Inside Innovation Management Efforts at Emerson

Posted by Janelle Noble at 8:02 AM, September 27, 2011

Emerson (NYSE: EMR), is a $21B global leader in bringing technology and engineering together to provide innovative solutions. The company has been using Brightidea led by the Embedded Computing & Power group to power its innovation management initiatives for the past few years. Recently, Emerson hosted an Innovation and Technology Conference in St. Louis, MO, featuring over thirty presentations on technology, materials, new product development and innovation by various speakers from companies such as Cisco, Verizon, and IDEO. Bob Aylsworth, Chief Innovation Officier for Embedded Computing & Power, shared best practices in innovation management. Brightidea's COO Vincent Carbone also participated in the event by joining a panel discussion on Creating & Sustaining a Culture of Innovation in which he talked about the innovation processes facilitated by Brightidea software.

Done Emerson is dedicated to innovation, and André St-Martin, Lead Innovation Strategist, has attended three of our Birds of Feather Innovation Leaders (BOF) events to learn and share ideas on best practices. At our BOF in Hong Kong, André discussed the challenges in innovation, particularly on the review processes, saying, "one of the biggest challenges is about the balance of expectation of quick results and having to work/nurture/incubate ideas."

 Join our BOF Community of Innovation Leaders today and get insights, access, and instant connections to practitioners around the world.

Watch his exclusive presentation and get insights on Innovation at Work at Emerson.

Emerson (NYSE: EMR), based in St. Louis, Missouri (USA), is a global leader in bringing technology and engineering together to provide innovative solutions to customers in industrial, commercial, and consumer markets through its network power, process management, industrial automation, climate technologies, and tools and storage businesses.  Sales in fiscal 2010 were $21 billion

Keep in Touch - with Brightidea's Built-In Newsletter Feature

Posted by Stefanie Mainwaring at 8:09 AM, September 22, 2011

Continuous communication with your innovation community is important. Frequent messages including challenge updates, user recognition, tips and how-tos keep the ball rolling and encourage participation. Did you know that with Brightidea you can send html-formatted emails from within the WebStorm system?

Brightidea offers a built-in Newsletter feature for admins. Intuitive to use, it enables admins to send professionally formatted communication to users and user groups.

Newsletter2 All emails (sent or drafts) are stored for tracking and future reference. This makes it easy for admins to see which messages they sent, when and to whom.

 So whether you get all creative and explore different fonts, colors, image settings and html coding, or you choose a plain text style email to reach out to your innovators, the Brightidea Newsletter function keeps all messages in one place.

To learn more about this productivity feature, please speak to your Brightidea representative. And if you are curious to dive deeper into Brightidea's rich functionality, contact us to schedule a demo.


New Brightidea Case Study: ProdigyWorks Engages Coca-Cola, Braun, & HP

Posted by Janelle Noble at 9:56 AM, September 20, 2011


Casestudy Brightidea's latest case study features ProdigyWorks, a unique New York-based business-consulting firm that brings together experts and creative thinkers from around the globe to solve innovation challenges. The firm uses Brightidea software to power dozens of successful engagements for globally recognized brands. Combined with their unique methodology, Brightidea helps ProdigyWorks tap key groups and demographics to source a broader scope of ideas, delivering breakthrough innovations that ultimately provide new revenue opportunities. Why Brightidea? 

 "I interviewed a number of firms and landed on Brightidea, which offered the most comprehensive collaboration solution that was available to me," said David Wynett, Managing Director of ProdigyWorks.

This exclusive case study highlights ProdigyWorks' engagements with The Coca-Cola Company on naming a new product line for Illy, a campaign focused on enhancing current products for Braun, and a challenge to identify new market opportunities for HP.

Gain exclusive insights on how ProdigyWorks uses Brightidea software to source ideas in a dynamic and collaborative environment. Find out how campaigns are  designed to encourage and sustain participation while easing evaluation and decision-making for successful engagements with:


 Download the ProdigyWorks case study today!


