What is Innovation Software?
What is Innovation Software?
Innovation Software Helps Businesses Cultivate and Implement Innovation — Faster.
Innovation software is a fairly recent development that was made possible by the rise in popularity of both cloud computing and social sharing platforms. The main goal of this software is to help enterprise level businesses generate and evaluate ideas so that innovation can be cultivated and implemented. The software serves as an important tool that facilitates collaboration while also providing an organized selection process that pushes the best ideas forward without getting bogged down by big data.
Different innovation software programs provide one central location for people from around the world to participate in the submission and evaluation process. Various functionalities are also meant to improve communication, collaboration and brainstorming. Other tools help with analyzing and visualizing ideas in order to streamline project management and create a clear workflow as ideas move through the development pipeline.
Traditionally, corporations have relied on internal employees to develop new ideas, but innovation software works to gather input from both internal and external sources. This approach helps to recruit talent from around the world and drive innovation while also protecting intellectual property and creating a centralized repository for ideas. In fact, some companies have used contests and the gamification of innovation to encourage participation.
How is Innovation Software Used?
By providing one location to capture, evaluate and develop ideas companies are able to create an organized path to innovation. In the past, ideas would be directed to different departments through a wide variety of channels and there was a good chance that a promising idea would fall through the cracks. Innovation software ensures that every idea is properly evaluated and that employees, at every level, are being fully utilized and recognized for their contributions.
One of the primary functions of innovation software is to provide secure idea capture capabilities for a network of employees or a protected group. The software can designate exactly who is a part of which group and assign certain privileges to members. Forming groups just takes a few clicks and all information, including shared documents and original ideas, will be protected.
For companies who want to expand their search, innovation software can be used for external idea capture. This allows companies to recruit and collaborate with top talent from around the world. A curated network of researchers, engineers, academics, tradesmen and even consumers will have the opportunity to submit ideas and help drive innovation.
Companies also have the option to choose between unstructured and structured idea capture methods. An unstructured approach allows for the open submission of ideas by any contributor without limitations. Participants are protected by blanket terms and conditions that are designed to secure intellectual property (IP) and reduce risk. For a more customized approach, structured methods can be used that rely on a form-based process that limits the submission of ideas. This layered approach to submissions is meant to protect both the client and the problem solver.
Challenge-based idea capture can be either structured or unstructured and used to launch specific challenges to a wide audience of participants. With the help of user-friendly interfaces, an unstructured challenge can be created in a matter of minutes. In addition, companies can create an unlimited number of unstructured challenges so that innovative new ideas are always be incubated.
Some companies choose to launch branded challenges, but there is always the option to remain unbranded. This allows companies to remain completely confidential while innovating. Innovation software can help companies remain anonymous while still running a specific technology challenge that has the potential to yield innovation solutions.
Ultimately, there are practically no limits on how companies can design and issue challenges. Hybrid idea capture methods allow for any combination of branded, unbranded, external, internal, structured or unstructured idea capture. Companies have the freedom to mix it up and create challenges based on their objectives.
Once ideas have been submitted, innovation software goes to work automatically sorting and rating each submission based on predetermined criteria. Ideas can be sorted according to business category, brand, idea, submitter or any other objectives that are important to the company or that particular project. Once ideas are sorted, they can be automatically scored according to a weighted system. This allows project managers to quickly visit the dashboard and identify the top scoring ideas. By relying on predetermined criteria and an automated scoring system, companies can bypass low scoring submissions and focus time and effort on developing the most promising ideas.
The next stage in the innovation process is to begin to advance top-rated ideas through a stage-gate workflow. Each company can use the software to create a customized qualification process that can further filter ideas and establish organized workflows according to department, brand, idea type, etc. Essentially, ideas are appropriately directed to the right place for the next stage of review and development.
As ideas move along the development pipeline, reviewers can directly communicate with the innovation team and individuals through the centralized dashboard. Supporting documents, including: videos, images, Word documents, PDFs, and other files can be easily shared and viewed by the entire team. In addition, participants can view the collaboration and workflow history in order to understand exactly where a project stands and what steps need to be completed before moving forward.
