing types of activities. For instance, you might have one general Idea Portfolio Management site for new products with a lot of structure. You might have another to be used to manage a continuing flow of Challenges such as the Requirements and RFP responses with a “stack and rack” approach to sorting through the ideas. Accordingly, you have the ability to tailor the front end ideation process and the back end review and approval process to meet your objectives.
Of course, this leads us to the integration with the downstream processes – that is for another article…