• Long Term Success

Innovation Leadership Best Practices for Moderators

Innovation requires leadership, which Kindling recognizes as the Moderator role. The Moderator is responsible for managing the day-to-day activity of the innovation program, and directing ideas through different stages of evaluation to turn potentially useful ideas into action.

As a Kindling Moderator, you play a critical role in building and sustaining your company's innovation program. At first, this may seem daunting, but Kindling has a four-phase approach to help you streamline your process. Using this four-phase cycle—Discover, Discuss, Evaluate, and Decide—you can better understand how to use Kindling features to motivate participation, drive sustained engagement in your innovation program, and identify and act on the best ideas.

Discover

In the Discover phase, you recognize what your goals are, what challenges you face, and what outcomes you plan to achieve. You can announce these goals and challenges through the creation of Categories and Campaigns and invite others to participate. During this phase you will invite appropriate Idea submissions by providing a clear description of your Category or Campaign. You may want to include your criteria for Idea approval, any constraints you are facing, or why this Category/Campaign is important to the company.

Kindling Posts are a great way to introduce a new Category or Campaign, or to motivate activity around a specific initiative. Kindling’s Share feature lets you share a Category in order to ask specific people for their Ideas or to announce a newly launched Campaign.

Setting clear expectations in the description better defines what you plan to accomplish, and makes it easier for participants to respond with Ideas that are relevant.

Discuss

Now that your structure and context are set up, it’s time to move into the Discuss phase. This is where the conversations start happening and when people start innovating. Participants submit their Ideas with the challenges and goals in mind, and demonstrate their involvement through comments, voting, and volunteering. During this phase, your goal as Moderator is to keep the conversations going. You can do this by providing feedback through comments and by participating in the discussions to boost engagement. You can comment individually on Ideas, or use the bulk Moderate tool to comment on a group of Ideas. When commenting, take note of the Kindling Mentions feature, which is a great way to bring attention to either an individual or all participants within that Category or Campaign.

To keep the discussion flowing, you can share Ideas and Posts with participants you feel may be interested in a particular topic.

While in the Discuss phase, you‘ll want to measure participants‘ engagement levels, which also acts as a way to determine your workload as Moderator. Moderators can use the Engagement by Category/Campaign report to determine these levels by observing the number of votes, number of Idea and comment submissions, number of posts, and other such measures of engagement in activities. If engagement levels are lower than expected, you can encourage involvement by continuing to use the methods discussed above.

Include a comment when you share an Idea to add a personal touch and drive engagement.

Evaluate

Now that you have all of these Ideas, it’s time to move into the Evaluate phase. This is the phase where you will identify which Ideas have the most potential through comparison and analysis, and by engaging your experts. A large number of Ideas can be intimidating, and not knowing how to identify the best ones can seem like a challenge, but Kindling has several strategies for the purpose of narrowing down Ideas.

One effective way to narrow down Ideas is to evaluate them in stages. For example, the first stage could consist of triaging Ideas with respect to metrics such as number of votes and comments, and then using Kindling Evaluations on those Ideas to narrow them down even further. If you invested some time in stating your criteria when you created the Evaluation, it will simplify the evaluation process.

The Ranking Evaluation will allow your experts to rank Ideas based on one set of criteria, such as how likely a set of Ideas are to meet budget approval. The Scaling Evaluation will allow the Ideas to be evaluated on multiple criteria, to include items such as budget restraints, ROI, and if they align with strategic goals. Be sure to engage not only your experts, those people who have more insight into a particular area as an Idea evolves, but also your stakeholders, so that you can get buy in and participation from them as well. As experts are completing the Evaluations, you too can monitor the status of the Evaluation.

Evaluating Ideas in stages will help you better determine which Ideas are a good fit, and worth your investment of time and resources, and which Ideas are not, and can be declined .

Decide

Now that your experts and stakeholders have helped to identify which Ideas have potential, and which ones may not quite be in line with your goal or challenge, it’s time to move into the Decide phase. This phase is where you as a Moderator will begin making decisions about Ideas and turning potentially useful Ideas into action. Taking action, in addition to getting you to your goal, will also demonstrate to the participants that their Ideas are being heard. They will know that their contributions and their effort are worth your attention, and they will be encouraged to stay engaged.

The bulk Moderate tool will allow you to move a group of Ideas from one workflow state to another. If a set of Ideas has potential and needs to go to a legal or budget review team, the bulk Moderate tool is a great way to quickly get those moving. If you have determined through crowdsourcing or Evaluation that a set of Ideas cannot move forward, those can be moved to a Declined state. Remember that saying “no” is an important part of evaluating Ideas, and this process can be somewhat painless if you are transparent about your reasoning.

The Decide phase is the time to recognize contributions. Kindling Posts are a great way to recognize participants or showcase the winning idea.

Since our human nature is to crave positive feedback, giving recognition to participants for putting their Ideas out there goes a long way, and drives engagement.

Conclusion

By segmenting your Moderator duties into four phases, Discover, Discuss, Evaluate, and Decide, you can encourage innovation through a repeatable process. By understanding the four innovation phases and how Kindling features relate to them, you can be a more successful Moderator. Once you complete this four-phase cycle, begin it again to tackle the next challenge and accomplish the next goal.