Tag Archives: IdeaScale

The Top 5 New Features!

2842301423_26c606dc56_oIdeaScale prides itself on being a flexible and unique tool that helps numerous companies meet their innovation goals (however disparate the programs might be – from new product development to sustainability planning). To that end, we’ve continued to grow our platform in tandem with the latest innovation practices and needs across all industries.

This means that our product has benefited from numerous enhancements over the course of the past year, but it might also mean that maybe you haven’t been able to see the full end-to-end magic that makes business decision making even easier.

Which is why IdeaScale is an offering a review of things that you might have missed – the highlights of our year (so to speak) in our complimentary webinar: It’s Raining Features! A Tour of IdeaScale’s Latest Functionality.

Here’s a list of our top five features from 2013 that we’ll be showcasing in the webinar (but this is just the beginning – don’t worry – we’ll cover more):

Custom Workflow:
Want to make the idea lifecycle more lightweight? If you use custom workflow, you can automatically begin routing promising or popular ideas to the next stage.

Assessment Tool:
IdeaScale believes that the innovation market is moving towards involving the crowd at every phase of the lifecycle so that good ideas are verified and refined. The assessment tool makes this possible.

Pairwise Comparison:
A great gut check tool or way to simplify the prioritization process. If you haven’t used the pairwise comparison tool yet, you might want the chance to see it in action.

Pre-Defined Tags:
Everyone’s always looking for new lightweight methods of guiding the conversation. Pre-defining tags allows users to distill conversation within the appropriate categories easily using the same language.

Idea Ownership:
Building teams and making people accountable for new ideas is the best way to see those ideas through to completion. Idea ownership can be a singular or collaborative effort. Learn how in our webinar.

What new features would you like to hear about? Tell us and register for the webinar today.

It’s Raining Features! A Tour of IdeaScale’s Latest Functionality

3776946155_e812869823_oFor those of you that want to ensure success for 2014’s innovation programs, IdeaScale is offering a complimentary webinar review of all IdeaScale new features on Wednesday, March 19th at 10am PDT.

Hosted by IdeaScale and featuring Audrey Zuro, Director of New Business, this conversation will include a tour of IdeaScale new features and their benefits. This includes custom workflow, pairwise comparison, challenge-modeled innovation and more.

The benefits of such programs can include
• increased engagement
• higher quality submissions
• innovation program efficiencies
• and much more.

In addition, Zuro will briefly discuss previews of other features that are in the works for the rest of 2014.

Join us and register for this complimentary webinar today.

3 Questions to Form a Blueprint for Open Innovation

3770015203_e148607973_oThere are many different kinds of innovation programs. Open innovation is based on the principles elucidated by Henry Chesbrough; the concept of open innovation postulates that there are no barriers to collaboration, communication, innovation, or ideation. The success of these programs often depend on knowing each program and its goals in advance. To understand what kind of innovation programs might be best fitted to a particular company, some of those questions include:

1. What are the key goals of the program? Obviously, the process of innovation can impact many bottom lines. Is a company most interested in generating new revenue and cost savings, or is it interested in discovering program efficiencies, or working to develop new products and offerings. The list of things that a company can innovate on seems to be endless.

2. Who are the key players in the innovation program? Is everyone down to the janitor included or is there a special, dedicated innovation group within the company? Sometimes even special short-term committees are developed on an ad hoc basis. Deciding how much a company is willing to invest helps companies find the line between short term and ongoing innovation.

3. Should the crowd be invited to contribute to open innovation or should the contributing voices be limited to a small group of participants? Defining what group is being invited to contribute helps broaden the possible participation in any given engagement. Asking an audience with relevant knowledge or rolling the dice and asking as broad a group as possible – both can have valuable rewards.

These questions, of course, only lay the groundwork. They generate further questions that need more particular and personal answers. Questions like:

-What are the metrics that define program success? Is it about the number of members who contributed or number of ideas implemented? This is often related to the specific goals that have already been defined.

