Archives par mot-clé : idea management

How to start an innovation challenge?


Need to boost your innovation initiative?
Need to deploy an effective way to gather ideas from your community?
Need to energize your team on the innovation side?

You have the idea to run an innovation challenge?

Running such a challenge is not a straight and easy things to do if you want to leverage all results and achieve a good outcome regarding both continuous improvement or disruptive innovation.

What is an Innovation challenge?

An innovation challenge is particular in the way that it has an end (a few weeks), it is focused on a topic and, most important and often forgotten, it is has dedidacted ressources to implement the ideas. The deliverables should be clear and precisely defined (xx ideas implemented…).

In that way, an Innovation Challenge should be run as a project.

Why running an Innovation Challenge?

3 main reasons can lead to an innovation challenge. Otherwise some other tools might be more suitable.

  1. Want to solve  specific problem and need ideas and insights
  2. Want to aware people on a specific subject
  3. Start your innovation initiative by a particular event.

Main steps to run an effective Innovation Challenge

  • Name the project manager
  • Define clear scope, duration and deliverables
  • Determine the topic of the challenge and verify that it is aligned with coprporate concerns and startegy
  • Define the wording of the question
  • Find implementation team, allow ressources
  • Define with mean will be used to set the challenge (dedicated software, sharepoint, email…)
  • Define the targeted peoples who will be able to take part to the challenge
  • Define a powerful and innovative (somehow funny) communication plan
  • Run your challenge.
  • Dont’t forget to clearly set to the audience what you are looking for (ideas? solutions? concepts?…)
  • Keep the power high by communicating regularly and encourage discussion and exchange
  • Review ideas, select the good ones and assign ressources (with a dedicated implematation plan)
  • Communicate the results

Key parameters of success

  1. Run it as a project with all regarding attributes
  2. Management support incl. possiblities to mobilize team, ressources and budget to implement slected ideas.
  3. Have a clear duration, objectives and needs
  4. Encourage engagement and organize events to energize it.

Lessons Learned

I have run more than 10 innovation challenges so far. Most of the last ones have been succes ful with more than 500 ideas submitted and more than 1M€ savings generated. Not speaking about new products under development…
The first ones were a disaster. No problem to say it. I have collected for a 3 months duration 5 ideas for my first challenge… Bad topic, bad communication, unclear problem to solve, too wide subject, not a single good practice. We wanted to do a wonderfull challenge but ended with a too wide and difficult to handle challenge. The employees simply didn’t understand the point.
Hopefully this first fail did not affect the future ones because it stayed relatively unknown and we managed to prove to the community that all means were present for the second one hich have been much more sucessful.


What are you main lessons learned for your Innovation Challenge?


On My Shelf – My 8 preferred books on Innovation and Innovation projects

Innovation books collection

Lately a friend of mine asked me about what kind of books I would consider if asking about « must read » dealing with innovation: Here is my selection of 8 books that are, at the time, the ones I consider as the most valuable.

This is Service Design Thinking

This is Service Design Thinking
This is Service Design Thinking

More than any other books even more than any other website or TV show speaking about IDEO, this is how I have discover Design Thinking and especially SERVICE Design Thinking. Still one of my favourite reference and reading. A comprehensive and useful website is available.

Lean Start-up

Lean Start-up by Eris ries
Lean Start-up by Eris ries

Is there really a need to come back to the Lean Start-up by Eric Ries? Nope. I have been deeply inspired by this book to develop my own approach of Lean Start-up in corporate, used in my company with wonderful results. If you had to choose one…

Business Model Canva and Value Proposition Design

Business Model canva et Value proposition design
Business Model canva et Value proposition design

The sister’s books that worth the reading. I have used and then spread it all around in my company. Benefits? Having a dedicated and common framework and vocabulary to speak about business model and value proposition and more than that, having engineers thinking about business 😉

The Standard for Portfolio Management

Standard for portfolio managementDealing with Innovation projects is nothing else but managing a portfolio of projects. Thus the standard from the PMI(c) is fundamental because before being « innovation » they are « projects » a must be properly managed.

Innovation Jugaad

Innovation Jugaad
Innovation Jugaad

In a time where money is missing and when you have to be more and more effective to be sure that every € you put inot innovation will produce some more € as a business, it is vital to do more with less. That’s what Innovation Jugaad is teaching!

Getting to Yes: Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In

Réussir une négociation
Réussir une négociation

Here is the French version of the famous negotiation book from Roger Fisher and the Havard Negotiation Project. A very useful book for Innovators and for everybody as we all have to negotiate one day or another. Most true for innovators who deals everyday

Les systèmes de suggestion en révolution (idea management in revolution)

I don’t know about the english title of this book but as it has been written by the wonderful Bernie Sander it was originally in english.  A very interesting book for those who have to run an idea management system.

Les systèmes de suggestions en révolution
Les systèmes de suggestions en révolution

Do you see some more to add? Leave a comment!

The 15 min challenge

pocket watch, clock, time, numbers

The 15min Challenge

I have been recently challenged by a small company to increase their number of ideas. As I already wrote several times, most companies doesn’t need more ideas but they need good ideas and they need to select wisely the ideas to be implemented.

