Tag Archives: idea management

One Weird Thing About Customer Satisfaction

customer satisfactionHere’s one weird thing about customer satisfaction: it may be that your employees have the key to improving it. After all, employees are the people who interact with customers on a day-to-day basis, and are most aware of common concerns amongst customers, as well as improvements that will have the biggest impact. Further, employees have knowledge of the structure and resources of the organization from the inside, so they are better equipped to recommend practical changes.

Banchile Inversiones, a Chilean management company that provides one of the largest mutual funds markets and stock brokerage businesses in the country, has firsthand experience with this phenomenon of employee feedback to improve customer satisfaction. Like many other companies, they had long welcomed employee input through antiquated systems like email and evaluations, but found those systems difficult to scale up. In an effort to continue to gather great ideas, and to ensure that employees felt heard, Banchile started using IdeaScale.

Perhaps their most effective strategy was the extensive planning and design surrounding the implementation of the innovation initiative. Not only did they have a system in place for gathering and evaluating ideas, they also created a comprehensive strategy to stimulate internal engagement. The latter is especially important when you are introducing a completely new feedback system within your company. Banchile had a three-pronged approach: a CEO announcement at annual company meeting; email with a link to the community to every employee; and a method of rewards for involvement.

In addition to this internal marketing approach, the team also responded to every idea that was put forth. Combined, these efforts impressed upon employees an appreciation of their input and incentive to continue to participate.

As a result, Banchile was able to identify five new projects through their first campaign that will help to improve customer satisfaction company-wide.

To read more about how Banchile Inversiones enacted their innovation campaigns, and about the five new projects which were implemented, download our recent case study here.

Why to Buy an Open Innovation Platform

cirtixAre you considering utilizing an open innovation platform within your organization? Are you planning to build that platform yourself?

Well, you might want to reconsider whether the decision to build your platform is the best one for you. A recent IdeaScale case study focused on Citrix, a multinational software company, which has had a company mandate in place since 2001 to gather internal and external new ideas.

After outgrowing the previous model of feedback via email, Citrix decided it made the most sense to implement an open innovation platform. Like many other organizations, Citrix had it in mind to build and use their own platform. It makes sense, right? They’re already a software company, and they surely have all of the skills needed in order to create something of that nature.

However, Citrix quickly realized that their company-built platform was not as feasible as they imagined; most notably, the costs of maintaining the system were much higher than anticipated. But Citrix was in luck, because they found IdeaScale and never looked back.

In addition to the cost-considerations, there are five other big reasons that it might make more sense to buy—rather than build—your open innovation platform:

1. Less time to market implementation.
2. IdeaScale provides the experts for troubleshooting and maintenance.
3. Greater agility to customize, and less time to do so.
4. Increased ability to scale up or down as needed.
5. Higher probability of polished and aesthetic end product.

What more do you need to convince you? You can read more about Citrix and their experience with IdeaScale in this recent case study.

Free New Feature Demonstration: IdeaScale Stages

2015-Stages-personasLast week we updated you on our new upcoming feature, IdeaScale Stages. Stages will allow for the further development of ideas beyond the ideation stage. As the name suggests, the feature presents three new stages that will help to see selected ideas through to their implementation: Build a Team, Refine, and Assess.

The stages will help to facilitate the construction of team members around a particular idea, allow for the introduction of improvements to already presented ideas, as well as documentation for those embellishments, and enable evaluation of the viability of the idea from all angles.

Don’t miss our demonstration of Stages, along with a Q&A following the demonstration, on Wednesday, February 25. Find more information and sign up for the free demo here.

Coming Soon: IdeaScale Stages Live Demo!

stagesPicture this: you’re an organization that is looking for a way to engage your community or to instigate a crowdsourcing challenge. You utilize IdeaScale to gather ideas and have the community participate in voting and elaboration of proposals; essentially, to get the innovation ball rolling.

Up to this point, IdeaScale has been instrumental in getting things started, but now we’re taking it a step further with IdeaScale Stages.

