Best Practices of Idea Management in Tesla

Introduction

Within the work, environment ideas surface frequently, yet they are rarely realized (Aagaard 2013; Alexe, Alexe & Militaru 2014). Sometimes it happens due to the lack of will, technical or organizational capabilities. On other occasions, innovations are impractical to the degree that they resemble a utopian wish. Ideas that can enhance the productivity of a certain process within the organization need to be closely studied and processed. In order to distinguish quality ideas and implement them the company has to have an organizational capacity to manage them (Krenz et al. 2014). Tesla is a large company that sells innovative and sustainable solutions for businesses and private car owners. In such a company, ideas mean a great deal for development and prosperity. Therefore, it is the purpose of the essay to overview the possibilities for idea management.

Basic Principles of Idea Management

The idea is often something that emerges as an unstructured fragment, an incomplete innovation (Abu El-Ellaet al. 2013). It can possibly improve the process. However, thorough consideration is required before suggestions can become practices. Management is a mandatory process in handling ideas as most of the ideas lack practicality or require a considerable amount of resources to implement. This is why proper management is in order. Organization and systematization allow structuring that assists understanding and encourages the originators to express themselves in a concise but understandable and detailed manner.

Each idea can potentially be a valuable addition to an organization, and each should be reviewed by a corresponding authority. The authority is competent enough to assess the positive or negative impact of implementing an idea. Such a body should be knowledgeable of corporate structure, operations, financial capabilities, and other related information or be able to have it at one’s disposal quickly. Depending on the management system, the number of ideas for the process may be different. Certain companies such as Google house thousands of talented and creative people who are motivated to shape a better working environment for themselves and their colleagues. They generate many ideas almost daily, and this flow is managed through organizational instruments (Bukowitz 2013). It is equally important not to over-bureaucratize the process of handing suggestions because otherwise, the flow will quickly end.

An idea produces an immense motivational effect on its creator as he or she believes that the invention will be absolutely positive and bring equal joy and comfort to certain people in the company, relieving them of a certain portion of the daily routine. People often seek ways to avoid repeated actions as they generate boredom, fatigue, lack of motivation, etc. Ideas emerge when a person understands the basic principles of a certain process or completely understands the nature of it (Westerski, Dalamagas & Iglesias 2013). By the maturity of an idea, a manager could measure the level of a worker’s understanding of his or her objectives and tasks. Therefore, gathering and analyzing ideas of the staff is not only helpful in terms of benefit but also allows evaluating the workers as per their professionalism.

Another vital aspect of idea management is the notion that ideas let an employee feel involved. If a person proposes an enhancement, it can be ascertained that he or she is connected to the company and is determined to continue contributing to its success. The company should, therefore, value such employees and show them their gratitude for their involvement. As such, it should not encourage workers to abandon their innovative thinking but investigate every idea in order to demonstrate the value of each employee’s impact (Drews, Morisse & Zimmermann 2013). Feedback is also of the essence. Each idea should have the manager’s comments in order for an originator to see that his opinion and zeal are addressed or at least noticed.

It is worth mentioning that an idea is often viewed positively by the inventor, which is why a manager needs to be critical to identify its real potential. In addition, it could be helpful to encourage employees to assess their suggestions’ pluses and minuses themselves before addressing the management with it (Mikelsone & Liela 2015; Bergendahl & Magnusson 2014). Proposals often contain a narrow view of the problem that occurs in a certain employee’s work environment, and managers should be knowledgeable of this issue and formulate an appropriate response. It does not necessarily need to address the issue in a way that the originator suggested, but if the idea is worth implementing, the responsible manager needs to look into it.

Generally, optimization ideas rise above the routine, which is not always possible in the supervisors’ line of work (Razavi & Attarnezhad 2013). Careful consideration of different ideas is vital for the process of structural evolution of a company. A bottom-up look is always of significance, and the implementation of ideas needs to combine forces of both workers and managers.

Systems of Idea Management

The earliest and the most basic system of idea management in business is the suggestion box (Mamoudou 2014). Employees willing to express an idea or reach the managers with a suggestion, document their thoughts on a piece of paper and drop it into a box, that is regularly emptied and revised by the responsible staff. The quality of such ideas is usually small, as a disorganized structure of delivery does not allow assessing them properly. In addition, such a system does not guarantee a timely and consistent response.

With the emergence of the Internet, web-based forms for ideas were created. They aggregated ideas into a database ensuring convenient processing (Sadriev & Pratchenko 2014). Yet the same problems as in the previous persisted with web forms. Timely feedback was not guaranteed. Later, platforms for brainstorming, meetings, and automation of collection and analysis were introduced (Mamoudou 2014). Such systems ensured prompt response and continuous involvement of all sides yet were complicated and often time-consuming.

Integral programs for idea management represent a hybrid system that combines assistance in idea generation and implementation (Convertino, Sándor & Baez 2013). These systems include higher-level automation of all management processes including feedback. Such systems are recommended for large ventures with considerable budgets, as they might be rather costly for acquisition and maintenance.

