Innovation Success Is Uncertain – Or Is It?

Posted by Gretchen Hoffman at 10:52 AM, March 27, 2015


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Every enterprise is chock full of people with great ideas...that are never realized. Unless, of course, that enterprise has an innovation framework in place to elicit, vet and implement these ideas. Many do not though, unfortunately. And this needs to change.

Why?

The race to innovate first is real, and it crosses every vertical – from technology to financial services. Consumers aren’t just expecting the latest and greatest from their computer software these days, they’re expecting the most efficient methods when they bank, shop, travel or create – and their loyalties lie with the vendor(s) providing it.

The key to innovating first and capturing those fantastic people-powered ideas and acting on them before your competitors do requires organizing your innovation efforts. And this organization takes much more than a spreadsheet listing ideas and assigning someone to follow up.

Organizing Your Innovation Efforts

We know that organizing your innovation efforts isn’t easy – and offer innovation program options that manage the process from ideation to implementation. Brightidea provides customers with the key to unlocking enterprise innovation, offering innovation software powered by a methodology that sets the bar for harnessing ideas. We stay ahead of trends, so our customers naturally do as well.

But we also know that telling you about ourselves isn’t compelling, so we’ve gathered our customers’ innovation stories, by way of a survey and case studies, for you to scan through instead: Straightforward observations from Fortune 500 companies around results realized from using Brightidea’s innovation program platform – along with the challenges they faced and how they were able to overcome them. In fact, 95% of Global 500 companies surveyed by TechValidate saw improvement in their innovation program with Brightidea.

Independent Survey Stats

A third party vendor, TechValidate managed the survey, which includes feedback on innovation program features that can mean the difference between success and failure: ROI analysis, Innovation Challenges, Organizational Culture, and Overall Goals.

The clients come from a range of industries, including heavyweights Accenture, Exxon, Motorola, Quicken Loans, Hewlett-Packard and Walgreens, and they share responses to key questions most enterprises ask – and stats that flesh out the narrative, like:

  • Humana experiencing $6.2 million in cost savings from a single innovation challenge campaign.
  • More than 75% of Nielsen’s innovation challenges resulting in an idea that was implemented.
  • BT increasing the quality of their innovation program by 100%-200%, generating over $250 million between new revenue and cost savings from the ideas sourced company-wide since 2005.

The eBook provides answers to questions enterprises most frequently ask, with insight around practices, benchmark metrics and methodologies that we see leading enterprises to success, along with what worked, and why, with quotes directly from these industry leaders around their experiences using our software.

Customers say we are the most knowledgeable contender in this space – and we would love to show you why that is. Click here to download the eBook and then reach out and let us know if you’d like to be the next success story we share!

Ways to Win as Enterprises Race To Innovate

Posted by Gretchen Hoffman at 1:46 PM, March 06, 2015


Brightidea_ebook_oneinnovation-1Although you’ll hear many businesses talk about innovation lately, they’re finding it hard to move beyond brainstorming great ideas to sorting out what could work and then implementing. So they aren’t actually innovating – yet. And they need to be.

Why?

Keeping pace with new trends isn’t enough. Disrupting someone else’s space isn’t enough either. Today’s enterprises must do both of those things AND innovate, because getting out ahead of a trend and innovating a worthwhile advancement first is what wins the day. Businesses know this. you know this. So why isn’t it happening?

The struggle starts and ends with the way in which the enterprise approaches innovation – sporadic or systematic. Although many recognize that sporadic innovation doesn’t work, those with innovation programs or systems in place either don’t fully understand how to use them or don’t have the right system in place.

Sorting it all out is a time-consuming process. And that’s why Brightidea created this ebook – to help you assess your innovation program to hit the ground running and ensure it delivers on the best outcomes possible.

This ebook explores characteristics of innovation programs that will keep your efforts moving forward – and help you attain buy-in from stakeholders, including:

  • Why a systematic approach is critical, and how to adopt one
  • Six steps to improve (and establish) enterprise innovation
  • Success stories from Fortune 500 companies
  • The future of innovation and how you can prepare for it

Download One Innovation Program To Rule Them All and you’ll soon be tracking successful innovation outcomes, while your competitors are stuck sorting out their process!

We welcome feedback and your top innovation tips in the comments.

IBM Institute for Business Value: More than Magic

Posted by Gretchen Hoffman at 2:21 PM, March 04, 2015


Dedicated-innovation-teams

IBM Institute for Business Value: More than Magic

How do the most successful organizations innovate? IBM Institute for Business Value set out to answer this seemingly complex question, surveying more than 1,000 C-suite executives in collaboration with the Economist Intelligence Unit. Interestingly enough, results displayed that the top 9 percent of organizations in operating efficiency and revenue growth aim to execute distinct strategies in innovation organization, culture, and process.

