Genevieve Wang Joins Brightidea as Senior Director of Product Management

Posted by Kate Pietrelli at 10:40 AM, April 11, 2014


Just like our platform, the Brightidea product team continues to grow. Recently, Genevieve Wang joined the company as Senior Director of Product Management. Here’s a little more about Genevieve in her own words:

What were you doing before you joined Brightidea?
Early in my career, I learned that I love to build products, and that’s what I’ve spent the past 10 years doing. Most recently, I headed up the product team at the digital health SaaS company, Zipongo, where we built a personalized healthy eating platform for users, across web and mobile. Previously, as a design strategist at the innovation consultancy, Continuum, I applied design thinking principles to uncover user insights and drive product strategy for clients across industries - including pharma, consumer products, automotive, and hospitality. One of my most rewarding projects was for a home appliance company where we developed a product strategy that redefined air quality for users.

What does innovation mean to you?
Innovation can certainly mean new ways to make things smaller, faster, and cheaper. Yet, the innovation that excites me most is coming up with new products and processes that totally disrupt the ways that things have been done for years. These can be solutions to everyday problems that now seem obvious in retrospect. That’s what Zappo’s has done for the shoe buying experience. That’s what the Kong toy has done for dogs and dog owners. That’s what Brightidea is doing to help customers realize the value in crowdsourced innovation, too.

What gets you excited about working for Brightidea?
Having worked at a variety of different companies, I truly believe that just about any organization I’ve worked with would benefit from a crowdsourced innovation program to engage employees and unlock the value in their ideas. It is highly meaningful to me to be working for a company with tremendous ability to make large-scale impact.

Also, the people at Brightidea are incredible, and I am thrilled to be a part of this team. The culture is one of mutual respect, and the fearless “can do” attitude results in a determination to achieve just about anything that we believe is right for the product. Working in this fast-paced, positive environment motivates me to be the best that I can be.

What new innovation are you most excited about?
I am excited about any innovation that helps me save time. I have become a heavy user of delivery services like Google Shopping Express. For every 20 minutes that one of these services saves me, that’s extra time that I can spend on a much higher value activity, like a phone call to check in with my family in Boston.

I am also pretty excited about Brightidea’s new Mobile 5. You'll be hearing more about Mobile 5 in the coming weeks.

What do you do for fun?
My husband and I rescued a dog, Bentley, a few months ago, and we are having a blast welcoming him into our family. He gives us a fantastic excuse to explore the San Francisco outdoors - from Golden Gate Park to Twin Peaks to Ocean Beach.

Genevieve-Wang

Forbes Article: Tasks Of A Chief Innovation Officer

Posted by Kate Pietrelli at 9:05 AM, April 10, 2014



Forbes

Recently, regular Forbes Contributor Michelle Greenwald took a moment to reflect on how companies are responding to the call to innovate and drive forward their business objectives by creating the internal role of Chief Innovation Officer. Tasked with maximizing the company's innovation, Michelle notes that the Chief Innovation Officer looks to achieve their goals by creating an internal innovation team (what we might call a 'Center of Excellence'), crowdsourcing ideas both internally and externally, and then working with business unit stakeholders to manage and prioritize ideas to outcomes.

The article goes on to discuss how leading companies such as P&G, Unilever and Lego manage their innovation program and increase awareness by creating "Challenges" to crowdsource ideas. At Brightidea, we also employ this practice - Challenges are specific topics that the company is looking for ideas, insights, and solutions in response. Challenges are typically time-boxed and communicated broadly across multiple business units in order to crowdsource solutions. From our years of experience working with companies in innovation program development, we find that these time-boxed Challenges are highly effective in keeping participants engaged and focused on delivering innovation program outcomes.

To learn more about how P&G, Unilever and Lego are structuring their innovation Challenges, read the full article on Forbes.

To learn more about Brightidea challenges and results, check out our case studies.

Seven Things to Look for in a Sponsor - of your Next Innovation Challenge

Posted by Anthony Madama at 10:57 AM, March 11, 2014


For Corporate Innovation teams that offer innovation crowdsourcing services to other areas of the business, finding the right Challenge Sponsors can make or break the success of your program.

