Since whiteboards were first introduced to offices in the 1990s, they have become an essential tool for every organisation — how they are being used, however, can have a huge impact on the success of your company.
One of the most beneficial ways is as an idea whiteboard, ideally in conjunction with brainstorming exercises.
Idea whiteboard systems come with a host of benefits like being the start to building your idea management system, but to reap these benefits is only possible if the following three key building blocks are in place: whiteboards, support from management, and governance. They are best used for a small team of up to 12 people.
Whiteboards have proven to significantly improve idea generation, serving three important purposes:
We use whiteboards to formulate and track the progression of ideas, sketch out concepts, identify blocks, and more.
Here is one example of what a progressive whiteboard should look like:
A whiteboard similar to the one above is essential when it comes to goal setting and achievement. By having this information prominently displayed at all times, teams and individual team members are continually reminded of their goals and feel more accountable and more compelled to find a way to reach them (i.e. try new avenues to complete a task, seek the assistance of resourceful staff, etc.).
Idea systems that are backed by a supportive leadership team are far more likely to succeed than those that are not. For this idea system to work, management needs to be on board for the project, or better yet, be completely involved (i.e. management should have their own whiteboards where they can align team ideas to priorities). Having idea whiteboards publicly displayed also expedites the approval process from other teams and managers.
Team leaders can take a number of steps to help maintain a stream of high-quality ideas, increase the rate of implementation, and ultimately meet performance goals:
Idea whiteboards are a useful tool for any organisation in any industry, but will only work if everyone has the right attitude, and that particular building block starts with you. Never forget that you are a part of the team. You share in their struggles just as you share in their successes. The idea generation process should not be something you simply hand off to your team. Get actively involved by engaging with team members and employees, encouraging brainstorming, and ensuring that ideas are being implemented.
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