Introducing The SHOP – Innovating From the Inside Out with Jeff Ferreira-Pro of VSP Global

Posted by Kate Pietrelli at 9:39 AM, September 12, 2014

Jeff Ferreira-Pro, Idea Curator at one-stop vision shop VSP Global’s innovation lab, The SHOP, addressed our audience at Birds of a Feather 2014, and we’ve made the video available for you to watch, here.

VSP Global is much more than an insurance and healthcare company that offers vision care to 64 million Americans. They also manufactured 3 million pairs of glasses last year, developed management software for optometrists, and launched a fashion company making stylish eyewear.

Jeff’s group launched The SHOP last year as a VSP-owned startup with the independence to pursue what the eyewear and vision care industry will look like in the next 10-15 years.

VSP’s units are divided into discrete silos, like 5 different companies, that Jeff and The SHOP are working to bring together for crowdsourcing innovation, using Brightidea. They began seeking areas of opportunity for disrupting the retail eyewear industry in the age of online shopping.

The SHOP believes wearable technology is the wave of the future and VSP is producing Diane Furstenberg prescription glasses with Google Glass. Their partnership with Google Glass spawned a tenfold increase in visits on their employment website, displaying the value of marketing and partnering with strong brands.

Alternative manufacturing is another area where they see great potential, embracing 3D printing and dynamic manufacturing to meet unpredictable demand. New technology such as mobile retinal scans and mobile prescriptions, might be seen as threats to VSP’s traditional business model, but The SHOP is working to embrace these new technologies and capitalize on them.

Their innovation program employs a cross-organizational team, with ideas divided into disruptive ideas, challenging ideas, and straightforward ideas. The straightforward ideas come organically, without the need for The SHOP. For the others, The SHOP employs a top down, bottom up, middle out structure that draws on resources from all departments, at all levels of the company to inspire innovation. They have seen positive response from including groups not traditionally associated with innovation, such as finance.

They facilitated eyewear manufacturing by having each unique prescription pair of glasses tagged with a smartphone-activated LED, so that each can be easily located on the assembly line, reducing costs by eliminating the need for five full-time “finders.” This innovation doesn’t just come from The SHOP. By sourcing ideas from across the organization, such as from these “finders,” they are able to get innovation from those working in the trenches.

These steps have created a thriving innovation program at VSP Global. What’s up next for The SHOP? Implementing a program to track and record their successes and failures to learn from their past mistakes. They are also defining new metrics to track disruptive ideas, which don’t lend themselves well to traditional metrics.

Stay tuned for more insightful innovation presentations from Birds of a Feather 2014.

Announcing Brightidea Fall 2014: Our Most Comprehensive Platform Release Ever

Posted by Steve Bell at 10:25 AM, September 09, 2014

We told you it was coming, and now it's here! Today, on the anniversary of the first day we opened our doors, we're pleased to announce the Fall 2014 release. The culmination of thousands of developer hours and private beta testing, Brightidea's Fall 2014 release is our most feature-rich platform release in company history.


The focus of the Fall 2014 Release is on delivering the world’s most flexible innovation platform for people-powered innovation. Recognizing that your corporate innovation needs are as diverse and unique as your people, the Brightidea platform offers the broadest set of capabilities to support a spectrum of innovation programs and processes, including crowdfunding, open innovation, new product development, public challenges, and dedicated innovation teams.

With this massive flexibility, organizations now have a single platform for all their collaborative innovation needs, whether your programs are simple or advanced, new or mature, external or internal, time-boxed or ongoing. Most importantly, the Brightidea platform will adapt as your innovation needs evolve over time.

Here are some of the key highlights of our Fall 2014 Release:

Next Generation Workflow
Years in development, this new configurable workflow is the keystone to the Platform’s unprecedented flexibility. With the new workflow, you can configure a complete end-to-end process that aligns with your existing innovation use case, whatever it is.

At first glance you might recognize the design as similar to an agile task board. The concept is similar, but instead of moving tasks from left to right to completion, you are moving ideas through a completely customizable evaluation and selection process.


The new workflow gives you the power and flexibility to configure and manage each step and stage in the process. Want a second round of Scorecarding? Add it in. Need to include a Crowdfunding step? Add it with a click. Want to further refine top ideas? Drop in a Development step. It’s that easy.


You can drag and drop ideas from step to step, or use our Rules Engine, which brings us to the next feature enhancement.