Graphic

While support from the C-suite can be great to get you started, you can not rely on them for the steady stream of challenge topics that are the life blood of the 'shared service' model.

Eventually you will need to venture out into the organization, and identify business leaders who have real —and pressing— business needs that you can help to solve via crowdsourcing.

Often this is unfamiliar territory for the Innovation Program Manager. It requires internal networking and 'selling' the benefits of the service. It is also a significant departure from the work they have been doing to date (eg. organizing the team, defining the process and project managing the deployment of the Brightidea platform).

There are many different candidates to sponsor challenges, in different departments, with widely varying needs, and it's hard to know where to start.

So we've created this handy list of things to keep in mind as you are looking for sponsors of your next innovation challenge.

Seven Things to Look for in a Sponsor of Your Next Innovation Challenge:

1. Expressed Interest or Curiosity in your Program and Tools. Executives who are already interested in what you are doing, are the easiest to get engaged. Keep your eyes and ears open for business leaders who think what you are doing is cool, and start with them first.

2. Already Engaged in Innovation at the Company. Executives that participate on an Innovation Council or Innovation Steering Committee are strong candidates as well. They will likely be supporting your program at some level and will give you early opportunities to work with the teams or divisions that they lead. Listen closely and allow them to guide you to where you can have the largest impact in the areas they are responsible for.

3. Already Have a Key Challenge they Need to Solve. Maybe it's an aggressive growth target a few years out, or a division that needs to reduce costs. Maybe there is a new trend they want to jump on in a big way or a technical problem that needs to be solved. An executive with a 'burning platform' that needs to get something done, can benefit from fresh thinking and directly engaging their teams to solve the problem.

4. Have Access to Resources to Execute Ideas. Business unit leaders who have existing discreationary budgets for doing new things, be it:R&D, prototyping, custom work, etc. make great sugar daddy's for your innovation program. These executives are used to placing bets on things that may or may not pan out. They often have existing pools of money and resources that are not pre-allocated to mission critical activities and therefore have the latitude to experiment with new things. By teaming with such well-heeled executives, you will not have to waste your time finding additional budget to execute the opportunities you hand-off to them.

5. Operating in an Area with Rapidly evolving Products and Services. Lets face it, at any given point in time, some markets are moving faster than others. If your company made mobile phones and land-line phones, the demand for innovation will probably be greater in the mobile division. Go to where the action is. Look for areas where technology is driving rapid product evolution or where changes in policies or regulations are disrupting how business is being done. Divisions with lots of engineers doing technical design work make great targets. 

6. Bigger is better. The benefits of crowdsourcing increase with scale. Seek out sponsors that lead large teams, or whose challenge topic will be broadly applicable to employees in other business units.  

7. Social Media or Technology Saavy. Does your target sponsor have a blog? Are they active on twitter? Executives that embrace social media often have a 'prepared mind' for crowdsourcing innovation. They are comfortable communicating to large audiences via digital media and understand the untapped power and potential of their network.

*    *    *

The list above describes traits you can use to help identify the strong candidates to sponsor innovation challenges. If you have other tips, I'd love to hear them! Please share them in the comments section below.

If you wish to discuss this topic in more detail, feel free to contact us so we can have one of our innovation consultants reach out to you to discuss further!

Brightidea is the leading provider of collaborative innovation software for companies all over the world. Brightidea believes every company’s innovation process is unique with specific needs changing over time in different ways. The Brightidea platform is designed to be the most flexible and self-configurable available to effectively support customers no matter where they are on their innovation journey. Based in San Francisco, Brightidea has over a decade of experience and has worked with nearly 500 leading corporate innovators, including Adobe, Bayer, Bosch, Chevron, Cisco, General Electric, Humana, SAP, Sony and many others.

Interview with Motorola Solutions Director of Innovation Development

Posted by Kate Pietrelli at 10:27 AM, March 07, 2014



Heidi_Hattendorf

In a recent interview with Chicago Tribune's innovation and entrepreneurship blog, Blue Sky, Motorola Solutions Director of Innovation Development Heidi Hattendorf discusses the framework and responsibilities of its innovation team that ultimately drive the success of their program.