GE's Healthymagination Challenge: Assembling Tools to Fight Cancer

Posted by Janelle Noble at 6:38 AM, September 15, 2011

About 1 in 8 women in the US will develop breast cancer at some point in their lifetime. Today, GE and its VC partners are pledging $100 million towards ideas that advance the detection and treatment of breast cancer with their healthymagination online challenge. The public now has an opportunity help combat one of the most common forms of cancer."Healthymagination is a shared commitment to creating better health for more people." Another great example of how GE's is backing its dedication to change with both action and financial support while giving every individual the power to make a difference.

GE's healthymagination challenge: Assembling Tools to Fight Cancer is searching for ideas on cost reduction, early detection, greater survival and sustained health associated with breast cancer. There are five innovation challenge awards available, each $100,000 in cash, for a total of $500,000, with the possibility of an equity investment from GE or a cooperative agreement for an idea's development.

Powered by Brightidea software, the online platform for healthymagination allows users to easily submit, collaborate and develop ideas. Submissions will be further vetted using evaluation and proposal development functionality in Brightidea's Switchboard tool by a jury of government research specialists and representatives from academia. Criteria includes the idea's originality, feasibility and overall impact. The platform also boasts an integration with Twitter enabled by Brightidea partner Pervasive, so live tweets with hash tags specific to an idea will be featured as comments as well.

Only a few months ago, GE concluded the online portion of their Ecomagination Challenge: Powering the Grid, also powered by Brightidea software, looked to the public for ideas on clean tech. Already well over $200 million in funding is set in motion to develop top technologies sourced in the online challenge.

Healthymagination challenge: Assembling Tools to Fight Cancer is a continuation of GE's commitment to empower individuals, small businesses and the general public globally by providing the opportunity and resources necessary to make a big impact in the world. This challenge also underscores Brightidea's own commitment to provide innovation software designed specifically to emphasize execution of ideas at every stage. Brightidea's goal remains to facilitate the exchange of knowledge and resources that have the power to enact positive change on a scale never before possible.

Every innovation starts with an idea. Share Yours Today.


Power of Proposals – Part 3: Evaluating Innovation Proposals

Posted by Stefanie Mainwaring at 8:58 AM, September 14, 2011

Top innovative companies fund business proposals, not ideas. That's why it makes sense to develop ideas further before making decisions on which ideas to move forward with. Brightidea's Switchboard combines proposal development and evaluation into a flexible, systemic workflow, geared at determining the best innovations for your company.

We have talked about why and how to build business cases with Switchboard. The next step is selecting which ones to invest in.


Better Business Decisions Made Faster

In collective ideation initiatives, the quality and depth of submitted ideas usually varies significantly. By developing submissions into business cases it is possible to bring ideas onto a similar level of maturity and provide a more solid basis for further assessment. Evaluators can now compare "apples to apples" and thus deliver more accurate evaluations with less effort.

It also accelerates the evaluation process, since a significant amount of work in preparation for the evaluation has already happened. Especially if senior executives are involved in the decision making process, efficiency is critical for their continued support.

Let's look at how Switchboard enables companies to manage and streamline the evaluation process.


Evaluating Innovation with Multi-Round Scorecarding

To evaluate proposals against each other, they can be easily grouped into "Collections". These collections can then be assigned evaluation scorecards. A scorecard is a list of questions specifically put together to determine the business value of proposals in a collection. Switchboard allows for flexible configuration of scorecards with any type of responses, like free text, multiple choice or radio buttons. Answers are given predefined scores that automatically roll up to a total value for each proposal.

Scorecards can be routed to the appropriate subject-matter experts and decision makers to request their feedback. Teams who are assigned to evaluate a round of proposals can see each business case side-by-side with the scorecard, and are given a space for evaluator-exclusive discussion.

At the end of an evaluation round, proposals can be compared by their overall scores. Taking a closer look at the answers to single questions helps determine where disagreements lie across evaluators. These can then be addressed in meetings, making team discussions more productive.