Japanese idea management system includes a range of practices that integrate a range of practices and software solutions to organize a process of ide handling (Sadriev & Pratchenko 2014). Each idea needs to be structured and detailed in order to be viewed by upper management. Employees are assisted by teams of continuous development that help staff develops and provide a rationale for their idea. In addition, the company exercises the policy of ‘open doors’ that encourages the multidisciplinary approach to idea management. The incubator of ideas is organized for an all-level discussion of idea viability (Bank & Raza 2014). Provided the idea is supported by most participants of the discussion, the action group is developed and an implementation stage begins. Monitoring is exercised by upper management and reports about the implementation are generated by managers of the lower branches, depending on the level of reform.

This approach to idea management unites automation and transparency with multiple organization levels involved in each idea processing (Marilungo et al. 2016). The guided nature of the application process certainly benefits the quality of delivery. The drawback is the high cost of integrating such a system into an existing business and the complexity of use for newcomers.

Recommendations

Tesla Inc. as a large company that works with innovations needs to establish a proper idea management system. The large size and capital volumes indicate that the company is capable of establishing a quality solution. Since most of the technical and procedural ideas are developed in the research and development department, it could be hypothesized that the idea management center could also be based there. The idea management center would be established in accordance with the Japanese model, as it seems to be the most effective solution that combines guided application and implementation with a great deal of automation. Such a system also complies with the spirit of the company that develops integrative, automotive, and smart technologies.

The center should include several processing teams that address the incoming ideas and assist the R&D with their implementation. The teams need to be divided in accordance with areas, in which new ideas emerge. As such, Tesla would need a team handling management and organization-related ideas, technology-related ideas, and other non-categorized ideas. The teams need to be qualified in their field in order to work with idea management software. They should be competent and knowledgeable in their sphere to process ideas and assist their originators to lead them into implementation (Perez, Larrinaga & Curry 2013). Prior to the implementation of the idea management system, each employee in Tesla needs to be trained on how to use it. This step is critical, as not every employee might be familiar with such systems. In addition, the company managers should encourage workers to contribute their suggestions as in many ways indicate that each contribution is valuable and will be processed and answered in a timely and comprehensive manner.

The main goal of the system for Tesla Inc. is maintaining the constant and sizable flow of quality ideas in the sphere of organization and technology. Recently, the company experienced certain difficulties with the organization of Tesla Model 3 production due to the optimization of the battery assembly line. Resolution of this problem and others similar to it requires an influx of fresh and bright ideas, which the idea management system can address. The separation of the flow of ideas is an evidence-based practice supported by many researchers in the sphere.

Each idea needs to comply with certain content requirements and fit the form of delivery (Elerud-Tryde & Hooge 2014). As such, depending on the complexity of the idea, an applicant needs to describe it using headings as they simplify the structure of the message. In addition, the originator needs to include the pros and cons of the proposition and detailed thoughts on implementation. It could also include an estimated cost of the implementation, but costly projects tend to be often rejected by management. What managers need to ascertain first is the usefulness and applicability, while cost can be discussed during the meetings and implementation brainstorms.

Evaluation criteria for the idea viability also need to be established (Şimşit, Vayvay & Öztürk 2014). It is paramount to have them because they also simplify the processing of ideas. In addition, it allows finding strong and weak sides of each one. It increases the consistency of evaluation and ensures each idea is assessed in a proper and equal manner.

Implementation of the ideation system itself should follow the process of idea management (Muller et al. 2013). The implementation should begin with drafting the plan and discussing it with the executive body, and, minding the hierarchical structure of governance in Tesla, with the CEO, the board of directors, and key stakeholders. As it was already mentioned, all employees need to be made aware of the new system and know how to use it (Schubert & Glitsch 2015). After that, teams need to be formed to review the applications and monitor the performance of the response-gathering and analysis software. As soon as evaluation criteria are established and all preparations are made, the system may be commenced in a pilot mode.

Conclusion

All in all, idea management is a critical process that assists the development of the company especially a large and innovation-driven such as Tesla Inc. Among all systems, a Japanese model seems to fit in best as it allows guides the application of ideas and their implementation through a team approach and employee involvement. Systematic implementation and elaboration of assessment criteria are advised to ensure the best outcomes.

Reference List

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Muller, M, Geyer, W, Soule, T, Daniels, S & Cheng, LT 2013, ‘Crowdfunding inside the enterprise: employee-initiatives for innovation and collaboration’, Proceedings of the SIGCHI conference on human factors in computing systems, Montreal, ACM Press, pp. 503-512.

Perez, A, Larrinaga, F & Curry, E 2013, ‘The role of linked data and semantic-technologies for sustainability idea management’, Software Engineering and Formal Methods, Springer, Cham, pp. 306–312.

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Şimşit, ZT, Vayvay, Ö & Öztürk, Ö 2014, ‘An outline of innovation management process: building a framework for managers to implement innovation’, Procedia – Social and Behavioral Sciences, vol. 150, pp. 690–699.

Westerski, A, Dalamagas, T & Iglesias, CA 2013, ‘Classifying and comparing community innovation in Idea Management Systems’, Decision Support Systems, vol. 54, no. 3, pp. 1316–1326.

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