Idea Storm Blog – Idea mining

Gold mining/idea mining…

It is said that innovation management is like mining for gold. I live in Johannesburg and I regularly drive past huge mountains of sand that are the legacy of gold mining in my city. In gold mining you must go through tons of rock to extract one ounce of gold.

In the same way, a successful innovation process, which is much more valuable to a company than gold, uses ideas as the rock that needs to be mined. It has been said that takes 500 ideas to get 10 to 20 outstanding ideas.

Quantity and efficiency

Continuing the mining analogy, a gold mine needs to be built where there is gold in the rock. Can we take it as given that every employee within your company has the ability to come up with an idea that can positively impact your company? Research tells us that everyone can be creative and come up with ideas – whether it’s the CEO or the Tea Lady in a company.

As mentioned in the opening paragraph, to come up with the innovations, that every company needs so badly, hundreds of ideas need to be evaluated. Two questions therefore arise:

  1. How can we get our staff, or wider ecosystem, to come up with hundreds of ideas?

  2. How can the capturing and evaluation of ideas be done as efficiently, and effectively, as possible?

For both questions an Idea Management system needs to be used.


Here are some thoughts on how to increase the number of ideas generated by employees:

  • Top management need to regularly communicate the importance and value of ideas.

  • An anonymous idea suggestion platform needs to exist, so that employees can capture any ideas without fear of ridicule.

  • Have a gamification system, and prizes, so that the top contributors of ideas can be rewarded.

  • Separate the execution of the ideas from the capturing of ideas. Overworked employees will often not submit ideas because of a fear that they will need to be involved in the execution.

  • Create a very easy process for employees to capture ideas.

  • Set specific challenges for targeted groups of employees, or divisions, to address. This will help the employees focus their minds around a specific area and will also make higher quality ideas more likely.


Once these hundreds of ideas have been collected then a process needs to be followed to make it as efficient as possible to evaluate the ideas and to find that “innovation gold”.

Again, here are some ideas to consider to make this process more efficient.

  • Make it possible for employees to comment on each other’s ideas. A good Idea Management system, like Crowdicity for example, will allow either the entire company, or divisions, to comment on captured ideas and a refining process can occur.

  • Design a phased idea evaluation process:

  • Employees can initially vote on ideas for a communicated duration, e.g., a week. This voting can be a simple thumbs-up, asked to give a rating out of ten or any other voting system you would like.

  • A second round of evaluation can occur, to a smaller evaluation committee, where the desirability, feasibility and viability of the idea can be evaluated.

Using this process, the top ideas can be selected, converted into projects and hopefully successful innovations.

There is gold in them mountains…

Innovation is more valuable than gold

Innovation is the result of good ideas

Hundreds of ideas need to be evaluated to find a handful of good ideas

Ideas come from people

Maximise the potential within your people

Hopefully this blog has got you thinking about how your company can increase the number of ideas generated, from your employees or wider community, AND how to make the evaluation of these ideas as efficient as possible.

If you would like help with either of these two areas then Idea Storm can assist and we are the value-added reseller of Crowdicity – a leading provider of Idea Management software.

Together we can do innovation mining and strike gold together!

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