-How often should a company communicate with the group and in what way? Some companies communicate every day, some every two weeks. Some only encourage their moderators to comment on existing ideas, others think that the pot should be stirred by adding new ideas of their own on a regular basis.

-What is the process of moderation and implementation? Obviously innovation only begins by collecting inspiration from the crowd, from there it is crucial to begin making good on those changes. This requires a whole range of skills: communications, marketing, project management, prototyping , and much, much more.

If you’d like to know more about open innovation and the best practices that develop around a successful innovation program, feel free to join guests Chip Gliedman from Forrester Research and the Yale Innovation Team as they discuss what programs and processes have worked in various contexts in tomorrow’s complimentary webinar. Register today.

The Value of Open Innovation in the Workplace

4986000566_5b2a19eeb2_oLast month three federal agencies were recognized as one of the best places to work in government. Among the agencies, NASA, the Patent and Trademark Office and the Federal Communication Commission were recognized for achievement in management, employee engagement, and training.

Each of them were interviewed about how they achieved this status and although all of them are IdeaScale customers, it was the PTO that noted the premium that is placed on employee input. The statement from Focarino acknowledged “I think we will continue with our very heavy focus of getting employee input, whether it’s through Ideascale and letting employees vote to prioritize things they want management to explore and look into, or having more town halls and keeping an analysis of the Employee Viewpoint Survey data going. And we will continue to look for areas we need to improve.”

What is unsurprising about this statement is that employee engagement has a proven value in increasing both employee satisfaction, as well as improving the bottom line. One government researcher noted that implementing IdeaScale increases customer satisfaction – the same is true of employee satisfaction. Numerous clients have noted this effect in their workplaces, as well.

The questions remains: why? Well, there are numerous reasons, but here are three:

1. People feel more satisfied when they feel heard. An employee engagement program allows the employees to feel as though they are playing a real role. Even when their thoughts aren’t implemented, employees feel considered and therefore as though they are playing a larger role within the company.
2. Increase the likelihood for workplace incentives and recognition. Most open innovation programs at least allow for professional recognition, if not out and out rewards of varying degrees. Offering new avenues for reward often increases satisfaction.
3. Progress Leads to Excitement. As much as people are shy of change, they are also excited by a lively, active workplace that is capable of growth. Showing that a company is committed to change shows that there is a possible future.

Why do you think employee satisfaction increases with open innovation? What programs have you seen in your workplace?

External Collaboration: Going “Too Far” as a Business Model

tseliotThe following is a guest post by Estel Maskagna. Estel is a freelance and creative writer whose work has been featured on PreScouter. She writes on subjects covering innovation, green tech, and environmental topics. She is passionate about self-learning and intellectual exploration.

Integrating customers and lead users in a company’s innovation process is a revolutionary trend that has been picked up by many companies in recent years. Famous examples include personal financial software company Intuit and the custom-designed t-shirt eCommerce company Threadless. Both companies ask their customers for input regarding their innovation and product development. Radical as that may be, some companies venture even further in the quest for valuable information. Not only do they take the innovation process beyond the company lab and to customers, they even collaborate with partners outside their direct market. Is external collaboration in the interest of innovation actually innovating too far?

‘Too far’ means going beyond ordinary collaboration schemes such as interdepartmental partnerships and customer/supplier integration. It means extensive networking involving all kinds of groups in society that are normally out of range of usual business operations. A paint company would normally have homeowners, builders, and designers as its primary customers. But the city anti-air pollution task force would not be on its list of leading prospective partners. However, partnering with the city officials might lead the company to develop a special brand of paint which absorbs specific toxins from motor vehicle emissions and neutralizes them, thereby contributing to the city’s anti-air pollution efforts. Such a scenario highlights the potential of unlikely external collaboration in innovation.

In a recent article featured in the PreScouter Journal, Kande Kazadi uses the real life example of DHL Solutions and Innovations to point out the advantages of external collaboration and secondary stakeholder sensing. In order to develop their current concept for urban logistics, DHL reached out past its typical primary stakeholders (customers and suppliers) and towards secondary stakeholders far removed from the company’s direct market.

