Choosing the Right Platform

How far would we have come without good ideas? Forget missions to the moon, the internet and the evolution of mobile technology; your business is much the same, without ideas, progress stops.

However having good ideas is not enough, it is the facilitation of good ideas with the right people at the right time that brings true success to progress. This is the journey we take to explore how we facilitate a place good ideas will make a difference within your organisation and it doesn’t need to be all bells and whistles.

The choices are fairly simple when it comes to idea programme platforms, you can select from the main four options:

  • Suggestion box – paper based
  • Online form + email
  • Online form + database
  • Social community

However picking the right one can make all the difference to the success of your scheme, so let us explore what each platform is and the high level benefits and limitations of each.

Paper Based
A suggestion box held within an office where employees/customers can complete a standard form and submit using the box. Ideas are collected and assessed by the ideas team or set of evaluators.
Benefit Limitation
A highly visual & physical space within the business to submit ideas Only accessible to staff based in the office
Easy submission process for office-based employees Increased admin required to capture and process ideas
Physical record of each idea Higher result of repeat ideas as limited visibility
Online Form + E-mail
An online form held on the internet/intranet where employees/customers can log on 24/7 to share their idea and have this sent directly to a dedicated ideas email account.
Benefit Limitation
Accessible for any employee/customer with computer access High volume of emails to keep suggestors and evaluators connected and updated
Easy to document the idea within an online form. High level of admin to capture all the details you need to pursue the idea and follow-up
Online Form + database
An online form connected to a database which allows suggestors to view other ideas, check the progress of their own idea and hold all the details in one location.
Benefit Limitation
Increased exposure to ideas being looked at in the business Suggestors are unable to add their thoughts to other individuals ideas
Ability to track ideas with ease Repeat ideas are reduced
Ensures all information is contained and updated in one system Can be expensive to build/buy and implement an effective solution
Social Community
An open forum for suggestors to share ideas, add comments and vote on their favourite
Benefit Limitation
Ideas can be shaped into a tangible business case Highly voted ideas can be dismissed by the business leading to dismay from the online community
Suggestors, evaluators and senior managers can build connections in an innovative and open environment Additional checks are required to ensure the right behaviours are being demonstrated
Option to open the platform to the wider community including customers and suppliers Can be expensive to build/buy and implement an effective solution.


However, it is not a one size fits all so here are a few simple questions you can ask which might help determine a good fit:

  • What budget do you have?
  • How can you integrate the software with existing corporate IT systems?
  • How do you expect employees/customers to access the site – computer / mobile app?
  • What analytics should be built into the platform for easy tracking and analysis?
  • Do you want to allow employees/customers to discuss and shape each idea?
  • How will you communicate the progress of ideas and to what timelines?

Just remember having the most advanced platform will not improve the quantity or quality of ideas by itself. The platform is a tool to capture and process ideas and still needs effective marketing, communications and project management.  However having an effective platform can provide a forum to shape ideas into tangible benefits, reduces admin burden, increases visibility of ideas and evaluations and in these days of social media, can prove essential.