With the introduction of this new feature, organizations will be able to further develop ideas utilizing several stages. In addition to the ideation stage—during which your community can propose and vote upon ideas—now you will be able to observe three additional stages: Build a Team, Refine, and Assess.

2015-Stages-personasFor the Build a Team stage, you will be able to take the ideas that have risen to the top and assign team members from among the community to essentially be point people for further developing that particular idea. That team will embark upon the next stage, Refine, working to build the idea into a robust proposal. Team members will be able to add supporting information for the proposal, including estimates on costs and benefits, as well as overall feasibility of the idea. The final stage allows for an Assessment of the work and evidence that the appointed team has been gathering. Those who are doing the final assessment will even be able to look at proposals side by side to see what might work best or decide which ideas might work best for certain organization objectives.

To learn more about IdeaScale Stages, you will not want to miss our free demonstration on Wednesday, February 25 at 11:00a.m. PST. Register here, and stick around after the demonstration to participate in a Q & A!

Employee Engagement—Better for Employees

Employee Engagement 2Two weeks ago, as part of our focus on employee engagement and a recent white paper from IdeaScale on the City of Atlanta’s experience with the subject, we evaluated reasons why employee engagement is beneficial for employers. This week, we will be taking a closer look at why employee engagement is beneficial for employees.

While this one may seem like a bit of a no-brainer—“employee” is part of the term itself, so it would be fair to assume employees would benefit—there are some less obvious positive results for employees as well. As we mentioned in our previous post, employee unhappiness is a huge problem these days. In addition to the feelings of lack of fulfillment, employees then have to struggle with the choice of continuing in an unhappy environment or moving on and starting over in a new situation.

However, when employees are made to feel engaged, they are more likely to feel fulfilled and invested in the organizations for which they are working. This in turn leads to higher work enjoyment and increases the likelihood of longevity.

Acumen Solutions, an IT consulting company in Virginia, has been working on increasing employee engagement and investing in their employees for a while. Acumen Solutions strives to make the workplace more than just a workplace, focusing on all aspects of employee’s lives. This includes presenting personalized gifts for both professional and personal milestones in employee’s lives, as well as encouraging wellness with challenges against other office locations. Employee engagement begins at the very first day of employment, when new employees are paired with a buddy.

All of these steps help to illustrate to employees that they are valued and that the work they are doing is important and impactful to the organization. This line of engagement and communication also helps to create openness in organizations, contributing to a more social and community-driven environment.

Celebrating work and personal accomplishments and encouraging healthy life-work balance are a great start, but what seems to be missing is an opportunity for employee feedback. Providing an outlet for honest and constructive feedback, suggestions for improvement, and collaboration would further emphasize to employees that their voices and opinions are central to the larger organization.

To learn more about employee engagement and the City of Atlanta’s particular experience with it, click here to download IdeaScale’s recent white paper.

Advice about Open Innovation from Greektown-Casino

OIAwards2014IdeaScale is pleased to have completed another year of Open Innovation Awards. This year, we learned a lot about engagement, innovation metrics, and more from our winners and we invited one of our runners up to join us in an interview about their open innovation program: Lori Snetsinger from the Greektown Casino.

Located in the heart of Detroit’s premier entertainment district, the Greektown Casino-Hotel provides best-in-class gaming choices, exceptional accommodations and award-winning restaurants.

In 2014, the Greektown Casino-Hotel launched “The Cheese Factory” whose goal was to make all 1,500 casino team members feel like they were being heard. “The Cheese Factory” was an IdeaScale community where employees could share their great thoughts and ideas and tell ways to make their company better, while also addressing what needs to be fixed, what would make their jobs easier and what would make customers happier.

The casino formed an internal team called “The Mousetrap Team,” whose sole purpose was to serve this initiative.  This team was 100% responsible for moderating all of the ideas that were submitted.

Greektown Casino shares some additional insight here:

IdeaScale: How long have you been utilizing IdeaScale?
Greektown Casino: We received our first piece of “cheese” on May 16, 2014.

IS: Why is innovation vital to your organization?
GC: The Mousetrap Team’s philosophy is centered around being obsessed with finding a better way.  Our team members are out on the floor every day and know the property better than anyone.  We rely on our team members to provide us with game-changing ideas on how to make Greektown Casino-Hotel the best casino in Detroit!