Enhanced Rules Engine
The platform’s Rules Engine has been integrated with the new workflow, providing new automation capabilities. You can now 
automatically advance ideas based on a rule being met. For example, auto-graduate an idea from the Initial Screening step to the Scorecarding step if the screening score average is 6 or greater.



New Crowdfunding Feature
Crowdfunding is a hot topic. These days you can crowdfund anything from movies to restaurants to new business ventures – and, of course, ideas.

With the world’s most powerful collaborative innovation platform designed to crowdsource the best ideas, it just made sense for us to develop the next logical step in the process – crowdsource project funding. In fact, experience has shown us that a sure fire way for an innovation project to hit a roadblock is when the project funding becomes a hot potato in the organization.

With our new Crowdfunding feature, you can now source financial investment from across internal business units to launch key projects.

Quickly transform the Brightidea platform from the voting process to the crowdfunding process with the click of a Setup button. Once enabled, a new area in the Post Idea section is added to include the idea funding duration and goal.

Funding stats can be displayed in the View Idea page using the “Funding Stats” widget, as well as in Idea Boards, as shown below.


Crowdfunding is an exciting new platform addition to the end-to-end innovation cycle, and we’re looking forward to seeing how it helps our customers take the best ideas across the finish line to successful implementations and outcomes.

New Idea Prioritization Tools
Innovation programs often stall because organizations don’t have the tools or processes to evaluate, shortlist, and select the best ideas from the many that have been gathered. This is a common occurrence for companies that have tried to build homegrown “innovation portals” with general-purpose tools like SharePoint. By focusing only on the front end, you end up with a big suggestion box full of ideas and no effective way to sort through and select the best ones.

Since companies have varied evaluation processes, we’ve augmented our existing evaluation tools with several new tools, giving people the broadest choice of methods to shortlist and ultimately select the best opportunities. Here’s what’s new:

This new prioritization tool is particularly useful when you are working with Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) to help evaluate ideas. With the recognition that a SME’s time is valuable and limited, Single Scale allows you to engage them early on in the process to facilitate efficient, scalable idea screening.

The process is straightforward: SMEs who are assigned a Single Scale action item simply rate ideas on a scale of 1 to 7 with the click of a button.


Through a new Manage dashboard, the Challenge Manager can track screening completion, send reminders, re-assign screening tasks, and advance ideas to the next step in the evaluation. As mentioned above, idea advancement can also be fully automated through our Rules Engine.


Stack Rank
Stack ranking is a common method for evaluating ideas relative to one another. In essence, you determine the order of a list of ideas from best to worst.

With the new Stack Rank tool, the Challenge Manager sends an action item to a list of people who will place a set of ideas in a stack rank order via a simple drag-and-drop.


As with the other evaluation tools, a new Manage dashboard shows the ranking progress, each “ranker’s” result, the average score for each idea, and provides the ability to move the idea forward to the next step.

Pairwise comparison is typically an alternative to stack ranking. With the Pairwise feature, the evaluator is presented with two promising ideas at a time, and simply selects the one they like best. They are then presented with the next pair of ideas, and so on. Through this process an algorithm ranks the ideas.


Idea Development
It is very rare that an idea in its original form makes it all the way through to selection. More typically, top ideas go through further iteration and refinement. The new idea development feature allows you to add a Develop step to your workflow. When an idea advances into a Develop step, an action item will automatically go out to that idea submitter requesting more information. The request is presented in the form of questions, which can be short form, long form, drop down, checkbox, or attachment formats.


End-to-End Dashboard
With a platform designed to manage the end-to-end innovation process, it’s important to have actionable business insight every step of the way. This new E2E Dashboard gives the Innovation Program Manager insight on overall pipeline performance. The configurable Dashboard is designed to display key statistics to judge how well a challenge or other pipeline is performing. You can select which top indicators you want to have displayed.


These are just a few of the highlights of the Brightidea Fall 2014 release. For more information about the Brightidea platform view our website at

For Brightidea customers, don’t forget to sign up for the Brightidea What’s New Webinar on September 24th, where we’ll provide a more detailed overview of the release, including live demos of some of these exciting new capabilities. Email invitations will be going out on September 10.

Introducing Innovation as a Shared Service (ISS) in the Fall 2013 Product Release

Posted by Steve Bell at 3:01 PM, September 24, 2013

As a leader in the collaborative innovation software space for over a decade, we’ve done a lot of our own collaborative innovation with industry-leading companies like GE, SAP, Motorola Solutions, and Bosch. With today’s breakneck pace of business, these organizations understand the imperative to innovate or be left in the dust.