IBM’s report shares how the top dogs approach innovation, and specific practices you can implement in your individual organization to drive future success.

Outperforming-orginizations

Contrary to popular belief, current innovation breakthroughs are achieved through science & numbers, data, and insight...not magic. The necessity of becoming open and integrating collaboration is becoming evident today as well as practicing transparency throughout all levels of an organization.

Here at Brightidea, we foster this trend of transparency amongst our customers, allowing collaborative communication between everyone as we walk through the best methods to bring innovation programs to a whole new level. We partner to position our customers and potential customers to succeed and potentially become outperformers, which IBM defines in the study as utilizing three key steps to differentiate themselves from the pack:

  • Build an organization that encourages innovation
  • Create a culture that fosters innovation
  • Design processes that enable innovation

To implement all of these key factors, outperforming organizations generally rely on dedicated innovation teams. These teams are responsible for being a “center of excellence” in facilitating company-wide innovation activities and keeping the ideas flowing. At Brightidea, we call this model “Innovation as a Shared Service” as our innovative program software allows organizations to monitor and track the innovation process for specific projects, ultimately generating trackable results for these teams. This virtual environment of collaboration will increase depth and relevance to innovation initiatives which IBM has said is deeply connected to success. Company culture is something that can only be driven from inside an organization, and building innovation into the culture nowadays has become a normality. Employees will naturally collaborate if given the time and space they need to innovate. To further feed this climate, companies can offer incentives and recognition to promote this innovative behavior and hopefully generate excitement.

To become an innovation leader of the future, analyze these guidelines that IBM has extracted from a successful, impressive collection of industry innovation executives and implement them as your own. Using software tools and Brightidea’s innovation program methodologies, we can guide you on your innovation journey. We welcome having our innovation experts help your company better understand what ideas to invest in moving forward, how to set up challenges, host a hackathon, and how to develop an effective innovation program as a whole. You will then know why having dedicated innovation teams is your biggest differentiator over your competition. Please share what is working for your innovation program below.

To hear more about ways to develop a culture of innovation so you can unleash the power of innovation at your company, listen to our recent webinar with Aragon Research.

2015 CFO Sentiment Study – Growing Importance of Innovation to CFO’s

Posted by Gretchen Hoffman at 5:04 PM, March 02, 2015


CFO-Innovation


Each year the CFO Alliance conducts a CFO Sentiment Study, providing exclusive insight and measurable statistics that are critical to the strategic planning and financial outlook of CFO’s across the United States.

The best practices and statistics shared in this study will help companies identify challenges and ways to move forward and innovate in 2015.

The CFO Alliance is comprised of senior financial leaders and decision makers, spanning a wide range of industry groups, company sizes, and geographies. The survey data comes from more than 600 responses solicited from financial leaders in private industries and also public and non-profit sectors.

The results of the study speak to positive expectations for the US economy in 2015, and specific business industries. Other revelations include:

  • Projected spending increases to keep pace with technological advancements and innovation trends, more specifically increases will be seen in employee wages and benefits, data security and cloud computing, social media marketing, and primarily in hardware and software purchases.
  • In addition to spending, 95% of those surveyed agreed that organizations must encourage communication and create a culture of innovation moving forward to successfully achieve objectives.
  • Collaboration between the CFO and marketing will be essential, as 61.5% said their marketing initiatives will be the number one factor impacting their company’s success in 2015.
  • The leadership role of the CFO is changing too, with the value of being “social” taking precedence and projected to have positive implications this year. Along with this new “social” role CFOs should pay close attention to the importance of customer engagement and human capital optimization goals as well.

The role of the CFO is continually broadening to accommodate emerging growth initiatives and deliver impactful results that are critical to all aspects of business operations. And CFOs are playing a greater role in determining corporate direction, strategies, and ultimately creating long-term shareholder value.

Are there any stats in the study that surprise you? We’re guessing there are a few! We’d love to hear your thoughts on the study in the comments.

And feel free to enjoy our analyst webinar on Unleash Innovation – Put Your Community to Work which discussed more innovation trends and ways to help create a culture of innovation.

Get ‘Inno-spired’ by Our Forrester ‘Innovation Trends to Watch’ Webinar

Posted by Gretchen Hoffman at 5:55 PM, February 17, 2015


ForresterGenius may be “one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration,” according to Thomas Edison, but that one percent can be the difference between taking action now and waiting. And when it comes to innovation these days, waiting is the wrong move – because it gives your competitors that much more time to disrupt the space and send you reeling.

