Tag Archives: innovation management

Introducing…CauseTech!

introducing causetechEver wanted to change the world from the comfort of your own home? You may have a chance to do just that.

A new global innovation ecosystem will soon make its debut. Utilizing a dedicated community site CauseTech.Net, powered by IdeaScale, the “Succeed Where There’s a Need” campaign promotes social entrepreneurship and aims to aggregate the world’s best and brightest. The focus is specifically on helping UNICEF scale its efforts to meet the ever-growing needs of the poorest and most vulnerable and excluded children across 150 countries.

CauseTech.net suggests five big challenges that the campaign is trying to address: lack of access to water, lack of access to education, lack of access to electricity, lack of access to sanitation, and lack of access to health care. You can also see examples of innovations that are already working to improve these situations, including a self-powered streetlight and a water generator that produces drinking water from air.

UNICEF is joined in partnership by the Business Performance Innovation (BPI) Network and the Global Renewable Energy & Environmental Network (GREEN), as well as a number of other esteemed partners and affiliates. At every level—from an individual who might have an innovative idea to private sector partners who can help fund the scaling of projects—there is an opportunity to support the initiative.

Dr. Sharad Sapra, the director of the UNICEF Global Innovation Center, said of the campaign, “Our development strategy is to be the connector between all the relevant actors in the value chain, to ensure innovative solutions can be successfully implemented and scaled across regions and contexts. Achieving our goal of reaching every child requires disrupting ‘business as usual.’ New ways of thinking have to be developed. Assumptions and strategies must change. That’s why innovation is so important.”

Dr. Sapra talks about CauseTech in this video about the program:

.

The platform will allow for ongoing ideation, but will also run timed contests curated by UNICEF Innovation teams. The first official contest will focus on alternative energy solutions for Burundi, a country where only three percent of the population is connected to the electricity grid.

You can find out more by visiting CauseTech.Net.

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.

3 Challenges to Innovation Without Borders

IdeaScale blog readers are probably very familiar with the idea of innovation without borders – a theory similar to open innovation – in which all ideas can come from anywhere (internal or external – regardless of job title, discipline, or mission) and those ideas can also be made into a reality by anyone. However, there are some concerns that people have when opening up dialogue on a global level. Before implementing any open innovation technology solution, organizations should be able to answer concerns in three main areas:

Security. This dialogue might be transparent, but maintaining a secure network is crucial to the network’s trust of you and protection of private information associated with these accounts. Make sure that your innovation platform has top-level security (as well as scalability).

Global Collaboration. Accessibility is probably the most important part of any innovation without borders initiative since engagement is the key to success. Is your dialogue open to people of all languages, people of all abilities, is it present in more than just a social forum, can you share ideas in an offline context?

Evaluation Capability. It’s a great idea, but is it right for you? This is the question that every business needs to answer when they’re looking at potential new innovations. Maybe it would be a great new feature – but the technology doesn’t exist yet or maybe it would be a great new process – but it’s not possible to institute for financial reasons. Evaluating each idea for its business relevance as well as its ROI should be part of any innovation program.

If you’re interested in learning more about “Innovation without Borders,” register for a complimentary webinar with guests from Accenture, IdeaScale, and the former CTO of the United States of America. The online session will be followed with a live Q&A.

What Does Flex Time Really Imply?

Everyone is fond of bringing up 3M and Google’s practice that offered their employees “20% Time” to try out new ideas outside of their job description. In other words, one day out of their week – they didn’t have a title or a job description – but rather just the organizational goal of making their company better.

So we’ve all heard of different permutations of this flexible time, but what about flex boundaries? Although it certainly behooves organizations to offer their employees organizational objectives so that everyone understands the goal that they are collaboratively working towards, an employee’s role should never be so prescribed that they have no freedom to be creative.

Here’s one of our favorite examples: when Allstate was looking for design ideas for a mobile app that it was launching, the winning idea was sourced from one of the firm’s trial attorneys based out of the Buffalo office – hardly the head of their mobile marketing division. And if everyone just stuck to their job descriptions and never concerned themselves with the larger needs of the organization, then the pace of innovation today would be a lot slower.

This is why the idea of “innovation without borders” is gaining traction. That job flexibility applies to a number of parameters – including the boundaries that once separated different departments from one another, different, organizations from each other, and those organizations from the rest of the world that they serve. In the borderless innovation program, everyone can play a role in making the world a better place.

If you’re interested in learning more about “Innovation Without Borders,” register today for our upcoming webinar.