“DHL invites academics, politicians, citizens, and public authorities to help to tackle the challenge of decreasing urban traffic and embrace a greener economy. With the right capabilities in place, firms can become a nexus of value creation with multiple types of stakeholders actively co-creating new products and services with the firm.”

If the DHL innovation collaboration makes sense, why doesn’t every company do it? In reality, there are some possible risks external collaboration presents to companies. Relevance is one cause for concern. It is difficult enough to keep track of a customer base’s mercurial moods. Companies employ an army of strategies to stay updated and if possible one step ahead of customers’ demands. Firms pour money on survey campaigns, customer feedback, and eCommerce site metrics tracking among others. Shifting attention and resources for external collaboration might distort a firm’s market sensing strategy and relevance to its target audience. Primary stakeholders might present a straightforward demand to a company, but its secondary stakeholders might signal a need for a different course of action.

Another risk is the very real possibility of getting zero leads or results for a company’s pains. An open innovation platform might receive a thousand ideas, a hundred of which is borderline plausible. Out of these, a company might seriously consider ten, test six or seven… and get one major idea that eventually meets with mixed reviews. While big firms like DHL can handle such scenarios, many companies might not be willing to gamble so much time and resources to innovate that far.

Yet in spite of such concerns, external collaboration continues to attract companies hungry for information regarding the interests of a wide range of stakeholders. One argument is that one company’s seemingly invaluable piece of information might present a breakthrough opportunity for another. To facilitate this, researchers recommend exchange programs between the firm and their external collaborators for effective transfer of knowledge. By stepping into another’s shoes, a firm gains intimate knowledge of the inner workings of their collaborator through firsthand experience.

Then there is the chance of establishing a beneficial, perhaps even profitable, connection. A telephony and communications conglomerate may find it has use for a solar powered charging station a solar power startup is developing. A food packaging company may suddenly see an entomologist’s life work as the solution to its expensive printing problem. Connections like these have been made and it is to actively seek these connections that firms choose to innovate ‘too far’ and collaborate with external stakeholders.

To innovate too far in the context of external collaboration is to draw on the vast resources of a diverse community of minds. Just as intentionally-designed innovation spaces mixes the mailman with the CEO to allow for the opportunity of a random encounter (and hopefully innovation), external collaboration offers an opportunity for meaningful connections across the span of society.

IdeaScale is Glad to Host Chip Gliedman

Chip-Gliedman-PRIn IdeaScale’s upcoming webinar “Managing for Success: Best Practices in Open Innovation In Conversation with guests Forrester and Yale,” IdeaScale is pleased to host experts from both Forrester Research and Yale University. We’d love to introduce our readers to Chip Gliedman, an innovation expert from Forrester Research.

Chip Gliedman is VP, Principal Analyst Serving CIOs from Forrester Research. His research focuses on IT investment strategies, justifying technology investments, IT portfolio management, business technology (BT) alignment, and IT satisfaction. Chip developed the Total Economic Impact™ (TEI) model and program to help clients quantify and communicate the financial value of technology investments and strategies.

Chip has 25 years of experience in the IT industry. He came to Forrester through its acquisition of Giga Information Group. Prior to joining Giga, he was director of business development for Passport Designs, where he managed both the customer service center and the direct sales organizations. In 1992, he implemented a program where technical support agents would be rewarded if their interactions led to the sale of an upgrade or additional product. Chip also held senior positions at Ingres, where he was group manager of desktop and Unix platform marketing, as well as Ingres’ representative to the X/Open ISV council.

Chip has delivered presentations and workshops worldwide to audiences ranging from four to 400. His work on calculating and communicating the value of IT and IT projects was the subject of a cover story in PC Week and has been featured inBusinessWeek, CIO Magazine (US and Canada), InformationWeek (US and Germany), and numerous other business and trade publications. He has also appeared as a panelist on Silicon Spin with John Dvorak on ZDTV.