In larger or more complex initiatives, multiple rounds of evaluations can be set up in order to funnel down on the final proposals.


Monitoring and Managing the Evaluation Process

The fuller your innovation pipeline, the easier it is to lose track of the status of each proposal and outstanding action items. Luckily Switchboard offers tools and visual indicators that make it easy to keep an overview. Through drag and drop and intuitive menu options, proposals can smoothly be moved forward in the evaluation process, be incubated or archived. Nothing ever gets lost, yet the best proposals crystallize clearly and can be turned into projects for execution.

From raw ideas to ready-to-implement business cases, Switchboard streamlines the process and provides easy access to all relevant related information for project managers and decision makers.


Ready to step up your corporate innovation management process? Contact us to find out how Brightidea's Switchboard can help you find the right next step for every idea.

Get Social – In Brightidea’s Innovation Activity Feed

Posted by Stefanie Mainwaring at 8:31 AM, September 12, 2011

How do you grow ideas? It usually starts with getting interested people together and having them collaborate.

Activity feeds are a smart and effective way to reach out to potentially interested and entice them to join the discussion. In Brightidea's Innovation Suite, we have equipped the built-in Activity Feed with rich features that keep the community engaged and the discussion focused.

Updates on new ideas, comments, votes, status changes, and more with direct links to the ideas spark new thoughts from other users and propel the ideation process forward. Each activity is tied to a user profile which facilitates collaboration and surfaces potential new subject-matter experts.

A microblogging function allows users to post short messages and share images or videos directly inside the feed. The community can give praise ('High-Five!') and comment on micro-blogs. This not only adds more life to the conversation, it also allows the community to keep itself focused by expressing support for valid contributions and steering deviating posts back on track. And for those on the go, all these features are also available through Brightidea's iPhone app.

Brightidea's activity feed is not just a thread of water cooler conversations, it is a key feature to grow and maintain an active social innovation community. Time to get social and see ideas grow!

Let us know, if you want to take a closer look at our Activity Feed and the other social features that make our innovation software so engaging.

Innovation Leaders Get ‘Krafty’ at Brightidea’s Latest BOF: RECAP

Posted by Janelle Noble at 8:00 AM, September 06, 2011

CrowdOur Brightidea Innovation Leaders Birds of a Feather (BOF) Roadshow Series brought enthusiastic innovation managers from around the country to Kraft headquarters in Northfield, IL for two days filled with speakers from leading companies, interactive sessions, and networking events.

The event kicked off Monday August 22nd with a networking event hosted at Kraft Kitchen where participants were given a tour of the kitchen and a chance to learn how the company tests, creates and works with new products.

Kraft Next up was a fun kitchen activity where participants broke up into teams to make recipes with Kraft products and come up with innovative names for the food, such as chicken Parmesan bundles and freestyle apple tart. After cooking, attendees sat together to enjoy their food in a fun and creative way to meet one another.

The following day presentations from Kraft, Avnet, EllisDon, Bosch, and Abbott Nutrition discussed their best practices for innovation.

Avnet, one of the largest distributors of electronic components, talked about its cross-departmental THINKTank community, which brought a significant increase in the rate of results from ideas, while increasing business performance and customer engagement. Our host, Kraft, joined the presentations with Dave Diedrich, VP of Information Systems, saying, "Our job is not status quo, our job is to constantly change…When we switched from Sharepoint to Brightidea our employee engagement went up 5 fold."

EllisDon, an employee owned construction services firm, discussed its Uprising community to bring employees from around the globe together to share and collaborate on problems. Abbot Nutrition, a global health care conglomerate, presented their innovation challenge powered by Brightidea to engage its employees and create customer value. Tom Mottola, Senior Business Systems Manager at Abbot, said, "We are incentivizing collaboration, encourage globally dispersed teams, such as Ohio and Singapore, to work together."