The group consists of innovators and "innovation champions" operating within an incubator environment for crowdsourcing new ideas across multiple business units within the organization. To recruit innovation champions into the program, Heidi's team looks for natural, entrepreneurial leaders within the organization. It's a much sought-after position that also comes with the responsibility for delivering on KPIs within their business unit. In this model, the champion stands behind their idea and brings it to the next level.

Leveraging our Brightidea platform, Motorola Solutions' innovation team works closely with sponsors to design challenges for their business units, and then crowdsources ideas across a global team within Idea Space, delivers actionable opportunities, and ultimately builds a culture centered around collaborative innovation. Heidi's model for structuring the innovation team and integrating the Brightidea platform within the organization has had a substantial impact on the culture as well as measurable outcomes for the business units. For example, one of the outcomes from the program was the development of a head mounted computer, the HC1, which allows a field worker to be hands-free and more productive.

Innovation_framework

As they have for the past two years, Heidi's team will continue to operate its highly successful innovations program leveraging both people and platform technology, building on a culture of innovation and delivering on better, new technologies in the data communications and telecommunications field.

Read the original Chicago Tribune article.

There's a Better Way to Manage WebStorm Requests

Posted by Steve Bell at 10:44 AM, February 05, 2014


When the word gets out how effective your ISS team is at driving innovation results across your organization, the business units will start lining up for your services. While popularity is a good problem to have, keeping track of all those innovation challenge requests can get unwieldy fast without the right tools. Our WebStorm Request Management feature helps you streamline the process of handling submissions, tracking and managing WebStorm requests so you stay on top of things and let nothing slip through the cracks.

Here’s how it works:

A new WebStorm Request Widget streamlines the request process. An administrator can easily place the widget on any WebStorm or Enterprise pages without technical assistance.

Request_WebStorm

After clicking on the “Request a WebStorm” button, the requester is directed to a new WebStorm Request form that collects all the pertinent information needed to create and schedule a new WebStorm – things like the topic, dates, sponsor, and target audience.

WebStorm-Request-Form

All actions are automatically captured and communicated through notifications and email.

A new management page makes it easy for system administrators to monitor, review and respond to WebStorm requests. From this interface, administrators can also create the new WebStorm.

WebStorm-Request-Management

After a new WebStorm is created from the WebStorm request, the requester automatically receives an email message with a URL to navigate to their new WebStorm.

We have received extremely positive feedback since rolling out the new WebStorm Request feature. If you have not enabled this beta feature yet for your program, we encourage you to do so and enjoy its benefits!

Building an Innovation Management Office with Brightidea - Webinar, January 23

Posted by Kate Pietrelli at 11:57 AM, January 22, 2014


A corporate Innovation Management Office (IMO) is responsible for setting up a formal Innovation-as-a-Shared Service (ISS) internally within their organization. We've brought together a panel of innovation management experts to share stories and insights during a live webinar session on how global leaders like LAN Airlines, CPMC, ELEMENTIA, and SAG have built their IMO. Join us to learn best practices on developing your own IMO. Additionally, all webinar attendees will receive a FREE IMO Toolkit to assist you in putting together your own innovation strategy.

Watch a recording of the webinar on the Brightidea Vimeo channel.

Brightidea_Webinar_IMO

Our panel of innovation management experts includes Transforme USA Founder and Universidad Adolfo Ibáñez Professor of the Innovation Master´s Degree Program Guillermo A. Beuchat,Transforme USA Innovation Expert Timothy J. Rowe, and Brightidea Director Paul Tran.

In this webinar you will learn how to: 

  • Structure an Innovation Process
  • Focus on Measureable Outcomes
  • Engage and Sustain User Participation Over Time
  • Define Your Innovation Key Metrics

Watch a recording of the webinar on "How to Build an IMO: Innovation Management Office Using Brightidea".

Erasing the “Fuzzy” from The Front End of Innovation - Upcoming Webcast, December 4

Posted by Kate Pietrelli at 2:42 PM, November 25, 2013


Many people believe that innovation is a form of art, and solely occurs in creativity sessions among post-it notes, squishy toys, and beanbag chairs. While this may be true in the ideation process, innovation successes are in fact driven by structure, metrics and methodology. An effective innovation program combines the art and the science, which can sometimes make understanding the front end of the process.....a little fuzzy.

