Everybody knows about Lego — those little plastic construction toys that hurt when you step on them. Lego is a great example of a company that keeps on innovating.
Initially, Lego was made with a resilient plastic known as acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS). Later on, they started using biodegradable oil-based plastics. A few years ago, they switched to using sugarcane-based polyethylene, which is a more sustainable element.
So how does this story about Lego relate to innovation software? Well, as it turns out, innovation software is an awesome tool that will let you manage your business’s innovation process from ideation to implementation.
Simply put, if Lego used innovation software years ago, they might’ve been able to shorten the development time and bring in more innovations than what’s currently present.
What is innovation software?
To better understand what innovation software is, you got to understand what innovation is in a business sense:
“Innovation is the process of realizing new products, processes, propositions, or business models to create added value for customers and/or employees.”
When you apply innovation to your company, it gives you plenty of opportunities to remain competitive in the market, decrease overheads, increase gains, and gain new opportunities in new, different markets.
This is where innovation software comes in.
Basically, the main purpose of innovation software is to help your company move the innovation needle — that is, by generating and assessing innovative ideas and implementing the best ones.
To fulfill that purpose, great innovation platforms must be able to support and help lead the innovation process through collaboration and organized selection processes to come up with the best ideas possible.
A good example of this is an innovation dashboard. A dashboard will tell you the story of your company’s innovation journey complete with relevant information. It will give you a snapshot of the current innovation situation of the company.
Here’s an example:
When you break down the innovation software engine, you will see specific gears designed to help you with:
- Collecting ideas
- Selecting the best ideas
- Engaging employees, customers, and the market
- Managing innovation portfolio
- Measuring success
- Optimizing the innovation process and business value
What are the specific uses of innovation software?
Innovation software can be a lot of things. But at the center, it’s a platform that enables ideation, idea management, and implementation.
Let’s break this down one by one.
In innovation, there are two types of ideas — innovation ideas and solution ideas. The goal of innovation ideas is to find as many possible innovations to execute. On the other hand, solution ideas are meant to solve problems.
To achieve your goals, you need plenty of ideas. That’s where innovation software comes in — it helps in capturing ideas from employees, groups, and even external sources.
To do this more efficiently, having an “inbox” of ideas from different sources is a good way to start. The innovation inbox is a library or place which contains all the ideas and problems received from different sources.
Without innovation software, other companies do this traditionally by putting up innovation whiteboards throughout the office. Unfortunately, there’s a lot of work to be done here in collecting and compiling the ideas.
Innovation software helps you do that painlessly with the use of an inbox feature.
In addition to that, introducing a gamification feature isn’t a bad idea as it helps boost the engagement and creativity of the contributors.
Dr. Doug Palmer of Deloitte believes that gamification is reshaping businesses. He said:
“In today’s engagement economy, where time and attention are becoming increasingly scarce and resources precious, people are likely to gravitate to activities that are authentically rewarding and filled with the opportunities to achieve, grow and socialize.”
Inbox and gamification are two examples of how innovation software helps in the ideation and collection process.
Idea management is simply the process of capturing ideas, identifying the best ones, sorting insights, and implementing them within the business processes.
After generating ideas, it’s often a challenge for businesses to bring together these innovative ideas in a systemic way and find a common ground.
Most of the time, it’s not the best idea that should be implemented — but the one that has the greatest business value, easy to implement, and suits the organization well.
One way to do this is by being able to score different ideas according to a set of criteria. But in order to do that, there must be a selection tool built inside the innovation software that will allow you to create your own set of criteria and give scores to various ideas.
This will then help you pick a number of best ideas that you could then take on to the next level.
Good innovation software helps users share their knowledge with each other and improve upon each other’s ideas. What works great is if you can follow and like (or any form of engagement) certain ideas that you love.
Liking a teammate’s ideas has a positive effect and may lead to more and better ideas coming from him or her. A psychological study confirmed that brain circuits that get activated from eating chocolate and winning money are also present when we get many likes.
Finally, innovation software helps in advancing the idea to the implementation stage.
This is why having a Kanban feature right inside the innovation software really helps. It will allow you to track an awesome idea from ideation to implementation.
In total, there are six stages of executing an innovative idea:
- Problem finding
- Solution finding
- Business plan
When you combine the Kanban feature with a dashboard, you get the functionality that provides you with an overview of the whole innovation project and a roadmap of your innovation journey.
What are the benefits of using innovation software?
Innovation software is practically new and is only made possible because of the technologies of our time including sharing platforms, social media, machine learning, and cloud computing. If such software exists years ago, we would have seen many more innovations by this time.
Aside from that, here are three primary advantages of using innovation software:
Because of the tools that come with innovation software, the time it takes to bring ideas to the table and create the minimum viable product is shortened.
Specifically, you will be able to streamline tasks that will otherwise hinder or slow down the innovative process including:
- Project management
- Tracking results
Compare the archaic model alone of idea collection and management with that of the new inbox feature.
If you’re using whiteboards or dropboxes to collect ideas, you will have plenty of work to do to compile all the ideas sent by different sources. Add the fact that some may be similar or even the same with each other.
After that, you will have to analyze each one and find a way to rank each idea against the other. You can only imagine the amount of work needed for this step alone.
But with innovation software, you’re basically using technology to enable your sources to submit ideas easily, collect all of them (even without you doing anything), and select the best ideas around.
More ideas from diverse sources
Those archaic methods we talked about earlier? They work — in a slow, limited way. One limitation that you can think of right away is the limited number of people who would be able to submit their ideas.
As you may know, contributors with a diverse set of strengths, weaknesses, experiences, ideas, and approaches will enable you to come up with more creative ideas for products old and new. The more diverse your sources, the more unique ideas you can get.
But you will never get their idea if they can’t reach you.
In addition, can you imagine how hard it would be to manage all those different ideas you get? Without a way to tag or organize each one, how are you supposed to easily find the ideas that stand out or relate perfectly with a problem you’re trying to solve?
This is why having a repository of ideas is important — it can get messy really quickly. Fortunately, innovation software can help you with that, quite easily, if I must say.
Increase engagement and creativity
Bringing in gamification, ala-social media likes and follows, and other features and will definitely up your business’s engagement and creativity. Innovation software pushes employees and customers to have an engagement with the organization and its goals.
Take note, however, that successful innovation is more on the number of available ideas, engaging with the best ones, and proper innovation development, rather than creativity itself.
On the other hand, one of the reasons why some have challenges in regards to innovation is because of the lack of interest from those who are involved.
Once the interest is there, creativity will soon follow. When creativity is present, innovation isn’t far behind.
Your business needs an innovation platform
Now that you understand what innovation software is all about, it’s easy to see why it’s beneficial for businesses to use one.
- Innovation helps in making the collection and management of ideas painless and easy. Without one, you’re stuck with collecting ideas from easily reachable individuals and groups — mostly within your own team and organization. But innovation software allows you to collect ideas from anyone anywhere in the world.
- After collecting those ideas, you can straight away tag them (or let the contributors tag it themselves) and compare them against each other with a set of criteria. The alternative is to spend hours going through hundreds (if not thousands) of submitted ideas and ranking them against each other, by hand.
- Without innovation software, you will also have to deal with challenges such as tracking the whole innovation process from start to finish and keeping everybody’s attention and engagement. Innovation software has easy-to-use features to deal with such challenges.
Next steps: As you can see, innovation software is important. That’s where we come in. Our very own software has tools to help businesses and organizations with idea management. Find out how innovation software Accept Mission can optimize your company’s Innovation & Idea Management.