Rapid Deployment: Moving Innovation from Ideas to Products

Innovation is the life-blood of every technology company.  But often there is not a sufficient mechanism in place to capture innovative thinking, and then move the best ideas into the product development process. Typically innovation programs require a long time to get up and running even if leveraged by technology – but there are rapid deployment solutions available.

We recently conducted a multi-client benchmark study identifying best practices in the application of social technologies to the product development process.  One of the ten best practices highlighted how one study participant jump-started its innovation process through the use of out-of-box platform solutions, and the formation of a small team of people to manage innovation across its large, distributed organization.

Two Components to Rapid Innovation Deployment

1. Innovation Management Team

This team works with all the various software and solutions business units on their specific innovation plans and objectives.

  • They are a central group that helps put tools in place, create templates, and guide the teams.  By providing standard, yet customizable solutions, they help accelerate adoption when new teams implement a innovation campaign.
  • The implementation strategy that allows the flexibility to customize the platform and to share data across business units was instrumental to the success of this organization.

2. Out of Box Platform Solutions

The Innovation Management Team used an out-of-box platform to quickly harness innovation on new problems within large, distributed organizations.  Many companies are tempted to do a “home grown” implementation, to ensure that the solution is adaptable to its needs.  But many third party solutions provide sufficient customization, while also allowing data sharing across large teams. (BrightIdea, Spigit, Communispace),

  • BrightIdea allowed this study participant to quickly construct campaigns and helped them to gather ideas from employees.
  • The platform also has mechanisms of voting and collaboration, so participants can put concepts out there and employees can contribute to them, and then re-vote on the enhanced ideas.
  • Critical to the evaluation of ideas was the participation of domain experts.  This platform allowed experts to be recognized quickly, and drawn on repeatedly.

The Results:

The team, formed to drive innovation, was widely tapped to help many of the operating businesses achieve their innovation goals.

1.  Rapid Deployment

  • Campaigns ramped up and were running in less than a week, and typical campaigns take 5-6 weeks to organize.
  • In one case, a campaign generated 200-400 ideas in 2 weeks.
  • These platforms are easy to extend and reuse, and did not require the central team to acquire detailed technical expertise

2.  Efficient data management

  • Features of the platform software include aspects of filtering, voting, prioritization and idea management.
  • Rapid identification and engagement of domain experts accelerated idea management process.

3.  Scalability

  • This platform supported use of several thousand people.  And was customized for the needs multiple business units.