Along this innovation journey, we’ve worked with many different forms of innovation from new product development to six sigma to R&D. Recently, one model has surfaced as a highly successful approach for getting innovation programs up and running, and delivering consistent innovation outcomes across organizations. It is a form of dedicated innovation group that we call Innovation as a Shared Service – or “ISS”.

ISS is similar to an organizational service like IT and HR because the team is tasked with servicing various stakeholders in diverse business units across the company. The goals for the ISS team are to create a culture of innovation, oversee a corporate innovation center of excellence, and coordinate a network of innovation champions.

Since Brightidea and our customers have experienced first-hand the value of ISS, today we’re excited to announce new capabilities in our Fall 2013 release designed to support and drive ISS team success. Here are some of the highlights:

WebStorm Scheduler: Auto-pilot for the Innovation Program Manager


ISS teams are nearly always managing concurrent innovation campaigns on behalf of multiple business unit sponsors. At the same time, they are nearly always budget and resource constrained. They need to be energy efficient – to do more with less. Campaign Scheduler provides set-and-forget scheduling of routine activities such as start and stop dates for challenges, ideas, voting, comments, newsletters, and blogs.

Social Collaboration Tools: Draw your employees into innovation


The beauty of collaborative innovation is that you can tap into your corporate “wisdom of crowds” to develop solutions to challenges, improve processes, or discover the Next Big Thing. For this to be successful you need an interested crowd that is motivated to participate. We’ve introduced Social Collaboration Tools including User Tagging, Notifications, and Action Item Alerts to drive campaign participation. This is all enabled under a new consistent Global Navigation paradigm that that spans our product suite end to end.

Idea Boards: Showcase your best ideas


Collaborative innovation extends beyond just coming up with ideas. Companies collaborate all the way through the innovation process. It starts with the ability for people to find and evaluate ideas in an easy, engaging way. Idea Boards are a Pinterest-style interface that lets you easily sort, filter and showcase your best ideas. Because after all, you want people to decide on your best ideas, not algorithms.

WebStorm Feedback and Reporting: Show the true value of your programs


Working with our ISS clients, we know that they need to justify the value of their programs to upper management and stakeholders. Since the outcomes from these programs may not materialize until a much later implementation date, ISS teams need a consistent way to track their effectiveness every step of the way. Webstorm Feedback enables innovation teams to capture and share instant satisfaction feedback from business unit sponsors (the customer) on program status, activities, and results.

Another critical way to monitor campaign effectiveness is through reporting. The Fall 2013 Release delivers new reporting and dashboard capabilities to help innovation managers track their innovation program effectiveness through the entire lifecycle from idea to outcome.

Ongoing Innovation at Brightidea

There are numerous additional new features rolling out with the Fall 2013 release. Fall 2013 is just the tip of the iceberg in terms of what’s on our roadmap to support collaborative innovation and ISS.

These are exciting times for Brightidea. While one of our main competitors has recently thrown in the towel and been acquired due to financial woes, we’re not only expanding our platform and services – we’re accelerating our innovation momentum. Stay Tuned!

Joining Brightidea as Vice President of Marketing

Posted by Sandra Ponce de Leon at 8:57 AM, April 02, 2013

I'm so excited to announce that I've officially joined the Brightidea team as VP, Marketing. Over the course of the last few months, I've had the opportunity to work on a number of projects and have been continuously impressed not only with the caliber and integrity of the team, but also Brightidea's approach to business: Creative, methodical and data-driven. Most recently, Brightidea was named the Leader in the new era of crowdsourced large-scale innovation, by futurist and social business curator for GigaOM, Stowe Boyd.

Having practically created the category for innovation management software, Brightidea is in a unique and enviable position, the team has partnered with top global brands and built killer technology that manages the innovation process end to end. It is rare to find a "start-up" with such an established and impressive client roster, much less one with over 2 million users and that can directly attribute billions of dollars in cost savings and projected new revenue to the use of its technology. To help facilitate that kind of value is truly an amazing opportunity that I'm excited to take on in this new chapter of my career.

