For many organizations, the unique challenge of adopting a digital transformation strategy lies in coming up with new and innovative ideas to add value to the business. In many talks with our customers, we have gathered that they are often stumped on where to begin.
The challenge of idea creation for most organizations stems from the lack of an ideation process and culture. Someone may have an idea, but no easy way to pitch it to their superiors, who in turn, may lack processes for vetting, prioritizing, and developing these ideas. In a previous blog post, my colleague Arno Burggraaf, Director of Digital Execution at Mendix, outlined the four stages that support the ideation process that your organization should follow.
After working with many customers looking to accelerate their innovation with Mendix, it became clear that we could support them with their ideation process. Mendix has built an ideation app based on the feedback from our customers, to ensure that innovation is linked to business value. This application is designed to give a voice to everyone within a customer to ensure that fantastic ideas are heard, regardless of the source. The application is built as a template and is extremely flexible and can be adjusted to the customers’ needs.
Our Ideation App
Our template takes the user directly through the first stage of ideation in a simple workflow that can be customized to each customers’ process, ensuring that idea creators have a consistent tool to submit ideas and see them through the process. As our team was building the application, the focus was on ensuring a simple process for making sure the ideas add value to the business before they are prototyped.
The application we built has three main user roles:
The idea creator can be anyone within the business that has an idea. The idea creator can easily enter and submit and idea through the application, making sure to fill out what the idea will solve, the value the idea will deliver, and can tag the idea to relevant people or initiatives.
This is an important step in the ideation process to ensure that there is enough information about the idea for approval or dismissal by idea coordinators and sponsors.
Once the idea is submitted, it can be voted on by peers directly through the app. The next step in the process is for the idea coordinator to log into the application, review the idea, and select whether it will progress to the pitch stage. The app walks the coordinator through building business objectives and mapping the ideas to these objectives. If the idea is not ready for a pitch, the coordinator can request more information directly from the app. If the idea is approved, the coordinator can select the executive to sponsor the idea and a time and date for the pitch appointment.
Once the idea owner receives a notification that the idea has been approved, they can work on their pitch directly in the app and can upload their presentation materials.
Throughout this entire process, the application is pushing notifications to both the idea creator and coordinator when an action is required or a confirmation is necessary.
At this stage, the executive sponsor that was chosen can log into the app, view the idea pitch and choose whether or not to sponsor the idea. Only once the idea is approved by the executive sponsor is it time to begin prototyping.
Our goal is to help our customers kick-start the process of ideation and enable a broader group of people to be involved in submitting ideas. We created the application as a solid stepping stone to be adjusted by our customers to fit their own needs and processes. The prototypes that result from this app template can be rolled into the Mendix platform as app initiatives, thus completing the app lifecycle from ideation to creation to maintenance.
What we have found in our discussions with customers is that some of the best ideas they have received have not come from typical sources. Once the door is opened and you roll out the process to a large number of users you can get some really great ideas from sources you wouldn’t have tapped before.
Each customer who uses the application can customize and rebuild parts of the app to align it directly to their own business objectives. Our ideation app is built to support your organization with the initiative to drive a culture of ideation and iteration and to help you jumpstart this cultural shift.
Contact your CSM to learn how to access the app and customize it to your organization’s needs.