Chip earned a B.A. in anthropology from Hamilton College.

To learn more about Chip and his work, visit forrester.com/Chip-Gliedman.

You can also register for IdeaScale’s webinar today to learn how to scope your own innovation program in light of Chip’s research.

Innovation Spotlight: State of Minnesota

mn-winners-230x297In case you hadn’t heard, IdeaScale recently announced the winners of its open innovation awards contest. Our panel of judges selected five winners from an array of submissions that outlined great IdeaScale business practices and now we’ve had the chance to ask a few of our winners their thoughts on best practices. This interview features responses from James Kauth, Director of Innovation at the State of Minnesota:

IdeaScale: How long have you been utilizing IdeaScale?
Minnesota: We launched our first campaign in early June 2012.

IS: Why did you start utilizing innovation software?
MN: Our State CIO Carolyn Parnell’s vision is to leverage the cost savings through efficiencies from the State of Minnesota multi-year, enterprise-wide IT Consolidation effort to focus energy on effectiveness of government by launching an Innovation Program. This has the dual benefit during the consolidation of identifying new skills, roles and projects that align with new and presently unknown business verticals.

IS: Is this a practice you can see being valuable to other state organizations? Why?
MN: Definitely. E-democracy models call for interactive government, what better way than an online forum to directly share ideas and opportunities to engage in delivering tangible results that matter to constituencies. The McKinsey Global Institute released a report in October Open data: Unlocking innovation and performance with liquid information that details a $3-$5 trillion opportunity that exists in government data systems. Demand for government-business and government-citizen interaction is on the rise and with this incredible potential will establish innovation as a political priority.

IS: Why do you think your engagement strategy is so successful?
MN: #1 is the organization’s willingness and curiosity to engage. Without them, there would have been no further steps to pursue. There was a big risk of cultural collapse if the strategy wasn’t successful, which was a powerful motivator for the next sentence. #2 is hard work and research. Working with people and organizations that helped us leverage their experiences and avoid pitfalls from the past.

IS: What are you most proud of in your innovation program?
MN: The governor’s office learned of our event, and within an hour, determined to adjust their strategy to leverage our experience and tools to publicly launch The Unsession –State government’s first open ideation event for Minnesotans.

To learn more about State of Minnesota’s innovation program, visit IdeaScale’s resource page.

IdeaScale’s Top 10 2013 Features

IdeaScale has had a busy and productive 2013 and we couldn’t be more excited about all that’s to come in 2014, but even as we charge forward into the future, it’s nice to take a look back and see all that we’ve accomplished. 6623488319_73b096724d_o

To that end, we’ve chatted amongst ourselves and we’ve narrowed the massive list of 2013 new feature highlights down to our favorite top 10 that have been introduced in the past year. And we’re also glad to tell you why.