For over the last decade, I have worked with Silicon Valley start-ups in digital advertising, mobile and social enterprise, helping these companies bring new products to market and refining their market positioning.  Innovation is ultimately the lifeblood of Silicon Valley, what drives and motivates those that love the start-up lifestyle and mentality: that anything is possible. And innovation beyond the Valley is just as, if not more important. According to a recent Babson College study cited by Brian Solis, "over 40 percent of the companies that were at the top of the Fortune 500 in 2000 were no longer there in 2010."  Pretty clear that innovation is the only path to longevity in today's hyper competitive markets. It's really great to be part of a company that is enabling that kind of innovation through its technology.

This year promises to bring some exciting new developments to Brightidea and I'm very thankful to be part of such an amazing team.

Feature Spotlight: Managing Conversations with Brightidea Admin Functionality

Posted by Stefanie Mainwaring at 8:53 AM, October 13, 2011

Lively discussions spark creative thoughts and surface new knowledge. That's why they are indispensable for brainstorming and innovation processes.

Idea community managers can leave it to their users to exchange information and thoughts, or actively join the discussion. For instance, they can deliberately create a two-way dialog with their community or chime into conversations to steer them into certain directions.

Now, Brightidea administrators have the option to visually distinguish their comments from other users' contributions. Choosing to post an "Admin Comment" will highlight the message and make it easily recognizable by the community. Admin comments can be pinned above the discussion thread and will also always appear in their correct chronological position inside the comments list.

For example, an admin comment could inform users that a particular idea will be included in an upcoming product release. Pinned to the top of the discussion thread, an admin comment can also effectively shift a discussion by raising a specific question.

Admin Comments

To find out more about how admins can use this effective new beta featur to manage their innovation discussions, contact us.

Stay on the Pulse of Innovation with Brightidea Mobile 3.5

Posted by Stefanie Mainwaring at 10:16 AM, October 10, 2011

Advancing technologies and cloud-based services have changed our assumptions of where work gets done today. A mobile workforce that collaborates across geographies and time zones can offer clear benefits to enterprises, including cost savings and increased worker productivity. But to fully capitalize on this trend, companies need to make sure that their employees have the right tools to stay connected and get involved from anywhere, at any time.

Brightidea Mobile, our app for the iPhone, allows your innovation community to keep their fingers on your company's innovative pulse whenever they are on the go. Today, we are excited to announce the release of Brightidea Mobile 3.5. With many new features, our app is more socially engaging, intuitive to use, and powerful than ever.

"Our latest Brightidea Mobile release enables users to actively engage in their innovation community in a way they've never done before," says Paul Tran, Head of New Strategic Initiatives at Brightidea. "We've made this app absolutely addictive."

Now, Brightidea Mobile users can, among others, access multiple challenges, see and participate in the activity feed, attach photos to ideas and updates, and stay up-to-date on latest activities with notifications.

Blog post image 2 "By enabling mobile users to see and act on all innovation activities in their organization, we are truly integrating them into the Innovation Grid!"

Brightidea Mobile is the perfect extension of your corporate innovation community. Whether on the computer screen or smart phone, users can share and collaborate on ideas whenever inspiration strikes.

Why limit collective innovation to the desktop? Help your employees get work done and innovate with Brightidea Mobile! Find out more about our latest app release here and contact us to learn more.

Feature Spotlight: Bookmark Idea Grid Views

Posted by Stefanie Mainwaring at 8:51 AM, October 07, 2011

"Genius is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration." (Thomas Edison)

A similar statement could be made about corporate innovation management. The results can be game-changing and make all the difference to a company's future success. But behind the scenes of collective innovation programs, a good deal of thought and work goes into the evaluation and development of ideas into business cases and projects.

At Brightidea, we like to make it easy and efficient for enterprises to reap the full benefits for their ideation initiatives. That's why we have developed the most comprehensive set of tools to manage the back-end of innovation.

These features enable Brightidea admins to keep an overview of all submitted ideas across challenges and to ensure timely and appropriate progression of ideas.

One core function for WebStorm admins is the ability to sort and filter ideas by a broad variety of parameters including scores, submitters, categories, and dates. Especially with large volumes of ideas, being able to quickly slice and dice information is crucial.

Bookmarking feature2 Since admins frequently apply the same filters and settings, we have now added the ability to bookmark current views of the ideas grid. This helps save time by letting admins access frequently used idea filters with just one mouse-click.

The WebStorm idea grid bookmark feature captures all applied filters and orders, as well as column selections, positions and widths of the current view. Bookmarks can be named freely and easily deleted. If you are a Brightidea admin, you will love this bookmarking capability. Contact your Brightidea representative to enable this new beta feature in your system today.