Successful enterprises have always known they need to continuously reinvent themselves to meet the demands of new generations of customers, but it’s even more important now as the manufacturing, distribution, and information ages have given way to the current Age of the Customer. Keeping up with trends and expectations is no easy task, and innovation must be a constant goal.

To keep the inspiration happening we recently hosted a webinar on Innovation Trends to Watch and Inspire You featuring Chip Gliedman, Vice President and Principal Analyst at Forrester Research. Gliedman’s IT background helps him serve CIOs using research focused on “IT investment strategies, innovation, justifying technology investments, business technology alignment, and IT satisfaction. He is a frequent speaker on innovation for Forrester.

On our webinar he shared innovation trends in a way that will inspire you to act. Here’s just some of what he shared:

  • How to explore current innovation trends and decide on actions
  • How to exploit market opportunities to create business value
  • How to maximize profits by perfecting innovation processes
  • The questions to ask for specific innovation goals, whether product, process, organizational and market
  • How to use sustained innovation to avoid disruption
  • Common barriers to innovation
  • What skills to sharpen for innovation success
  • Benefits of open or “collaborative” innovation
  • Tips for getting started with your innovation program and for stepping up your game

And getting started is important! In fact 41% who attended the webinar shared that they are “struggling to get their innovation program ramped”. You can always tweak your innovation process down the road, but once you take those first steps it will become easier and easier to keep walking – and eventually run. Brightidea has a methodology we would welcome sharing with you to help get your innovation program up and running if you CONTACT US.

Or take the first step by watching the webinar here: Innovation Trends to Watch and Inspire You.

It's Time to Start a Collaborative Innovation Program - Tell Your Boss!

Posted by Kate Pietrelli at 10:07 AM, February 11, 2015


Innovation is the driving force behind growth and progress in any industry, and the core of any long-term business strategy. While companies do many different things to stimulate innovation, crowdsourcing has the highest leverage among small teams. Crowdsourcing and Collaborative Innovation lets leaders harness the creative capacity of employees, get quick wins, scale impact and have measurable outcomes. With market competition at an all-time high, maximizing impact from your Collaborative Innovation program is mission critical.

Why is it so important to always be innovating? If you don’t do it, someone else will, and you’ll find yourself in an unenviable position - like Kodak.

Kodak used to kill it – till it died. Kodak dominated the photographic film industry from its inception in 1888 all the way through the 1980’s. As digital photographic technologies emerged in the 1990’s, many of which were developed by Kodak itself, the company was painstakingly slow to incorporate these new developments in its products and get them to market. It soon found itself eclipsed by other digital camera and imaging companies, many of which were even using Kodak patents. By 2007, Kodak was no longer turning a profit. It struggled until 2012, when it filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

Don’t let this happen to your company.

Even the most established businesses are at risk of disruption. Dedicated Collaborative Innovation programs save the day.

Now you can convince your boss it’s time to start your own Collaborative Innovation Program. Download our new paper to explore:
1. Collaborative Innovation is Proven, Predictable and Repeatable
2. Innovation is Scalable
3. Ad Hoc Efforts Aren’t Successful
4. Your Competition Is Doing It
5. Employee Productivity and Resource Management are Enhanced
6. Employees are Inspired
7. Disrupts the Status Quo
8. Continuous Improvement IS Innovation
9. Implementation is Easy and Success Will Happen

Download the full whitepaper here: It's Time to Start a Collaborative Innovation Program - Tell Your Boss!

BrightWorks Platform Powering 2015 Rathmann Innovation Challenge

Posted by Gretchen Hoffman at 10:20 AM, January 27, 2015


Rathmann-challenge

Brightidea's BrightWorks Platform Powering 2015 Rathmann Innovation Challenge

What is the point of innovation? Simply to break new ground because we can? Some might argue that’s as good a goal as any, but innovation is probably best applied to improving the human condition – at least, that’s the point of the Rathmann Challenge, which aims to inspire innovators to change the world by rewarding big ideas.

So it made sense for Rathmann to partner with Brightidea and use our innovation platform, BrightWorks, to harness these ideas - because our mission goes beyond providing solutions for companies and organizations seeking a more efficient innovation process. We, too, seek to help advance people-powered ideas that will make the world a better place.

Our collaborative software, in conjunction with next generation architecture, will streamline the lengthy and multi-step application review process, allowing the greatest time and attention to be focused where it belongs: on the ideas submitted by innovative applicants.