1. Idea Ownership. IdeaScale has always wanted to empower change and innovation at every level of an organization: from full-scale enterprises down to the individual. Adding idea ownership gives workflow managers the ability to assign stewardship of an idea to a particular owner or champion. One of our Open Innovation Award winners uses this very feature as part of their winning moderation strategy.
2. Pre-Defined Tags. Since we’ve introduced this new feature, we’ve had several community administrators say that it truly helps them to organize the conversation. Loading up pre-defined tags helps people hone their idea generation.
3. Campaign Custom Fields. This particular feature has helped departments specify what sort of information is required in a submission – whether it’s a cost-savings estimate or a link to a YouTube video – that information can now be requested on a per-campaign basis.
4. Idea Recommendation. This is the type of feature that keeps members coming back for more. Now every idea page also shows similar ideas for members to vote and comment on.
5. Team-Based Idea Submission. In a tool that’s all about collaboration, we think this feature particularly suits our values. Everyone should be able to collaborate and be recognized for their work in generating and then stewarding an idea. IdeaScale now allows you to build teams around inspiration.
6. Pairwise Comparison. Now we’re getting into some of the features that have really built out the IdeaScale tool when it comes to moving ideas further down the innovation funnel. Having this additional tool to evaluate ideas allows the next phase of implementation to be informed with even more data.
7. Custom Workflow. For many of our subscribers, time on IdeaScale is in addition to time in their daily work life – so anything that makes moderation and evaluation easier is highly valuable. That’s why we built custom workflows. And now, once an idea reaches an assigned comment or vote threshold, it is automatically routed to the next person, stage, or phase in a plan.
8. Innovation Widget. This feature is the tiny package that packs a big punch. The whole IdeaScale experience in a tiny web-embeddable widget means that feedback and innovation can begin anywhere and everywhere. And we are all about casting the net wide.
9. Assessment Tool. Our assessment tool is one of the most flexible, review-oriented tools that we have. No matter what the goal is (cost-savings, efficiency, product development, and more), this feature helps our clients organize and prioritize what is next for some of their best ideas.
10. Enhanced Challenge Offering. Perhaps most exciting is our new challenge format that allows companies to set a competition for their subscribers, employees, or the general public, and then evaluate responses in an open or closed setting and award money or other prizes. Some of our favorites? The Department of Energy’s American Energy Data Challenge or Ushahidi’s Making All Voices Count. What challenge will you launch next?

Of course, this is all in addition to numerous other changes and improvements, including enhanced badges, new data visualization tools, and so much more. If you want to learn more about these (or any other IdeaScale features), be sure to contact us.

Stay tuned for more in 2014!

Join the IdeaScale Best Practices Conversation

4171232930_ab9c6ec1f9_oIdeaScale prides itself on being a flexible and unique tool that helps numerous companies meet their innovation goals (however disparate the programs might be). However, because our technology is flexible and applicable in multiple formats, it is hard to issue a definitive set of best practices to our clients as the success of each community is highly dependent on community goals, processes, etc.

However, IdeaScale was able to compile a set of commonly-asked questions that are posed within the innovation industry and are offering a webinar at the end of January that aims to answer some of these questions. And to offer our listeners the full range of expertise, we’re inviting Chip Gliedman of Forrester Research to answer such questions at a high-level and the innovation team from Yale University to speak about how they answer such questions in practice within their own IdeaScale community.

Some of the questions that our guests will answer, include

- Is innovation best when wide open and boundless or is it more effective when it is targeted?
- Who are the key players in an innovation program?
- What is the lifecycle of an idea?
- What is a good rate of implementation?
- And many more

However, we want to offer you the opportunity to think of a few more questions to ask. Please submit all new questions before the end of the year so that we can see if it’s possible to answer them within the scope of the webinar.

And if you haven’t already, register today.

Managing for Success: Best Practices in Open Innovation – In Conversation with guests Forrester and Yale

newsflashJoin IdeaScale for a comprehensive exploration on how to best organize an open innovation community on Friday, January 24th, 2014 at 12:00 p.m. EST.

Hosted by IdeaScale and featuring Chip Gliedman of Forrester Research and Yale University’s IT Innovation Alignment Team, this conversation explores innovation best practices in a broad view, but also in practice within an IdeaScale community.  In the discussion, the speakers will address questions like:

-Is innovation best when wide open and boundless or should such programs be more targeted?
-Who are the key players in an innovation program?
-What defines successful engagement within a community?
-What are some tactics for improving ideation engagement?
-And much, much more.

An Introduction to the Speakers:

Chip Gliedman is a vice president, principal analyst at Forrester Research and serves CIOs. His research focuses on IT investment strategies, justifying technology investments, IT portfolio management, business technology (BT) alignment, and IT satisfaction. Chip developed the Total Economic Impact™ (TEI) model and program to help clients quantify and communicate the financial value of technology investments and strategies.

Yale ITs The Innovation Alignment Team is composed of Lou Rinaldi, Bryan Kazdan, and Karen Polhemus. They are collectively charged with providing leadership, technical expertise, ambassadorship, and metrics reporting in the field of Yale IT innovation. This team is focused on leading innovative programs.

Register Today!