The employee idea journey is a multi-level process that involves four stages of generation, elaboration, championing, adoption and three management levels. The process of securing resources for bottom-up ideas, winning the favor of managers at all levels, and eventually being recognized by the organization and gaining legitimacy seats, is still not fully explained. We explain the key elements and relationship mechanism of the process from idea generation to idea adoption. Based on the existing theories and models, we construct an integrated analysis framework for idea journey which combines three decision-making levels and four phases into a matrix of 3×4. From the point of view of key decision-makers, key behaviors and interaction in each stage, we hold that: （1） In the idea generation stage, creative projects are evaluated and made by front-line managers. Employees associate ideas with the current technical and market needs of the organization, which can improve the perception and recognition of creative idea feasibility and market potential by front-line managers. （2） In the idea elaboration phase, middle managers weigh and consider existing projects and new businesses to make decisions on resource allocation and project screening. New creative projects are more easily recognized if they choose the recognized resources in the organization. （3） In the idea championing phase, top management needs to consider the balance between the development of new creative projects in various departments and the overall strategy of the company. They achieve optimal decision-making by coordinating strategies, collaborative decision-making and cross-departmental collaboration. At this point, if new creative projects can tap and use the potential value of existing resources, it is easier to achieve synergy and recognition. （4） In the idea adoption stage, employees’ creative idea has been successfully adopted by top managers to obtain legitimacy seats. In order to promote idea adoption, top managers actively achieve the integration of project objectives and organizational goals. After years of development, a few creative idea projects will even become the main business direction of the company, which can adjust and even change the original strategic direction. From the perspective of the law of evolution across stages, we find that: （1） While considering whether to adopt ideas, the attitudes and criteria of managers at different levels are different, so employees need to use differentiated influence strategies to improve the possibility of idea adoption. （2） Idea elaboration and idea championing are important stages in promoting idea development, and in-depth study of these two stages provides an important reference and practical basis for solving the problem of how to improve the rate of idea adoption. （3） The idea journey of employees presents an evolution law of conflict, game, balance and fusion in continuous collision and negotiation. Our research provides a detailed theoretical explanation for solving the following problems: Why do managers desire but reject creative idea? After producing a lot of ideas, only a few can become organizational innovation. Why is the creative conversion rate so low? And what is the relationship and law of change between top-down and bottom-up innovation in the idea journey?
Idea from Generation to Adoption: An Analysis Framework for Employee Idea Journey
Foreign Economics & Management Vol. 43, Issue 04, pp. 123 - 135 (2021) DOI:10.16538/j.cnki.fem.20201029.401
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Cite this article
Zhu Guilong, Wen Minrong, Wang Xiaoxiao. Idea from Generation to Adoption: An Analysis Framework for Employee Idea Journey[J]. Foreign Economics & Management, 2021, 43(4): 123-135.