5 ways digital transformation leaders can innovate with remote ideation

Innovation starts with an energetic, information-hungry culture, and it ends with measurable and impactful results. But once you have the spark, how do you bring your vision to life? We look at five ways of using a next-gen intranet, complete with ideation, to achieve your goals.

A digital transformation leader in a busy office environment

Innovation solves problems

The iPhone changed everything. But to get to the eureka moment, Steve Jobs and his team had to overcome several significant hurdles over a development period of two and a half years, like learning that an iPhone can't merely be an iPod with the ability to make calls. And while we now take touch screens for granted, Jobs' priority was to create a phone that always worked and comfortably fit into the palm of your hand.

The first iPhones didn't come with the App Store installed, so the technological revolution that followed was secondary to Jobs' primary concerns. The iPhone analogy shows that innovation is driven by problem-solving, while ground-breaking discoveries are the icing on the cake.

"Apple is best when it's fixing the things that people hate."

Greg Christie - Former Head of Apple's Human Interface Group

Ideation is your innovation engine

In today's enterprise, when discovering problems impeding digital transformation, we like to refer to Sidney Yoshida and his study, The Iceberg of Ignorance. This famed research shows that the majority of the issues that companies face are unknown to managers or senior leadership, buried beneath autocracy or bureaucracy.

With ideation, also known as suggestion schemes, you're leveling the playing field. Now everyone has the chance to make a difference, whether they're a Senior Product Designer, a frontline worker, or an intern on their first day. Encourage your people to submit their ideas and see them come to life, from concept to implementation. With a little impetus, you'll witness your workforce flourishing.

How ideation can help create inspiring company-wide initiatives

In this blog, we explore how ideation, implemented through a digital workplace platform, can help harness the collective knowledge of your workforce, spread innovative best practices across your organization, apply significant impact changes and bring everyone into the conversation.

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Unlock remote ideation with the Feature Store

Traditionally ideation takes place in collaborative spaces and tends to be reliant on facetime for brainstorming. However, since the global transition to more remote ways of working, we must now consider how we can transfer these essential practices into virtual environments. 

The introduction of our new intranet Feature Store brings the concept of remote ideation from a daydream to a reality. 

The Feature Store allows customers using the Unily platform to install new pre-configured features with ease, bypassing the lengthy development times that prevent many platform managers from adopting new functionality.

"We wanted to give businesses an easy way of promoting ideation in a time where agile thinking and experimentation will be key to future success and growth."

Matthew Boyd - Product Evangelist at Unily
innovate with Unily's ideation, cutting costs and streamlining processes

Ideation with Unily is effortless and intuitive. Once you have installed the functionality in minutes via our Feature Store, you'll be able to offer access to anybody in your organization. In turn, they can create and publish ideas then vote for their favorites, which appear on the trending and top ideas lists.

The most popular ideas get added to your roadmap, and, eventually, they are developed and implemented. It's a thrill for the individual to see their company backing them beyond their day job, helping them feel more involved, and boosting their profile across the business.

Best of all, we've proven that ideation works. Unily, the employee experience platform, is community-driven, meaning that, at the time of writing, 11 product features are complete, with many more in the pipeline. These have come directly from our customers' idea generation on Universe, our thriving customer success portal.

5 ways of using remote ideation to innovate

An innovation-first company culture essentially means that you're dynamic and forward-thinking, entrusting your people to keep your company on the pulse. Consider the following benefits and end goals:

#1. Cutting costs

The benefit of having all your people involved is that they bring their unique knowledge to the table. Enterprises can be vast, and teams siloed, so implementing learnings from different groups is a way to unite your people. For instance, your sales team might have spotted opportunities for cutting costs with cross-function initiatives, a welcome move at any time, but especially so during economically trying times.

Initiatives include anything from cycle to work or car share schemes to restructuring projects. A member of your internal communications team might discover that it's more cost-effective to have one company-wide communication tool instead of several. Or your IT colleague could submit an idea to cut IT operational costs and steps to a move to the cloud.

#2. Streamlining processes

Simplicity in the enterprise space is an attractive proposition. 64% of customers will pay more for simpler experiences, whereas 61% of employees stand behind their company as brand champions if they view it as simple. However, when we talk about simplicity, we're mainly referring to streamlining processes for friendlier user experiences.

Ideation is a chance for your people to put forward their case for simplifying processes, from modernizing onboarding to addressing ineffectual training modules or courses. Consider an idea for implementing AI-powered technology to help users get to the information they need fast.

#3. Giving back to your community

If there's one thing the pandemic has shown is that we're all linked globally, and what we do locally can have far-reaching consequences. With the imminent return to work, it's paramount to show that you prioritize charity and environmentally friendly policies.

There's no better way to show your commitment to ethically-minded thinking than to empower your people to put forward their ideas and give back to the broader community. Examples include ideas for a yearly charity day out or creating an environmental hub on your intranet, complete with actionable green plans.

#4. Increasing collaboration

Ideation is an excellent way for your people to be more influential together. Start a conversation or go off on a tangent with colleagues with similar interests and befriend surprising new contacts. An idea could easily inspire others to take part and collaborate to make brainstorming even more potent.>

Alternatively, why not create a frontline-only ideation hub, to make frontline changes and initiatives laser-focused to those teams. With mobile-friendly ideation on Unily and rapid idea creation, your deskless workers can ideate wherever they are.

Ideation on mobile device

#5. Creating exciting new products

Steve Jobs was passionate about creating slick products, and your people may have the answer to make your products even slicker and easier to use. Sometimes, product development can appear to sit behind an opaque door, and the rest of the company may not get a say in how a product turns out. You can change that by opening doors with ideation.

Introduce iterative product improvements, so that your people are empowered to make logical suggestions to improve current functionality, based on customer feedback or personal research. Next, go further and revolutionize the marketplace with incredible, new product ideas. Once you set the innovation ball rolling, there's no limit to how far it will take you.

Digital workplace adoption guide pages

Digital workplace adoption guide: everything you need to know

Intranets (as one aspect of the broad suite of digital workplace technologies) tend to suffer from low levels of usage once they’ve been launched, when the initial period of excitement has ebbed away. Download our 12-page guide as we dive into digital workplace adoption, helping you to understand how to plan for it, measure it, and put a strategic plan in place.

Download guide

Are you ready to start innovating?

If you'd like to see how Unily's ideation can help you innovate, we'd be happy to show you a free demo. Contact our digital workplace experts to get started.

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