Challenge Promotion Tools

Posted by Steve Bell at 10:21 AM, May 28, 2014

Innovation executives and program managers know that it can sometimes be a struggle to get and keep the attention of employees for the duration of an innovation Challenge. It’s not uncommon for a Challenge to start strong with a lot of idea flow, only to wane over time.

Enabling employees to innovate through their mobile device stimulates Challenge engagement, which is one of the main reasons Brightidea’s new Mobile 5 is being met with such enthusiasm.

Mobile 5 Adoption!


To ensure employees are taking full advantage of the power and convenience of mobile, they need to be made aware of it. That’s why we’ve recently released a set of new features focused on helping innovation managers promote their innovation Challenges and stimulate mobile usage. Here’s what’s new:

Mobile Promotion Widget Use the new Mobile Promotion Widget to promote mobile usage directly from your Challenge (WebStorm) or Enterprise home page. Your employees can click the iPhone or Android button to receive an email link that takes them directly to the app download. The widget image and text are fully customizable.


Mobile Promotion Newsletter Challenge administrators can now select a new out-of-the-box Mobile Promotion newsletter template to quickly and easily send employees instructions on how to get the Mobile 5 app.


Mobile Download Link in System Email Footer When your employees receive Brightidea system-generated emails, you can now include a customizable promotion in the footer, like “Try innovating on the go with your mobile device!” with a link to download the app.


Smart App Banners New Smart App Banners prompt the download of the Mobile 5 app when a user accesses Brightidea via their mobile browser. If the user already has the Mobile 5 app installed, it will prompt the user to open it.


Invite a Colleague To encourage collaboration, you can enter a colleague’s email address to invite them to participate via mobile device. They will receive an email with a link to download the app and will be allowed to participate as long as they have been invited to the Challenge.


Editable Push Notifications Push notifications have several important functions: first, they’re a great way to instantly mobilize hundreds or thousands of employees to participate in a new Challenge. They also play a critical role in keeping employees engaged over time with real-time updates on ideas, such as votes, comments, and tags. You can also use push notifications to create a sense of urgency with a note like “Don’t forget your Challenge is ending in 3 days – get your ideas in now!”


Challenge Managers can now fully customize notification text from the Challenge (WebStorm) setup page.


With these new promotional tools, Innovation Program Managers can tap into one of the most significant trends of our time – the mobile workforce – to engage employee innovators wherever they are to collaborate and find solutions to pressing business issues across your organization. To learn more about Mobile 5 visit our webpage at

Merck Focuses on Innovation Strategy to Prepare for the Healthcare Industry of Tomorrow

Posted by Kate Pietrelli at 2:37 PM, May 21, 2014

The healthcare field is a known hotbed of innovation and discovery, particularly as practitioners seek to overcome hurdles and challenges the industry faces. Forward-thinking healthcare companies today are striving to find solutions to patient needs that transcend medication, requiring great changes to the incumbent organizational structures. Such large amounts of innovation require an appropriate means of management. 

In a recent interview with Eye for Pharma, Samuel Pygall, Patient Services Manager at Merck, Sharpe and Dohme (Merck & Co.) discussses the many facets of organizations that first need addressing in order to drive innovation program initiatives.  

Using Interdisciplinary Expertise to Innovate Across Departments

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?

The organization of the future foresees "jack-of-all-trades" teams with expertise across many disciplines. Pygall asserts that by breaking out of the traditional structure, these independents will transcend organizational silos by working with points of contact within various departments, sharing and employing their interdepartmental expertise. By holding meetings with stakeholders of the various departments, an organization can increase transparency and progress with moving ideas forward, with the end goal being to benefit the patient.

Pygall has seen through Merck's telehealth initiative, that by getting participants involved in the earliest stages of a project, they enabled efficient progression in the new patient support system. Its stakeholders provided input into the design and development of the new system, which gave them a vested interest in success of the project.

Incentivizing Participation

To achieve big picture success, employees must understand the impact of the innovations on customer value and how integral each of them is to project. This means that the messages must hit home for each participant, by being properly tailored to each department, and avoiding genericized messages designed to inspire all. Each department must understand how important its involvement is and how it will benefit from the success of the program. Allowing employees to devote a percentage of their time to projects of personal interest is also a particularly effective means of inspiring eager participation.

By using these interdisciplinary experts to bridge the gap between departments and incentivizing effective participation in innovation programs, Merck and other healthcare providers can move forward into the medical system of the future.

For more information and the full text of this article, please refer to:

Brightidea’s Response to OpenSSL Heartbleed Vulnerability

Posted by Lou Ostdiek at 9:17 AM, April 15, 2014


Heartbleedicon_checkmarkFirst and foremost, we'd like to inform our customers that at no point in time has data stored with us been vulnerable to the OpenSSL Heartbleed bug. At Brightidea Inc., we take the responsibility very seriously of ensuring the confidentiality and integrity of the data our platform is entrusted with hosting.

Upon learning of OpenSSL vulnerability on April 7th, we initiated an audit of our systems. Since our usage of OpenSSL is limited, we completed this audit in less than an hour. The result of the audit showed that we were not using any versions of OpenSSL affected by the vulnerability.

