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Idea Management in the Digital Age

Everything begins with an idea. And knowledge is power. Especially today in the so-called knowledge-based economy, ideas are everything. They move your company forward. For that reason, it may be useful to consider the best way to record, evaluate and implement them.

You don’t make a fortune with inventions, but with improvements. – Henry Ford.

What’s the state of your idea management system? Ideas come in various forms and from different sources. If they get lost, you’ll also lose their potential for improving your company. In this entry, you’ll learn a little about the history and advantages of idea management.

In times of digitalization, it makes sense to consider finding a fitting software solution. At the end of this entry we’ll show you how objectiF RPM – the platform for project management, requirements engineering and development – can be extended to support your idea management processes, giving you an easy and efficient way to use your colleagues ideas to improve your company.

A brief history

Historically, idea management began with a man named Alfred Krupp. In 1872 he introduced the first so-called betriebliches Vorschlagswesen (company suggestion center) in his company. The goal of the newly created department was to gather ideas and suggestions for the improvement and betterment of all employees. Useable suggestions were rewarded with bonuses. Fifty companies had a suggestion department in 1939. During the war, the number quickly rose to around 35,000. In the post-war period the Vorschlagswesen was structured and regulated in various ways. Legal regulations were introduced which to this day influence how employee inventions are dealt with.

Back then the focus was on collecting spontaneous employee ideas. By contrast, in the 1990s, companies began to systematically develop ideas for diagnosing and solving problems. This followed developments in the Japanese manufacturing industry and is related to the so-called continuous improvement process.

In 1900s suggestions written on paper were dropped in a box and then evaluated by a commission to determine their usability. In 1985 the first idea management software was developed for the DOS operating system. Today things look different. The basics of idea management remain, however, the same.


Advantages of idea management

No matter how it’s implemented, there are many advantages to idea management:

  • Encourages innovation
  • Reveals cost-savings
  • Increases employee motivation through more engagement
  • Leads to an open company culture

Extend objectiF RPM for idea management

The comprehensive project management software objectiF RPM offers all project participants a unified infrastructure for communication and collaboration. The software can be extended in a variety of ways to meet your individual needs.

In the following video you’ll learn how to extend objectiF RPM for idea management. In the first step, you’ll need to determine which data model is necessary. What information do you want to record for an idea? In this example, properties are defined for the description, ranking and author. Beyond that, it’s also possible to trace which requirements are derived from which ideas by creating an appropriate relationship property. In the second step, a user interface, or custom form, is created for recording and editing ideas.




Adam Baltieri studierte Philosophie an der University of California, Berkeley und der Freien Universität Berlin. Nach seinen Abschlüssen wurde er als Redakteur tätig. Als firmeninterner Übersetzer ergänzt er das microTOOL-Team mit seinen ausgezeichneten Sprachkenntnissen.

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