Planview_logoJoin us Wednesday, December 4 from 11:00 AM - 12:00 PM CST for a lively discussion with Carrie Nauyalis, New Product Development Solution Evangelist of Planview, and Kristen Jordan Fotter, Senior Innovation Consultant of Brightidea, to learn how you can take your innovation program to the next level by leveraging best practices from leading global companies that have successfully balanced art and science when it comes to innovation.


Kristen Jordon FotterSign up for this exclusive webinar on Erasing the “Fuzzy” from The Front End of Innovation today.

 

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

WebStorm-Scheduler

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

9_18_notifications

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

9_18_ideaboard

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

9_18_campaign_feedback

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!

Announcing the Brightidea "Executive Roundtable" Webinar Series and First Webinar

Posted by Kate Pietrelli at 9:32 AM, September 16, 2013


We at Brightidea are always looking to provide our customers and partners with a wealth of information on innovation management best practices as well as connecting innovation experts to learn from one another in the field. In our new "Executive Roundtable" Webinar Series, we will be bringing together proven innovation leaders to discuss a variety of topics pertaining to innovation management.

For our first webinar in this series, please join Forrester Research, Humana, and Brightidea on Tuesday, October 8, 2013 1:00-2:00 PM ET for our session on, "Getting Started with Innovation as a Shared Service" where you'll learn about best practices for structuring a team and innovation program.

Featuring:

Forrester-logo-new

Humana-logo-new

Harvard Business School recently released a study showing that up to 90% of innovations fail, but not all innovation initiatives should be doomed to die on the vine. With the right structure, processes and technology, innovation can become a repeatable, scalable process that nets more success than failure. Innovation as a Shared Service (ISS) isn’t just some new fluffy buzzword; it’s an emerging practice that is proven to scale and drive measurable results.

Leading Forrester VP and Principal Analyst Chip Gliedman will discuss why making a true commitment to innovation with resources and budget is absolutely critical for success. Sabrina Prouty, Insights Strategic Consultant with Humana, will share how their team achieves success with a shared services approach to innovation.

Speakers-blog

Learn from leading industry experts on the following topics:
  • What causes innovation programs to fail?
  • What is Innovation as a Shared Service, and how it leads to successful outcomes?
  • What are the best practices for structuring a team and innovation program?

Space is limited so we encourage you to sign up now! "Getting Started with Innovation as a Shared Service."

9 Tips From the Trenches: Innovation Leaders Speak

Posted by Sandra Ponce de Leon at 1:36 PM, July 11, 2013


Our recent Birds of a Feather event in Chicago did not disappoint. Now in its 6th year, drawing innovation leaders from around the globe, this year’s event took place at WMS Gaming’s facilities just outside of Chicago – a modern and technologically innovative building in its own right.

BOF attendees flocked together the evening before the event to network, partake in casino games, and compete passionately for the ultimate prize of the night – a new Brightidea platform feature to be coded and delivered to the winning party just 24 hours after the announcement. Read more about the new feature developed by Brightidea.

The next day was filled with juicy insights from WMS Gaming, Autoliv, ACT Inc., Quicken Loans, and Humana. Here's 9 tips our innovation practitioners shared to ensure a successful innovation journey:

#1 Take an incremental approach to introducing new technology
Larry Pacey, Head of Global Product Strategy for WMS Gaming, spoke about the company’s unique corporate culture – a culture where innovation is embedded into its DNA. Over the course of its long history, WMS Gaming has brought many significant innovations in casino and social gaming to life for millions of enthusiasts.

However, having a long-term vision and the desire to commercialize it is not enough. Consumers need to be ready for innovative products, and sometimes, it takes a building block approach to get there. For example, in 2003, WMS was the first company to put a video overlay into their slot machines appearing in front of the original mechanical reels. This created a visual familiarity that consumers were used to seeing, while also still advancing the consumer experience.

Keepinitcheesy #2 Keep it fun and cheesy
Both literally and figuratively, Quicken Loans’ irreverent and fun culture shines through in the way they approach innovation. Kathy Ternes and Drew Butler’s presentation showed us how they infuse fun into everything they do. Starting with the name of their innovation platform, The Cheese Factory, the program takes its brand inspiration from a cartoon mousetrap and even has its own mascot, Simon the Mouse. Recently, Quicken re-launched The Cheese Factory with a tongue-in-cheek video that shows employees that no idea is too small and that anyone with an idea can participate the company's innovation initiatives.

