Idea management systems are not just for large corporations. Every business needs an influx of potentially useful ideas to help it stay competitive. There are many methods for collecting and selecting the best ideas. In most companies, there’s no shortage of good ideas. They come in every day—from customers, suppliers, employees. And, of course, there are those ideas you get in the middle of the night when incubating a problem or opportunity!
The key is to systematically gather and review those ideas and then sort through them. Not all ideas fit your business’ needs. Not all are feasible. Some may require greater resources than you have. These are "back burner" ideas—but don’t file them away and forget about them. Consider them from time to time. Find the ideas that solve the problem facing you today and that you have the resources (knowledge, budget, and time) to implement. And then do it.
The reason some companies never seem to innovate effectively is they have no system for turning new ideas into reality. A business that is an idea factory knows where to find ideas, how to select the appropriate ones, and how to integrate them into the business.
Lisa Gundry Professor of Management Director, The Center for Creativity and Innovation DePaul University Chicago