This post first appeared in the ‘Innovation Perspectives‘ articles on Blogging Innovation. This month, authors discuss ‘How should firms collaborate with customers and/or value chain partners to co-create new products and services?’.
Global software leader Adobe Systems, Inc. recently launched a new initiative to go outside of their organization to facilitate research and development on emerging products and incorporate user-feedback into their online developer community, Adobe Labs™.
The new initiative, named Adobe Labs Ideas™, utilizes multiple interfaces to provide ideation capabilities for specific Adobe products, including Adobe AIR™, Adobe Flash Builder™, Adobe Flash Catalyst™, Adobe Flash Professional™, Adobe Flex™, Adobe LiveCycle ES™ and WorkflowLab™.
For Adobe, the ability to collect and prioritize feature suggestions and feedback has the potential to dramatically improve workflow and increase the productivity of product managers, while at the same time providing real-time customer and developer feedback, in-depth customer insights for improved marketing and further refining features through community collaboration among peers.
For developers and users of Adobe products, Adobe Labs Ideas is an incredible opportunity to influence the development of your favorite applications. Popular suggestions collected so far include requests to streamline user interfaces to make programming more intuitive, improved integration of product lines and tips for improved hardware utilization.
The Adobe Labs Ideas program is powered by WebStorm™, an enterprise-wide innovation management solution from Brightidea™. According to Adobe Labs manager Daniel Taborga, the company has long been interested in engaging the user community for idea generation and began a trial run of BrightIdea's technology for the Flash Catalyst™ public beta, back in 2009. This successful pilot program led to additional integration of BrightIdea WebStorms with the existing Adobe Labs site and the official launch of Adobe Labs Ideas. In addition to the products currently included in Labs Ideas, all product managers at Adobe now have the potential to utilize BrightIdea's technology to drive innovation in their products.
BrightIdea's director of strategic initiatives, Paul Tran, said that Adobe's adoption of BrightIdea's enterprise level innovation management solution demonstrates the company's commitment to innovation in its products and services. "Essentially, for product managers this is so powerful because it allows product teams to get hard proof on which features are needed in releases- something traditional market analysis fails at for software and technology firms like Adobe. These incremental improvements are key to making emerging products the next Flash™ or Photoshop™."
In the one month since the program was launched, Adobe Labs Ideas has already seen over 20,000 unique visitors, 1,200 registered users and generated upwards of 450 feature and usability recommendations on participating product lines.
While the release cycle for the various products now included in the initiative varies, currently submitted ideas are already providing real time feedback for upcoming product versions. As plans are finalized for the next generation of Adobe products, the true power of the innovation management solution will come into play by suggesting specific new features, interface improvements and functionality.
By integrating crowdsourcing feedback and innovation management functionality into Adobe Labs™, the company will continue to distribute pre-release software and technologies to its user base, receive feedback and further refine its future product offerings.
The Adobe Labs Ideas™ program is designed to be an ongoing effort, which will bring together product teams, programmers, designers and customers for years to come.