What is Innovation Software?
Innovation is critical for all businesses. In the digital age we now find ourselves in, software is helping to power innovation for businesses. Innovation software promotes innovation across the organization, seeking to make it collaborative and engaging, typically by providing companies with a scalable set of tools to enable the whole organization (or a defined subset) in the innovation conversation.
Innovation software spans a spectrum of complexity working across the innovation value chain from the front end of innovation where ideas are generated (increasingly known as the ideation phase) through to the evaluation of these ideas, business casing, team building, project management, delivery and outcome measurements. Various systems have emerged with some specialising in parts of this value chain and others being more generalists across the length of it.
Wazoku’s Idea Spotlight is specialist idea software focused on the front end of innovation – where ideas come from. The software is designed to make the process of idea generation, evaluation, filtering and early progression as effective and engaging as possible within an organization.
Take a real life innovation project at ACME UK Ltd, the business is looking for incremental innovation ideas for how to enhance their current product offering to key clients. The business wants to engage all employees in the idea generation process and is even offering a prize for the best ideas.
Through Idea Spotlight the project owner starts a new idea challenge and shares this with everyone in the company. As ideas flow back in they are visible to everyone, helping to spur additional ideas from others interacting with the ideas. Making the idea generation phase more social and collaborative drives a great flow of more informed ideas rather than the usual flood of the same or very similar ideas. As ideas come in, sorting, evaluating and feeding back on the ideas becomes important. Idea software typically provides the mechanisms to rank and sort ideas, drawing on the crowd of people engaged in the ideas process to promote and support the ‘best’ ideas through voting, commenting and volunteering for the ideas as they come in. Through this process the project manager at ACME is able to rapidly gather ideas from a broad group of people, test these ideas for validity and support across the organisation and then to feedback and progress the appropriate suggestions.
The benefits of innovation software for an organisation go well beyond the systematisation of a critical business process. Employee engagement early in the ideas process has been shown to increase overall employee satisfaction, help businesses to make more informed business decisions earlier and also provides data around the whole process never previously available.
Idea competitions are a useful tool for gathering structured and targeted ideas quickly. Ideas however can come to people at any time, not just when solicited by a challenge. The best innovation systems also cater for unsolicited ideas from employees, allowing them to submit their ideas, helping to structure and categorise them, and having the capability to suggest the relevant experts and decision makers within the business. Giving the ideas the best chance of finding a relevant audience and the business the best chance of discovering the best and most informed ideas efficiently. Importantly, the votes and interactions of these experts should also be ranked to allow for the most informed ideas to surface above others.
Experience shows that innovation software can deliver excellent results for an engaged business. Supporting incremental as well as step change innovation, creating more open cultures has helped businesses to cut costs, increase profits, serve customers better and improve products both directly and indirectly.
Innovation systems empower innovation and ideas within a business. Where there are specialist innovation teams the tools can help these people to engage with the whole business, but for many businesses innovation is not the responsibility of an individual or team. Buyers of the Wazoku innovation software are drawn from across the organisation from product managers, sales managers, HR, innovation teams, strategy and many more besides. All are seeking ideas, ways to do things better and looking to engage the organisation more effectively in this.