This chapter lays out the characteristics of a good idea system. Without some kind of systematic approach, it would be impossible, even with the best of intentions, to deal with large numbers of ideas. What we mean by an “idea system” is a set of procedures—whether for a small group or an entire organization—that ensures that employee ideas are handled smoothly and fairly.

In our experience, many managers believe that structure and formality hamper the free flow of ideas. When they are shown the data from high-performing idea systems, a typical reaction goes something like this:

The only difference between these companies and mine is that they have a formal process for tracking ideas, and we don’t. ...

Get Ideas Are Free now with the O’Reilly learning platform.

O’Reilly members experience live online training, plus books, videos, and digital content from nearly 200 publishers.