The goal of this mid sized company however was a bit different. Its CEO wanted a bit of continuous improvement rather than a real cutting-edge disruptive innovation. That’s hard time for the corporate at the moment and it is important to leverage the possibilities to enhance the performance of the organisation.

I have myself experimented several Continuous improvement tools that are close to collective intelligence and innovation. Two of them are in my pocket for such challenges 😉 But among the ones I have deployed there is a funny one (not that the other is boring). I have called it the 15min challenge. It has rather simple rules (which should be adapted according to your organisation culture, blue or white collars etc…)

  1. Set the time zone
    Define when you want to hold the 15 min challenge during the workday. sounds easy. Not so sure. Ask me if you want some more tips but believe me (or not) but that the most important task to perform in that method.
  2. Put the 15 minutes in place
    The deal is easy: at the established time, allow every single employee you have to step back 15min. During those 15min, one and only question: What keep me away from my best performance and how can I improve that? By myself. Of course answers can range from the lack of post-it(r) notes to organisational issues. One has a process for that 😉
  3. Empower your employees
    Once you have all your employees with so much improvements possibilities, put a governance in place that will allow them to modify , the way they work, for a better performance. Authors should also evaluate the benefits they could achieve. A lot of coordination is necessary from the challenge team and from the management. For more complex issues, problem solving techniques should be used (I also have tools for that ;-) ).
  4. Measure the benefit
    Work with your accounting department to evaluate the real benefits (ev. vs the costs). My experience shows tremendous results, sky-rocketing the expected savings. Can I guaranty a ROI? nope. I honestly don’t have enough samples to guaranty a ROI however, what I can say is that on the ones I have led, the ROI all included was average more than 3.
  5. Celebrate
    Find a way to celebrate the success with your team. That’s key within your management and your organisation.

And you are done. Seems simple but I have myself hold several challenges and each time I have been surprise by the preparation time needed and the coordination time necessary. So that’s a lot of work.

Have you experienced such a challenge or equivalent? What’s your feedback?


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De l’intérêt (financier) de la KickBox d’ADOBE

Adobe kickbox

Il y a quelques temps, sur LinkedIn, je vous parlais de la KickBox d’ADOBE qui est sans aucun doute l’initiative la plus intéressante de ces dernières années concernant l’intelligence collective et les systèmes de suggestion d’idées.

Le point qui a focalisé le plus d’attention, bien qu’il soit pour moi un peu anecdotique, c’est le fait qu’adobe intègre dans cette box (qui présente une méthodologie pour affiner et développer une idée qu’a un employé, le tout libre de droit) une carte de crédit prépayée de 1000$. oui 1000$. sans justificatif de dépense à fournir.

1000 boites. 1000$. 1 Million de dollars de budget… Vous vous feriez quoi avec 1M$?

Est ce que cela les vaut?

6 idées sont parvenues jusqu’au bout du process. 1 suffisait d’après Adobe.

Faisons un calcul rapide.

Mettons ce budget pour 100 idées en regard d’un process classique de management d’idées, c’est-à-dire avec revue, comité, sélection etc…

Si on prend un taux de 100$/h pour simplifier les calculs, cela équivaut à un budget de 10000h pour 1000 idées. 10h/idées.

Les questions qui me viennent immédiatement à l’esprit c’est:

– Passe-t-on moins de 10h par idées en moyenne dans un système habituel de management des idées?

– Si on recolle cela au nombre d’idées qui ont été au bout cela fait plus 1600h dépensées pour 1 idée gagnante. Est ce viable?

Honnêtement je pense que oui et ce pour les 2 points.

Passe-ton plus de 10h pour évaluer une idée dans un système de management? En moyenne on doit pas être très loin. Les petites idées peuvent aller très vites dans leur évaluation, affinage et développement. Les plus complexes peuvent donner lieu à des centaines d’heures. J’ai déployé 2 systèmes de management d’idées et partagé avec plus d’une vingtaine de gestionnaires. Je suis convaincu qu’en moyenne 10h n’est pas un chiffre aberrant.

Et 1600h pour une idée viable… idem. Une idée viable donnant lieu à un projet demande une travail en profondeur. Donc Oui je pense que 1600h pour une idée viable est un montant acceptable.

Cependant est ce vraiment là le plus important?

NON. Le plus important c’est qu’on donne aux employés une marge de manœuvre comme rarement. De l’empowerment au maximum. On leur dit « voici la méthode, voici un budget, débrouillez vous pour passer les étapes ». C’est du management au sens le plus pur, c’est de la motivation à l’état brut. C’est une culture forte de l’innovation qui s’installe car le champ des possibles s’agrandit de manière considérable pour tous les employés.

Et les 1000$, ils les ont dépensés? et bien si ADOBE n’a pas communiqué clairement sur le taux de dépense ils ont tout de même lâché une info à ce sujet. En résumé. Quand vous savez que vous avez un budget limité, vous faites en sorte qu’un Euro (ou un Dollar) vous rapporte au maximum…