Innovation & Idea Management Software

During the course of last year, as any attendees of events that I spoke at will attest, I came to the conclusion that innovation management software had evolved from a curiosity or luxury to a necessity for any company that is serious about innovation (and – as we know – they all better be!). Here are few interesting links

In doing a bit more digging around the space, I recently unearthed this interesting article by Jim Brown at Tech-Clarity, in which he came to essentially the same conclusion, arguing that social media in New Product Development is inevitable.

The number of software vendors entering the space is huge; we are definitely still in the divergent phase.  Ron Shulkin has made a valiant attempt to catalogue the players, although the field has increased somewhat since then.  There are other useful lists, such as this at Innovation Tools. and this at ideaconnection

How to choose between them?  That’s going to be tough.  Geoff Zoeckler made a useful review of idea management, in which he reviewed a number of the leading players in idea management using a structured questionnaire and interview (short cut to his answer, which is fairly typical, top five are : BrightIdea, Cognistreamer, Hype, Spigit, Imaginatik).  One of the key things to emerge is that there really is not much difference on the surface between these solutions, and the selection criteria will require a deep dig and a clear view of what will work in your company.  There are a couple of useful, somewhat independent selection guides, such as this one from Frank Mattes in Germany.

So what will be the directions to watch for in  innovation management software in 2012?  Here are some areas to consider, plus a couple of lesser known vendors worth a look:

  1. Integration -  Connecting ideas management to knowledge management to IP, competitiveness and market intelligence is one area of integration to watch – is it possible to provide seamless end to end software process?.  Another will be full integration of innovation software into other business process software that overlaps:  product development, PLM, R&D and technology strategy, portfolio management.  Some firms are tackling this from the bottom up, such as Innovation Framework Technologies, and others are coming from the top down such as Engineering software companies like Enovia from Dassault Systems (of SolidWorks fame) and Enterprise software & PLM companies like Siemens-PLM, SAP.
  2. Industry Consolidation – The growth of the market can keep many similar payers afloat for a while, but consolidation is inevitable
  3. Better Idea selection – straightforward voting has some serious limitations. e.g. not all votes are equal; subtleties of decisions are lost.  Some interesting attempts have been made to address this, such as ID8 Systems co-founded by Peter Koen of the Steven’s Institute and long time promoter of Front End of Innovation management
  4. Customization and System VAR models – look for the enabling companies to increasingly offer engines that third parties will customize for a specific customer or application
  5. Increasing variety and sophistication of Open Innovation tools and a similar increase in the array of suppliers, such as IdeaPoint.

If you’re in the business of selecting an innovation software:  Good luck!  Just be clear that what you’;re doing is necessary and valuable.

1 Comment for this entry

Christoper Hartsock
March 12th, 2012 on 12:46 pm

Very interesting information!Perfect just what I was searching for!