Reviewers and collaborators also have the ability to set up automatic alerts so that they can be instantly updated the moment changes are made to the project. By facilitating better communication and automating certain processes, innovation software is able to reduce the amount of time it takes to develop an idea and get products to the market. No matter what stage a project is currently in, innovation software can identify the path to development and move an idea to the next stage.
Who Uses Innovation Software?
Innovation software was originally designed with enterprise businesses in mind, but there are really no limitations on who can use and benefit from this versatile tool. As you might imagine, more competitive, technology-driven fields, such as finance, healthcare and software development have the most to gain from fostering an environment of innovation. These industries face the most significant increase in global competition, which requires a proactive approach to innovation to stay relevant. Today’s businesses don’t have the luxury of simply adapting to evolving markets. They must anticipate and lead trends or risk being left behind. Innovation software serves as a vital tool that is able to capture and develop ideas more easily than ever.
Why Do Businesses Use Innovation Software?
Create a culture of innovation. Companies need to go beyond simply talking about the importance of innovation and actually empower employees with tools they need to actively contribute to the company and have their ideas heard. The corporate environment often relies heavily on a hierarchy that discourages lower level employees from sharing ideas or questioning the status quo. Innovation software removes these perceived boundaries and effectively creates a culture of innovation where ideas are welcomed and given appropriate attention without getting overwhelmed with information.
Increase employee engagement. The ability to simply log into a centralized dashboard and quickly submit an idea had proven time and again to increase employee engagement. When innovation challenges are formatted as a contest or game, engagement increases even more. This means that employees are more invested in the success of the company and feel like a valued contributor. As a result, overall job satisfaction increases and an environment of collaboration is firmly established.
Streamline process. With automated features, companies can streamline a variety of processes. From evaluating and sorting submissions to tracking project history and efficiently moving ideas through a designated workflow, innovation software significantly reduces the development time so that products and services can be put on the market faster. It is the ideal way to manage ideas and build internal and external networks for collaboration.
Improve the customer experience. As companies focus on staying competitive, increasing revenue and driving growth, it can be all too easy to lose sight of the customer experience. Unfortunately, this can be a fatal mistake, which is another reason why businesses need innovation software. Idea capture methods can be opened to consumers who can provide valuable feedback and offer solutions based on the user experience that may be easily overlooked by internal departments. Using innovation to improve the customer experience can create loyal customers who will then act as brand ambassadors and help build a positive brand image and reputation.
Identify markets or business models. Innovation software goes beyond simply working to generate new ideas and can actually be used to identify new markets and develop disruptive business models that have yet to even be considered. Used in this way, innovation software becomes an invaluable tool that has the power to completely reinvent existing markets.
Who Are The Most Innovative Companies Today?
Innovation can take many forms and vary widely from industry to industry. This can make the idea of innovation software and its potential benefits feel abstract and difficult to pinpoint. To help provide a better idea of what innovation can look like, here is a list of the top ten innovative companies and what they have done to earn their place on the list.
While some of these companies are household names and others are popular on the other side of the globe, they all have a few key elements in common. First and foremost, they have been able to provide products and services that have disrupted traditional markets. They have looked for ways to improve the customer experience and to leverage emerging technology to provide innovation solutions to age-old problems, soothe pain points and fulfill needs. In addition, a lot of their success be attributed to the fact that they use open source software and welcome collaboration from a wide variety of sources. These leading innovators don’t shy away from collaborating with external resources in order to identify new markets and move their company forward.
Why Innovation Software? Accelerate Time-to-Innovate
Innovation software represents a truly flexible tool that can be customized to fit the needs of any business. Being able to capture ideas, through a variety of methods, allows businesses to work with both internal and external collaborators. Automated idea management tools provide a quick and easy way to sort through massive amounts of information and prevent valuable ideas from slipping through the cracks. From there, ideas can be prioritized and developed on a more efficient schedule that put products on the market faster to stay ahead of the competition. In increasingly global markets, innovation software provides enterprise businesses with the power to tap into a wide range of experts and resources to drive innovation.