How a national space agency adopted an idea management system to promote industry innovation & development
Limitless Ideas about Space
A healthy dose of creativity is usually welcome in all industries, but particularly so in the field of space travel and exploration. This industry may be grounded in science and engineering, but it is active imaginations and grand ambitions that motivate progress and challenge possibilities at every step.
And when it comes to getting innovative ideas, there is no shortage when enough people are asked. This is where idea management systems come into play; using crowd-sourcing as a cost-effective and efficient way of collecting ideas and opinions from a large group of people.
Growing a Young Space Industry through Innovation
Actively involving the public and adopting an idea management system was an obvious route for a recently established national space agency with ambitious goals of driving rapid growth and innovation in the countrys space sector. Its long-term objectives were to generate awareness and interest in the space arena, and encourage the pursuit of relevant education and research in order to create a steady source of future employable talent. Meanwhile, its more immediate goals were to expand its options in developing specific areas in its line of work through ideas and proposals from members of the public, including high school and university students and experts in related work fields.
To do this, the agency needed a single platform that would bring together idea owners, subject matter experts, incubators and campaign coordinators, and make it easier to turn good ideas into real initiatives. The agency would not only be able to interact with various parties and receive ideas, but also evaluate these ideas in collaboration with experts from partner institutions and take feasible proposals forward through project incubation. Opting for an online system would ensure greater momentum for the agencys innovation drive, streamline the administrative effort required and ensure a steady work-flow.
The aim of the project was to create a centralized platform to enable administrators to manage all aspects of the idea life-cycle from start to finish. This includes idea collection, filtration, assessment, selection, as well as idea implementation through the monitoring of approved and launched proposals.
The system also stores all relevant information and documentation, and allows administrators to control access rights, customize dashboards and set campaign rules and criteria.
MENTOR won the assignment through public tender and began work on creating a customized version of its idea management system INNOVET. This solution was developed, implemented and tested in less than 4 months and over 3 phases.
PHASE 1 - Idea Collection
The project began in December 2016, with the initial focus on designing a portal where participants are able to register and submit ideas on programs or projects. The portal enables the agency to initiate either a public challenge for anyone to enter, or a private challenge where it can invite specific parties to submit entries. The user-friendly design also greatly facilitates communication and coordination among various participants through online chat, e-mail and newsletters.
PHASE 2 Idea Evaluation & Assessment
The next phase focused on building a framework that enables campaign administrators to perform an initial screening of ideas and work with independent subject matter experts to assess, shortlist and rank entries using a system with dynamic assessment criteria.
PHASE 3 Project Incubation & Management
This was followed by a component to allow members of the public to vote for top idea(s) from a shortlist, and enable shortlisted entrants to submit business plans where required online for final review. Following the securing of funding, approved projects can also be tracked through the system to ensure steady progress from the start.
With a deep understanding of the clients requirements, a fully customized solution that perfectly matched their needs, and an intuitive and flexible design that smoothly automated the entire idea management process, MENTOR was able to quickly deliver a mechanism that would support long-term innovation and promote interest in the local space sector.
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