Stay tuned for more feature spotlights that will help you reduce perspiration and help you focus on inspiration and results.

First-ever Open Innovation Contest in Chile Welcomes a Flood of Ideas

Posted by Janelle Noble at 8:45 AM, August 24, 2011

As mentioned in our previous blog posts, innovation is a top priority in Latin America. As a recent Washington Post article states "people, not industry, power innovation in Chile"

It's rather timely then that just this week, the Ministry of Economy, Development and Tourism in Chile launched the first ever government sponsored open innovation challenge in Chile called Chile Se Escurre. Powered by Brightidea, the online platform invites the public to submit and collaborate on ideas that provide solutions to water issues in Chile, such as reducing consumption, reducing leaks, treatment, and collection. Chile Se Escurre is part of the government's initiative to encourage the average Chilean to become more involved in innovation and entrepreneurship.

With various monetary prizes, including a first place prize of $20,000,00 Chilean pesos (about $42,850 USD), submissions are being judged by their scope, environmental impact, legislative impact, cultural impact, feasibility of implementation, and economic impact.

Ss1 "Brightidea software proved invaluable to this challenge. Together with strong support from their team of experts we were able to implement specialized look &f eel and functionality requirements quickly," says Guillermo Beuchat, a premier BrightIdea partner in Chile in charge of the strategy, design and implementation of the nation-wide campaign. " We also worked very closely with the government digital media agency and other partners to position the challenge and gain traction quickly in the Chilean community, including a very strong social media presence which integrates seamlessly with the BrightIdea platform." His firm, TRANSFORME Consultores, already has several other BrightIdea implementations running as part of long-term Innovation Management programs for clients like LAN Airlines and PETROQUIM.

Since launching on August 22, the campaign garnered over 40 ideas, hundreds of comments and votes from over 200 users. Some of the most popular ideas look to make use of the Chile's rainfall and suggest ways in which the rain can be collected per household and used for appliances, plumbing, etc. Other ideas are more complex, such a one that proposes an efficient rotational vacuum using centrifugal forces to desalinate seawater.

The challenge is open to all Chilean residents, including foreign residents, until September 25th, with the winners being announced in November of this year. To learn more click here.



Feature Alert: Ideas Site Plugin

Posted by Stefanie Mainwaring at 8:13 AM, May 25, 2011

Getting people to participate in an idea campaign or crowdsourcing effort can be a challenge. Especially when they think it will add more work to their already busy day jobs.

As with most new processes and technologies, simplicity is a key driver for adoption. The more intuitive, quick and effective to use, the greater are the chances that people will participate more frequently. Twitter or Google Search with their simple user experience are great examples of this.

At Brightidea, we are devoted to making social innovation management simpler, starting with the process of collecting ideas. That's why we have just added a new quick and easy way to post ideas to a WebStorm.

NEW_popup_full screen_cropped With the Brightidea Ideas Site Plugin, you can add an Ideas side tab to any of your webpages. A click on the side tab opens a pop-up window that allows users to submit their ideas directly from the webpage they are on.

Users can also attach files, embed videos, and view and vote on the most popular ideas in the WebStorm community. For more information, a link takes them to the WebStorm pages.

Life is complicated enough. Give your innovation community a really quick, simple and intuitive way to make an impact. Get more details on this new feature at

Feature Alert: Solr Search

Posted by Janelle Noble at 8:00 AM, March 31, 2011

Ss BLINK: Yeah, that is how fast results will pop up with our new integration with Solr, the open-source search platform from the Apache Lucene Project.  Solr was created by Yonik Seeley at CNET Networks as an in-house project to add search capability for the company website. Now, count Brightidea among the Netflix, Stubhub, and's that use this lightening-fast search platform to provide accurate and relevant results for customers day after day.



With Solr's top of the line cross-platform search capabilities your searches will better navigate the information you care most about.

Features of the new Brightidea search include:

  • Powerful Full-Text Searches
  • Accuracy and Relevancy
  • Word Stemming
  • Hit Highlighting
  • Rich Document Searches (Word and PDF)
  • High Scalability
  • Automatic Spell Correction
  • Multi-language
  • Attachment indexing

The Solr search engine feature will be in beta for next six months for select Brightidea customers. Make sure to subscribe to our blog to stay up-to-date on all new Brightidea features and applications.

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