IdeaScale is Ranked #513 on the Inc. 5000

inc5000_num_513It’s been nearly five years since IdeaScale launched it’s first campaign – an Open Gov initiative from the office of President Obama. We were recently ranked #513 on the Inc. 5000 list.  In the three years Inc based the rank on we’ve grown by 916%, and added 16 new members to our team. We are elated by the news, and proud of what we’re growing into. For us that 513 meant moving into a larger office with extra space and a bigger fridge. It also meant development on all fronts.

We’ve learned from our users – both the moderators running our software and the end users driving the results. In 2010 we enhanced moderator customization with features like moderator fields, custom fields for selective emailing, and tags.

By 2011 we were working on our gamifcation game. Community leaderboards were already in full swing, encouraging participation by showing users how they ranked against their peers. Two years in, we used what we’d learned from user behavior and added in customizable badges – a way to celebrate all of the participation styles required to build the most robust innovation operation. Getting beyond points and votes brings character to a community, and rewards more users.

Innovation is king, it’s what drives us to build our software. Working directly with our customers means we’ve had a first row seat to over 13,000 innovation campaigns. The number one lesson we learned? Innovation is a process. Introducing assessment tools and our newest edition, ReviewScale – decision matrix software that allows you to weigh ideas across factors and restrictions before you put them into implementation.

Of course, we aren’t done growing. As more businesses and organizations find ways to integrate innovation into their process, our job shifts into exciting new territory. A huge thank you to Inc. for the recognition, and an equally huge thank you to all of the innovators who have set up, moderated, or participated in an IdeaScale community.

The Value of a Value Proposition

value propositionIt is not uncommon in the Bay Area to have people skip right over some of the most commonly thought of questions for entrepreneurs. Things like “what’s your great idea?” or “give me your elevator pitch” fall by the wayside in favor of a different question: what is your value proposition?

To be fair, if you’re developing a truly innovative great idea – you’re going to come up against all those questions eventually, but the value proposition is something that lies at the heart of it all and is something that separates an idea from a business.

For those of you who don’t want to do the googling, I’ll tell you that Wikipedia defines a value proposition as “a promise of value to be delivered and acknowledged and a belief from the customer that value will be appealed and experienced […] Creating a value proposition is a part of business strategy. Kaplan and Norton say ‘Strategy is based on a differentiated customer value proposition. Satisfying customers is the source of sustainable value creation.’”

There are numerous ways to get at answers that help shape not just a value proposition, but an entire business plan. However, the Enterprise Development Group is a team of expert thinkers, facilitators and trainers who have been consulting since 1986 have developed a template for organizations to refine their ideas and turn them into articulate business plans that has been utilized by numerous businesses large and small. The template is called CO-STAR.

CO-STAR is a series of questions that must be answered in order to articulate an innovation’s value proposition. When applied, this template helps companies answer questions like: Will the idea be relevant to a customer? Will there be a market for it? How is it taking advantage of an emerging trend or a new technology? Is it better than other available alternatives? What kind of returns can be expected? Once articulated, it is easier to develop market-worthy ventures.

This is why IdeaScale created the CO-STAR module within the innovation management tool, so that this kind of business plan thinking can be applied to every great idea. If you want to learn more about CO-STAR and how it can help propel your brand forward, join IdeaScale in hosting EDG and BBC in a webinar about converting great ideas into great business plans. This complimentary webinar will take place on October 21st at 9 a.m. PST and be followed by a live Q&A. Register today.

Innovation Without Borders: Creating Change Movements November 19th, 9 a.m. – 10 a.m. PST

innowobordersWhat if your brainstorming group went global?

Building a successful innovation program requires flexible boundaries between disciplines, a focus on multiple organizational goals, and the ability to measure value beyond the bottom line. Enter innovation without borders – the ability to connect globally with multiple networks that will propel a business forward.

Everyone is now familiar with what they call Joy’s Law: “No matter who you are, most of the smartest people work for someone else.” Sourcing ideas globally, publicly from a rich network of stakeholders, customers, subject matter experts and beyond is a resource that is now available to organizations of all sizes in this digital age.

Join IdeaScale in this exclusive webinar that explores the boundaries of ideation, the best practices that are part of borderless innovation, and the structure that helps shape success. This webinar will cover:

•  An introduction to borderless innovation

•  A discussion of how technology supplements borderless innovation

•  A summary of how innovation without borders was applied in a global competition

The webinar will include a live Q&A with the speakers. Join us and register for this complimentary webinar today!

Speakers Include:
Prith Banerjee, Managing Director of Global Technology R&D, Accenture
Rob Hoehn, CEO, IdeaScale
Aneesh Chopra, former CTO of the United States