IS: What’s the most important piece of advice that you can give to someone launching an IdeaScale community?
GC: The most important piece for us was getting the word out to all of our team members.  Less than 50% of our team here has a company email address, so we had custom business cards created that we handed out to every team member during our latest team member rallies.  The cards had the link to the Cheese Factory, as well as our email address to field any questions on the sign-up process.

IS: What are you most proud of in your innovation program?
GC: I think the biggest point of pride has been being able to give our team members a voice in the changes around the property.  Wooden suggestion boxes and verbal communication are great, but oftentimes those mediums lack follow-up.  “The Cheese Factory” allows team members to interact with the Mousetrap Team in a way where they feel their voices are truly being heard.  We respond to all ideas within 72 hours, and begin vetting the ideas with the business immediately.  We are relentless in our efforts to make sure our team members are in the loop for the entire process, and we think that gives everyone a real sense of ownership.

To learn more best practices from OI award winners visit http://ideascale.com/2014-open-innovation-awards/

What advice would you share? What else do you want to learn from OI Award winners?

IdeaScale’s Top 5 2014 Features

Top 5 2014Another one bites the dust. Another year, that is. As 2014 draws to a close, we are taking time to celebrate the year’s many accomplishments; among them, five particular features float to the top. These features have made things easier, more efficient, more aesthetic, and more accessible for IdeaScale users.

1.  Moderator Tags
This new feature is incredibly useful. With it, Moderators can define specific criteria or categories to analyze communities based on the tagging data. Separate from publicly visible tags, these tags are only available to community Moderators and Administrators, although you can extend the visibility to a particular community role as well. This allows for sometimes much-needed categorization and analysis that are not necessarily for public use.

2.  ReviewScale
What if the ideas emerging from your campaign or community are not in line with your goals as an organization? This year saw the introduction of a solution to this problem. Administrators can target ideas that best align with the values and aims of an organization with the new decision matrix software from IdeaScale. Groups who have already started using ReviewScale include the Department of Labor, Yale University, and Kaiser Permanente. Find out more and request a demo here.

3.  Community Refresh
Functionality and compatibility are important, but so are aesthetics. Communities within IdeaScale got a facelift this year when the entire design was revamped. New communities have a sleeker interface, presenting a welcoming look immediately upon viewing.

4.  Community Infographic Generator
Infographics are one of the most efficient, impactful ways to convey information. With this new feature, infographics are generated for you by IdeaScale software using information from and statistics about your campaign. These graphics include information about the engagement of your community with the campaign, sharing statistics like number of ideas shared, amount of votes tabulated, and the time of day when folks were most active. Learn how to take advantage of this great feature with this article from IdeaScale support.

5.  CO-STAR
So I’ve got my ideas; now what? CO-STAR can help you. CO-STAR is an acronym that stands for “Customer Opportunity Solution Team Advantage Result.” Boiled down, this feature helps facilitate the stepping beyond the initial idea phase and developing those ideas into valid business models. CO-STAR focuses on developing answers to questions along those six key criteria included in its name. Companies such as the BBC and Johnson&Johnson have already started using the system.

What do you think about these features from 2014? Which features made the most difference for your organization? Which features would you like to see in 2015?

Beyond the Idea

image curtesy of firelknot via flickr.

image courtesy of firelknot via flickr

A great idea can be hard won or emerge in a moment. But the idea isn’t the end of the journey, it’s only the beginning. The ground between a great idea and a great success spans development, launch, and reception.

