Managing Rejected Ideas from Projects— A Way to Avoid Idea Cemeteries

By Christian, June 25, 2014

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An often neglected topic in idea management research is the continuity and stability of current idea management practices. This study addresses this topic by following a hand-over of ideas from a project to the line organization in a company. Moreover, idea portfolios are proposed and empirically explored as a means of managing and further developing these ideas. This particular idea-capturing scheme is believed to incorporate both codification and personalization approaches in the management of ideas. Twenty-one (21) semi-structured interviews, as well as observations, were conducted during a year, both before and during the implementation of idea portfolios at the company. Results from the study show the importance of considering the recipient of a codification effort in order for codification to become a constructive element rather than a barrier. Another finding is that different stages of maturity and levels of activity should be handled when managing ideas. Therefore, an idea portfolio is something of a hybrid between an idea bank and a register of on-going activities. Managing ideas in a transparent way was also shown to have its pros and cons. Increased transparency can both provide enhanced legitimacy for working with an idea, and increase the accountability of an idea, and can therefore be perceived as an obstacle. Finally, the shared responsibility of an idea that is the consequence of working with an idea portfolio can make the line manager something of an “accomplice”. This in turn helps in propelling the development of the idea forward.


Idea management, idea portfolio, product development project, personalization, codification


Karlsson, A., Törlind, P. & Johansson, C. (2014). Managing Rejected Ideas from Projects— A Way to Avoid Idea Cemeteries. Proceedings of International Product Development Management Conference. Limerick, Ireland: EIASM.

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