About the Challenge

The chief project of the Rathmann Innovation Center, the Rathmann Challenge awards up to $300,000 to one winning organization - $100,000 for a past outstanding idea, and with it the possibility of $200,000 to pursue an Even Bigger Idea – all within an annually rotating theme (science, technology, arts, education, environment, health, human services, public affairs and international aid).

This year’s Rathmann Challenge asks applicants to focus on “Provisions for Personal Necessities in Preparation for Learning.” The goal is to “assist educators in addressing issues which interfere with PreK – 12 students’ ability to be fully present in the classroom.”

These needs include obvious items like classroom supplies, but also less obvious (but equally crucial) basic personal necessities like food, clothing and shelter, as well as health- and legal-related needs – the absence of which can put debilitating stress on students.

U.S.-based, legally-formed organizations are eligible to submit an application outlining past work, including an Even Bigger Idea aimed at improving the ability of students to be fully present in the classroom.

Each year one grant of $100,000 will be awarded based on past accomplishments, with a potential additional $200,000 to bring an Even Bigger Idea to fruition over the following two years. This Even Bigger Idea can be something new (still within the above-mentioned theme), or build upon past ideas that fit the theme’s criteria.

The application process is open from January 5, 2015 through February 12, 2015, or until 200 applications are received.

As the Rathmann Challenge awards past accomplishments, innovators should take note that next year’s challenge will be focused on “Environment – Managing and Harnessing the Data.” Get to work now on creating next year’s “past” in the present, as well as applying to this year’s challenge as part of the Rathmann Innovation Center’s effort to make great ideas a reality. You never know – the next Even Bigger Idea could be your own!

Call It Hackathon Or App Jam – Either Way, Your Business Wants In

Posted by Gretchen Hoffman at 10:52 AM, January 21, 2015


TimetoThink-small

Some day, someone may come up with a way to get more than 24 hours out of a day. Until then, we have the next best way to squeeze the most innovation out of a day - Hackathons!

A hackathon (or, more recently known as an “App Jam”) is simply a period of time during which a group of employees, or all of your employees, brainstorm new ideas and projects for your company to focus on over the next quarter, year, etc.

It isn’t just brainstorming though – it’s harnessing risk-tasking, idea-making, status-quo breaking energy. And if your business hasn’t had one, you really need to start planning one soon. Here’s why:

Why companies use hackathons

Remember in grade school when your teacher would suddenly move all the desks around and you’d be sitting in a new seat in a new part of the room? And it made things more fun for a little while? Or when your company moved offices or maybe you relocated - and for weeks, if not longer, everything seemed new and exciting again? Shaking up the status quo gets people’s juices flowing, releasing blocks they didn’t even know were there. And that’s exactly what a hackathon does. It flings open the doors of the imagination, flooding it with fresh air and possibilities. What company wouldn’t want to invite that energy?

Why hackathons are so successful

Why do so many companies have game rooms in their offices these days? Because the best ideas – the best work, oftentimes – comes when people aren’t focused on work.How many times have you tried to force a memory, for example, only to find it coming to you when you weren’t trying to remember it? When people are pulled out of their routines, structure and stress, magic happens. Hackathons provide that outlet.

Regular work is put on hold during a hackathon, so it feels like you’re playing “hooky”, and for however long the hackathon lasts, all employees participating have carte blanche to create and explore and offer up whatever ideas come to them. They get to feel part of something bigger than the narrow confines their day-to-day position might allow, take risks, and collaborate with people they might never otherwise work with.

It’s crowdsourcing at its best – especially when you combine forces across departments and functions – and you can even involve customers or clients. Throwing in a competitive aspect and prize for the best idea doesn’t hurt either.

Why they’re crucial to innovation

If it isn’t already obvious, hackathons are all ABOUT innovation. Even when you already have an innovation program in place and you’re checking in regularly with key players, sourcing and testing ideas, it can be easy for all of that to become part of the routine too. Or to be blown off in favor of more pressing projects. Because hackathons are a limited-time event, they can easily fill the requirement of any innovation activity pushed to the back burner, and the excitement built around them means that everyone will be pumped and ready to give their very best for the duration.

When you put a group of talented, excited people together they can’t help but come up with something great, so take advantage of your workforce, schedule a hackathon, and look forward to creating that next big thing – or a reinvigorating set of ideas that will (at the least) put your team on the right path.

Have you held a hackathon before or are you planning one? Share your successes and challenges with us in the comments. And check out our new presentation on SlideShare “Why Organize A Hackathon”.