Google’s gmail took over three years to develop, it launched in beta eight years after it was first attempted. The early development, where it was used internally, and the beta stages accessible by invite only users, allowed google, a search site, to refine their new offering. It’s hard now to remember a time when the launch of gmail seemed questionable, but at the time of launch is was poised to be a breakthrough, or a miserable failure. From the search function to the massive storage, the free email functioned more as an app than its competitors’ website centered functionality. Every feature that set google apart represented a user preference. (Time)

An idea must have an audience, as 3M chemist Spencer Silver discovered. Silver discovered a mild adhesive, just strong enough to attach to an object, but weak enough for the bond to be broken, and then adhesive to still adhere to a new surface. Unfortunately, this discovery was made in the process of attempting to create new, stronger adhesives, so Silver’s discovery was officially shelved. Undeterred, Silver persisted in sharing his discovery with his coworkers and colleagues. The core idea of the adhesive became the post-it note when another 3M employee sought a way to get his bookmarks to stay in a book without falling out. (NPR)

The development phase is where an idea turns into a market worthy offering with strong value proposition. As valuable as this development is, a succinct template for refinement can improve time to market. On October 21st IdeaScale is broadcasting a complimentary webinar to introduce CO-STAR: a refinement template and new module within our innovation management tool. Guests from EDG, the creators of the CO-STAR method, and the BBC will present the template and share use cases. Register today.

The Customer-Product Relationship, in Real-Time

image curtesy of mkhmarketing via flickr

image courtesy of mkhmarketing via flickr

The internet is wallpapered with customer feedback – frustrated customers publicly tweeting complaints, exuberant followers checking the Facebook page of their favorite company, and engaged end users submitting product suggestions directly to a company’s website. Easy access enables constant communication between companies, both large and small, and their consumers.

This variety of channels to communication can be beneficial to consumers, and to companies:

Social media gives a voice to the consumer – A public space like a company’s website or their twitter can be a platform for users to share opinions and experiences with not only the makers and sellers of the product, but with other consumers.

Ease of use – Most companies curate multiple social media profiles as well as a website. Recent statistics show that 72% of internet users are active on social media, that number goes up to 89% for users between 18 and 29.

Rich feedback – Where a survey can answer important questions, and market research can yield significant findings, direct communication between a company and their end users is a conversation to rich data. Consumers can speak on any topic – not just those the company knows to be important. With this conversation occurring in on a public platform, other users can join and help develop ideas.

Improved reaction and implementation time – Which brings us to the biggest benefit to consumer and company alike: reaction time is improved when customer interactions can be received in real-time, and responded to just as quickly. When this dialogue occurs in real-time, the product, and the company can improve and grow at a faster speed.

But, with easier access comes higher expectations. From the viewpoint of the customer, posting a product suggestion to their preferred social media platform is the easiest way to give a company direct feedback. From the vantage point of that company, that page or profile is just one of many outlets that require constant monitoring. Since the speed at which an end user can contact a company has improved, the assumption is often that they’ll receive a response, and see follow-through just as quickly.

Drawing this conversation to one location that is easily accessible to both the consumers, and employees can improve on everything social media has to offer to this customer/company relationship. Some companies utilize a crowdsourced innovation platform to monitor the conversation more effectively. An innovation platform allows customers to see all ideas submitted by other customers, and add to those ideas. It allows employees from all aspects of the product company to see, and participate in the full feedback cycle.

Responding at Cloud Speed

There are numerous benefits to working in the cloud:

 the cloud scales to meet a company’s fluctuating needs,
 it allows for global collaboration,
• the cloud is far more environmentally friendly than its earth-based relatives

However, another key benefit that people often talk about is the ability to move “at cloud speed.” Cloud speed is short-hand for responding to global needs in real-time. Among numerous scenarios, it also means that the gap that used to separate end users from the developers working to create their favorite products is closing, since customers can put in a request and development teams can respond, build, and deploy solutions that update at regular intervals all around the clock.

Essentially, it means that we are able to do our best work with even greater ease. Feedback comes in live, changes go out live. And although the benefits of being so nimble, and so rapid are obvious – the slightly less obvious benefit is how it improves not just customer satisfaction, but employee satisfaction. Teams can see responses to their work in real time and benefit from the cloud-voiced appreciation as well as crowd-based suggestion.

It was this capability (and others) that SAP appreciated about utilizing IdeaScale to collaborate with their customers. Watch this video to learn how Cloud for Customer utilized IdeaScale to assemble and respond to feedback directly from within their tool.

How are you working at cloud speed?