THURSDAY 2 DEC 2021 11:58 AM


Hannah Deacon, content and marketing manager at Unily, discusses ideation and how businesses can utilise the open idea generation process to better engage with its community.

In 1989 a study established the concept of the Iceberg of Ignorance. The research found that frontline employees know 100% of an organisation’s problems. While 74% are known to supervisors, 9% are known to middle management and 4% are known to top managers.

The disparity is staggering! These statistics likely need to be taken with a pinch of salt, given how much time has elapsed since the study originated; however there is without doubt still a significant disconnect between frontline workers and their top level managers.

To combat this challenge it’s vital that forward thinking organisations facilitate appropriate forums and open channels of communication to diminish these hierarchical barriers. Digital workplace ideation is the perfect antidote for this, levelling the playing field and enabling everyone to influence change.

Ideation in its simplest form is an open idea generation process, which in itself has notable business worth, but when digitised and made accessible to your entire organisation via your digital workplace, it becomes invaluable, allowing you to harness the fresh perspectives and abstract thinking of a new demographic, often a previously untapped source. Establishing a formal, transparent and accessible process and democratising the outcome, brings the entire concept centre stage and can really serve to unite and engage your community.

Digital ideation opens the floor to user collaboration in an accessible and effective way, providing a pivotal foundation for innovation to take root and thrive. Idea generation, intended to drive valuable and progressive innovation, is most effectively driven from the bottom-up. Users that have first-hand experience of a product bring a new dimension to product evolution – their understanding of product implementation in real life application is second to none. Ideation not only provides an open forum for users to submit their ideas and initiatives, but when leveraged as part of a social intranet it facilitates community collaboration, enabling you to maximise the collective knowledge, experience and skillsets of a comprehensive user base, to shape and evolve ideas and make vision a reality.

Ideation brings the added benefit of engaging your community in an entirely new way. Leveraging such a transparent tool can foster deeper more meaningful relationships with your community; driving engagement and encouraging a keenly collaborative organisational culture. The transparency inherent with digital ideation, builds trust and rapport; when people have genuine trust in a system they’re willing to contribute more readily and more authentically. Additionally, when community members see their contributions influence and drive change in real-terms, their commitment and engagement with your digital workplace, and organisation as a whole, will increase exponentially.

So how has Unily used employee ideation to drive production innovations and influence our roadmap? We haven’t just created the ideation feature for our clients platforms, we use it on our own customer community portal, Universe, to drive product innovation. The ideation hub on Universe is a space for clients to submit ideas for the product roadmap. Once a suggestion has been submitted, the client community have the option to up-vote on proposals they agree with, demonstrating how popular the idea for development is.

As Tom French, head of product marketing at Unily, says, "Ideation has been instrumental in helping us to create a roadmap for product development that truly meets customer needs and keeps pace with the rate of change in our industry. At least ten of our most recent product updates have come directly from the Universe ideation portal, and these ideas introduce a freshness to our approach that would be otherwise impossible."