#3 Dedicate time to innovation

"We think that in the brain economy, innovation and creativity are key in developing ideas and creating jobs and wealth…" Dan Gilbert, Quicken Loans Founder and Chairman

Quicken Loans maximizes its “brain economy” by dedicating 4 hours every Monday to innovation. While this time doesn’t reflect full 100% participation, these 4 weekly hours alone have created new revenue and cost savings opportunities because it asserts a mandate across the team to focus on innovation.

#4 Make innovation culture part of the program strategy
Presenters Laura Frisby and Kari Stillman at ACT, Inc. shared the importance of making a cultural shift to an innovation mindset which fosters creativity and new ideas. This starts with a strategy that builds a bridge for team members – taking them from their legacy thinking to a new perspective that is built on sharing, collaboration and ideas. ACT started their innovation culture review by taking an innovation maturity survey by Braden Kelley. This helped them set a benchmark and understand exactly where they were in their innovation program’s maturity scale. From this point, they were able to implement new challenges that helped evolve and accelerate their innovation initiatives.

#5 Communication and feedback is key to success
ACT created the Bloom Out Loud Award, presented in an awards ceremony four times throughout the year to showcase the best new ideas, provide transparency into the ideation process, accelerate rapid prototyping and create a platform to share concepts with the entire ACT staff. Transparency and a physical forum where new ideas are recognized and rewarded is key to supporting a culture of innovation and creating a foundation for more collaboration.

#6 Recognize and reward to keep participants engaged
WMS Gaming ensures that rewards are an integral part of the process. The company created a traveling trophy “light bulb” that resides for one quarter with the team that received the most points for ideas submitted. Additionally, each quarter, the team with the most implemented ideas gets a group lunch where executives and challenge leaders have a chance to mingle and discuss the ideas in person with the group.

Across many different organizations, gift cards, a certificate and recognition by peers are more than enough to keep employees motivated and participating.

#7 Define roles and responsibilities from the beginning
For WMS Gaming, governance is critical to ensuring that ideas move effectively through the pipeline. It’s important to create a process upfront and communicate expectations. Specific timing related to idea response, the types of ideas that will be accepted and agreeing to approvals are all set within their innovation platform to ensure that nothing falls through the cracks. Brightidea’s rules engine ensures compliance with WMS' commitment to acknowledge all idea submissions within one day as well as the obligation to make a decision on new ideas within 72 hours.

Sabrina #8 Approach innovation as a shared service
Sabrina Prouty, Insights Integration Strategic Consultant at Humana, shared how her innovation team is structured much like a consulting organization that connects business units and ensures innovation initiatives are aligned with high-level corporate strategies and priorities.

The innovation team consults with various business groups, spending a significant amount of time planning and securing key resources from the teams. A Statement of Work (SOW) is created for every idea challenge that details out the scope, “problem” statement, agreed-upon criteria for submissions, projected impact to organization, and a timeline to launch (usually 8-10 weeks). All involved parties, such as the project lead and the champion, must sign off on the SOW prior to the challenge being adopted.

In the end, the team delivers a Results and Recommendations packet for every challenge that includes the identification of potential cost savings, trends and insights, a summary of groups that participated, and a cost / benefit analysis that identifies how many years it will take to achieve a return on the idea.

#9 Put your marketing hat on
Greg Thompson from Autoliv shared that each challenge needs to be treated as a unique project, and marketed in a similar fashion to a typical new product go-to-market strategy. From developing a catchy brand and name to staying in touch with participants – the challenge needs to be fun and resonate with the audience. Engagement can be achieved through communications channels, such as blogs and newsletters managed on the Brightidea platform that keep the challenge top-of-mind with audiences to encourage participation. Greg also recommends ensuring challenges are based on a real need. Making a challenge meaningful, especially as it contributes to the long-term strategic health of the company, which will infuse that innovative and collaborative spirit into your teams for the long haul.

For more Birds of a Feather insights, stay tuned to the blog! We’ll be sharing more great content, including videos from this year’s event.

FunBOF2013


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