Pic4 Sarah Miller Caldicott, great grandniece of Thomas Edison and an innovation thought leader also spoke encouraging people to "innovate like Edison" and notice his Five Competencies of Innovation™. Lastly, Bosch, the leading global supplier of automotive and industrial technology, talked about the myths of innovation's rigidness and how "Brightidea software supports the Bosch innovation process," said Peter Neumann, engineer at Bosch.

The remainder of the hands-on workshop allowed for participants to share their own knowledge through interactive sessions, followed by a happy hour. Once again, our BOF was a success as attendees got a chance to network with one another, learn from innovation practitioners and participate in creative interactive activities with Kraft.

Pic3 "As the 8th Innovation Leaders Birds of a Feather (BOF) Event, we have 9x more participation than our first BOF and nearly twice as large as any other BOF in history. We've really got a lot of momentum behind this. It's an exciting time to be part of the BOF Community," states Paul Tran, Director of Business Development and Strategic Partnerships at Brightidea.

Join other leading innovation practitioners at Don't forget to check out Facebook for even more exclusive photos and get involved with innovation discussions on LinkedIn.


Power of Proposals – Part 2: Anatomy of a Proposal

Posted by Stefanie Mainwaring at 9:03 AM, September 01, 2011

ScreenIn the first post in our Power of Proposal series, we highlighted some of the benefits of developing ideas into business cases before deciding which ideas to move forward with.

Until recently, effective tools to support this crucial part of the innovation lifecycle were missing. That's why Brightidea created Switchboard 2.0. A part of our social innovation suite, we designed Switchboard as a sophisticated engine for idea development and evaluation. Now, let's take a look at the overall functionality and some key features of Switchboard Proposals.


Social Meets Goal-Oriented Flexibility with Switchboard

To successfully go from a long list of ideas to just a few ready-to-invest-in business cases, the process – and the tools enabling it – require three key attributes:

  • Social: Collaboration of the right subject-matter experts is necessary to determine the true value of an idea and maximize it early on.
  • Focused: A goal-oriented, structured process makes sure that proposal teams stay geared toward the overall objectives and evaluations are based on consistent parameters.
  • Flexible: To not stifle productive creativity and allow for all kinds of innovations, workflows and features need to offer flexibility.

So, here are a few selected Proposal features that were designed with these qualities in mind.


Proposal Templates

One size doesn't fit all in innovation processes. That's why Switchboard administrators can easily create and maintain proposal templates. These templates give business case teams a framework by asking specific questions and structuring the proposal. For example, if limited resources are a major concern, the proposal template can specifically request information on the type and amount of resources needed to bring an idea to life.

Transitioning ideas from WebStorm into proposals in Switchboard is a quick, easy and smooth process. Once a proposal is created, proposal team members can be invited to build the business case in a private environment.


Proposal Team Collaboration

Proposals offer an exclusive space for the assigned team. Members can add content, make edits, attach supporting files and keep track of action items and much more. A discussion thread allows for private communication between the team members. With all information and activities in one place, collaboration becomes focused and effective.


Proposal Development Tracking

When team members add or edit information, Switchboard automatically creates new versions and allows for easy tracking of all actions. The history of versions offers full transparency. No more "My dog ate the business case".

With direct links to related ideas, evaluation details and results, and the projects that derived from this business case, tracking functions span beyond Switchboard across the whole innovation pipeline.


From Proposal Development to Evaluation

Stay tuned for our next Power of Proposal blog post in which we'll describe Switchboard's features to evaluate proposals through multi-round scorecarding.

In the meantime, don't hesitate to contact us for a live demo of Switchboard.

Facebook Twitter LinkedIn YouTube Ideaspace Innovation at Work Blog
The Innovation Grid
Innovation Management
Innovation Reports
Related Definition
Innovation Videos
Social Platforms
Portfolio Management
Analytics & Reporting
Consumer Packaged Goods
Financial Services

Blog Categories: Brightidea, Innovation & Idea Management Software Leader The Power of Innovation Blog