Autoliv's Evolving Innovation Program with Director Greg Thompson

Posted by Kate Pietrelli at 9:35 AM, January 16, 2015


Often a presenter at annual Birds of a Feather events, Autoliv Director of Corporate Engineering Greg Thompson took a back seat this year to listen and learn from other innovation program leaders. "I'm not speaking and I'm trying very hard not to ask questions. I'm trying very much to take a passive role to see what everybody else is talking about." For Greg, it was informative to hear about everyone else's innovation journey, challenges, questions, thoughts and insights within the industry this year. While each company, its products and locations are very different, Greg finds that the challenges faced among innovation program leaders is the same, and an event like Birds of a Feather enables these leaders to work together as a community to solve key issues.

Autoliv's innovation program has grown quite significantly over the past several year, and Greg shares insights from their journey as well as initiatives that his team is running today.

While Autoliv's innovation platform and usage of Brightidea's technology has mainly stayed the same, they've introduced new use cases to their program. Specifically, in addition to running time-boxed innovation Challenges focused on a specific topic, they've started running a continuously open Challenge in one of their three main corporate regions spanning the US, Europe and Asia.

Additionally, Autoliv is expanding their innovation program internationally through localization, specifically for their office in China. By designing an innovation Challenge for the teams in China, Autoliv was able to capture their market needs. Autoliv continues to experiment with their program to explore new ways to innovate internally.

As the 2014 Birds of a Feather event was held at Quicken Loans headquarters in Detroit, where Greg also resides, he highlighted the progress and impact in the city. Greg believes that the city's capable, intelligent people will further drive growth and innovation in Detroit.

Stay tuned to the Brightidea blog for more insights from Birds of a Feather 2014

Innovation Programs: How Great Ideas Become Reality

Posted by Gretchen Hoffman at 8:45 AM, January 15, 2015


Innovationwwall

Ever heard the expression, “The right hand doesn’t know what the left hand is doing?” When a company declares itself devoted to innovation, without actually having a plan in place to track and implement ideas, that’s an example of the expression in action.

Turning great ideas into reality is a must for all businesses, and you can’t afford to rely on luck. Careful planning, i.e., an innovation program, focuses your efforts and improves your chance of success. And if you’re not systematically capturing them, you’re likely spinning your wheels and losing out on lots of great ideas.

Here are three reasons why an innovation program is essential:

1. Harness great ideas and keep them moving forward

Like any endeavor, innovation requires goals and an action plan for meeting them. Hoping bursts of inspiration will simply come to your team in a flash of insight, and manifest within moments of the thought landing in your head, is like wishing for a fairy godmother to get you to the ball. Could it happen? Maybe. But which option seems like a better plan: sitting around waiting for inspiration, or making it happen by constantly cultivating ideas? Yes an innovation program foregoes the need for a fairy godmother – at least in this case.

2. Weed out not so great ideas

Yes, you have a brilliant team, creative as all get-out, but not every idea that comes down the pike is necessarily “the one” that will rock your customers’ world or transform your business model.

Operating in an innovation free-for-all, chasing those flashes of insight when they pop into your consciousness, might give you an adrenaline rush, but little else. And realizing you’ve yet again spent time and resources on something that wasn’t quite worthwhile, and – oh yeah, you kind of tried something similar three months ago and it didn’t catch then either is pretty depressing.

An innovation program will help you keep track of what’s fresh and exciting, what’s on the back burner, what’s been experimented with and failed. Best of all, it will track what is testing well and showing promise. You’ll always know whether you’re backing the right horse or if it’s time to move on.

3. Inspire internal and external stakeholders (via crowdsourcing) to do more

There needs to be a team approach to your innovation efforts unless you enjoy limiting yourself. The days of silos and departments and separation are over. Now areas like customer service, social marketing, and – you guessed it – innovation, are on everyone’s radar. And that’s a good thing, because it could be your CEO’s second assistant or one of your clients or customers who has that million-dollar idea that changes everything.

That’s not to say innovation should be everyone’s job though – because when something is everyone’s job, it’s no one’s job. Small teams, led by Innovation Program Managers or Innovation Program Leaders, need to lead the effort and loop in SMEs to evaluate ideas in specific areas. But using an innovation program to bring everyone into the fold to crowdsource ideas not only increases your chances of catching lightning in a bottle, it creates a sense of investment for everyone who’s part of the program. Can you say “loyal employee/customer for life?” That’s what everyone who was part of the team will be when an idea they contributed to takes hold.

Oh, and one last thought – when you have that great idea, it’s more than likely that one of your competitors has had it too (or will soon enough). Don’t get beat by disorganization. Get your innovation program in place now. You can thank us later.

What do YOU think is most important for innovation success? Tell us in the comments!

And test your ability to predict the future against our innovation predictions for 2015.

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