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Purposeful Innovation Through Idea Management

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Purposeful Innovation Through Idea Management

Sno-Isle Libraries, Wash.

Organizational Change and Strategic Management | 2014

Innovation Summary

Creating a process and platform for all staff to submit, vote, and comment on service and workflow ideas. Peer panelists review ideas against vetted criteria and give feedback to “not selected” ideas, or assign ownership to ideas worth investigating by a department or building manager or informal project management office.

Problem Statement

By generating, capturing, discussing and improving, organizing, evaluating and prioritizing valuable insight or alternative thinking that would benefit library services and otherwise not have emerged through normal processes we can provide direction guided by our core services and areas of focus for purposeful innovation.

Specifically:

  • Employees are empowered to share front-line ideas for services and new approaches at a level appropriate to their position in our organization.
  • Management can consider & approve ideas holistically for cost, benefit, and time before a heavy investment of resources.
  • Executive leadership can ensure and trust that resources and services are aligned with our areas of focus.

Innovation

This innovation began during a staff development session about prototyping and purposeful innovation. A staff member commented that one of the best ways to encourage innovation in our organization was to be very transparent about sharing and tracking the ideas that come up. That element of transparency surfaced again and again during discussions with our internal community about how to build a trusted community for idea sharing and management. A cross-functional team researched the market for idea management platforms while an idea management process was developed with a cross-functional team within the organization. The recommendations and requirements of these two pieces came together in the IdeaScale product. Test groups of staff joined the IdeaScale community. Candidates for the peer Idea Review Team completed applications with questions based on annual performance measurements. Separate monthly evaluation and improvement cycles were completed for community members, management, and the Idea Review Team.


Progress

Our community is in development with 93 members, 49 ideas, over 200 comments.

We anticipate the following outcomes:

  • The general content of ideas will trends towards areas of strategic focus with selection for managerial review and away from a “Not Selected” status. Success will be measured by the percentage of ideas assigned “Operational”, “Strategic”, and “Not Selected” statuses with increases in the percentage of “Operational” and “Strategic” and decreases in “Not Selected” after two years of implementation and evaluation cycles.
  • Staff participation as Idea Review Team members (moderators) will increase the organization’s capacity to consider proposals, make decisions according to defined criteria, and give constructive feedback. Success will be measured by the content of moderator comment and semi-annual self-evaluations completed by Idea Review Team. Cycled terms will expose increasing numbers of staff members to this professional development opportunity.
  • The culture of our organization will shift towards inclusive participation in generating, capturing, discussing and improving, organizing, evaluating and prioritizing valuable insight or alternative thinking that would benefit library services and otherwise not have emerged through normal processes. Success will be measured by an increasing number of staff submitting ideas over the first two years of implementation and evaluation cycles.