Keeping Tabs on Worthwhile Ideas

Michele Warg
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As an administrator, you probably think up or come across many new ideas that could benefit your company. However, creating ideas is the easy part. Implementing and keeping track of those bits of inspiration can be challenging, even for someone who is highly organized. Here are a few tips for following the lifecycles of ideas from inspiration to fruition.

Keep an idea file. If you're like many people, you probably generate new ideas on a daily basis. Unfortunately, those ideas are easy to forget if you don't put them in concrete form. The simplest method for saving your thoughts is to create an idea file. This can be anything from a simple notebook to a computer program like Microsoft OneNote. Log your ideas as soon as you have them, and be sure to leave plenty of space for details.

Follow up with interested parties. Each time you share new ideas with other people, log it in your notebook, especially if people express an interest in implementing them. The purpose of doing this is so you can follow up to see if these people went through with their plans. If you really believe in an idea and the person has not moved forward with it, you can encourage them to do so or take the idea to another administrator.

Get status updates. Encourage those who are working on executing your new ideas to provide you with regular updates on their progress. Try to make it easy for them to do this. If phone calls are too much of a hassle, they can email you with details. Even better, use online note-taking or task-management applications where others can log updates right on the idea page.

Update your idea file with results. When new ideas are implemented, it's a good idea to note the project's outcome. For example, if you're tracking an idea for saving the company money, report on whether or not it worked and why. The benefits of this are twofold. It gives you an opportunity to evaluate why the idea worked or failed and what may need to be done differently to achieve better results. Tracking the results of the ideas can also provide leverage for getting other ideas implemented. Your boss may be more willing to listen to your pitch if you can show how similar ideas helped the company.

As noted previously, creating ideas is easy. Taking action on new ideas and seeing them to fruition is a little harder. With the right tools, however, you can keep tabs on worthwhile ideas, encourage others to follow through, and maintain a record of the positive impact you and your coworkers have had on the company.


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