In addition to our audit, we reached out to our hosting provider Dimension Data. Dimension Data’s Cloud Business Unit security team had also immediately investigated the potential implications of this vulnerability. They concluded that its Cloud Business Unit, used for hosting by Brightidea, does not utilize the vulnerable version of OpenSSL in the underlying infrastructure and cloud control layers across all data centers.

We’d also like to take this opportunity to share how we are continuing to improve our encryption policies by reducing dependencies solely on network layer encryption such as SSL and TLS. Specifically, in addition to network encryption, our online backup data is also AES 256 bit encrypted before it’s transmitted by the backup software. This means that even if network encryption was compromised, as in the case of the OpenSSL Heartbleed bug, data stored with us will still be safe.

We’ll continue to monitor the situation ongoing just as we have been for all security alerts.

Please don't hesitate to contact us us if you have any questions about this issue or how we continuously improve on our security and encryption policies.

Lou Ostdiek
CTO Brightidea

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.


Forbes Article: Tasks Of A Chief Innovation Officer

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


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.

Take the Pulse of Your Challenge Engagement

Posted by Steve Bell at 8:29 AM, April 04, 2014

As an Innovation Program Manager (IPM), you know the importance of employee engagement as it relates to the success of your sponsor Challenges. This is especially critical during the first few weeks of a Challenge where you need to pinpoint potential problem areas in order to course correct. It’s also critical throughout the duration of the Challenge to ensure engagement level doesn’t taper off over time.

But how do you identify who is engaging and how they’re engaging? How do you determine the relative health of your Challenge engagement level? What metrics do you have to determine whether engagement is great, just OK, or cause for alarm?

These are the questions that led us to develop the new Challenge Engagement Dashboard. This new dashboard gives IPMs crucial, detailed insights on how many people in your audience have visited and participated in each specific Challenge.


At the top of the Engagement Dashboard is a panel that displays five important data points on engagement: Permitted, Invited, Visited, Viewed Topic, and Participated.


Permitted is the number of people who have been given access to the Challenge based on group restrictions

Invited is the number of people who were invited to the Challenge using registration invitations

Visited is the number of people who visited within a specified time period

Viewed Topic is the number of people who viewed the topic page within a specified time period

Participated is the number of people who voted, commented or submitted ideas within a specified time period

Benchmarking Against Best Practices
In addition to the raw numbers and percentages, the new dashboard provides a very powerful additional data point: It allows you to compare your numbers with best practices that Brightidea has developed from over a dozen years of industry experience. This gives IPMs a solid benchmark for comparison and ongoing improvement. You can configure this best practice data to be displayed or hidden in the dashboard.

Target Date Range
While most people will want to monitor engagement since the launch of the Challenge, you may also want to zero in on engagement for a specific time period. No problem. The Challenge Engagement Dashboard lets you choose from various periods, including custom  date ranges.


Engagement By Profile Field
You may recall that one of the new capabilities recently released by Brightidea is the new configurable user profile fields, which gives administrators the flexibility to control what user data can be captured, displayed, and reported upon.

One of the most powerful features of the Challenge Engagement Dashboard is the ability for you to break down the engagement information by these profile fields, giving you the power to identify how engaged different people and parts of the company are with your Challenge.

For example, you might want to look at engagement by department. Or you might want to look through a geography lens to see relative engagement levels by country or region. The other two examples in the screenshot below show filtering by Job Title and Business Unit. However, the dashboard gives you the flexibility to view engagement by whatever user profile fields you choose. 


When the data is displayed, it is color-coded green, yellow, and red to indicate your engagement performance against the best practices data. At a glance you can see areas of engagement needing attention. Green means at best practice or better; Yellow indicates below best practice to 30% below best practice; Red means 30% below best practice or lower. 

Data Exports
All of the data in the Engagement Dashboard can be easily exported to Excel for further analysis. You can export the summary level data as well as detailed data on engagement by top indicators and profile fields. This can be particularly useful in helping IPMs pinpoint areas that need engagement focus and action.


Engagement by Top Indicators Export Example:


More to Come
This is just the first iteration of the Challenge Engagement Dashboard. It will evolve to incorporate not just valuable data but also specific actions that can be taken based on the data. For those customers who would like access to this dashboard, please contact your Account Manager.

The Challenge Engagement Dashboard is just one of a series of new dashboards Brightidea has begun to roll out to help IPMs drive more successful innovation programs across the business. More dashboards are to follow, so keep visiting our blog for regular updates!

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.


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.

Tap Employee-Powered Innovation Anywhere, Anytime

Posted by Steve Bell at 10:00 AM, March 10, 2014

Dedicated innovation teams understand the value of employee crowdsourced innovation for solving pressing business challenges. Rather than a handful of people trying to solve the problem, you unleash the collective brainpower of hundreds or even thousands.

Brightidea Mobile 5 was designed to enable dedicated innovation teams to rally and inspire employees – wherever they are - to contribute ideas and collaborate with their fellow innovators to uncover the best solutions for business challenges.

Here are Brightidea Mobile 5 feature highlights:

Engage Your Employee Innovators

Your employees are busy, they’re on the go, and they’re probably dispersed around the country, if not the entire globe. How do you, the innovation program manager (IPM), get and keep them engaged and rallied around your business sponsor’s latest challenge?


Once you’ve agreed with your business sponsor on your latest innovation challenge, it’s time to rally the troops! With Push Notifications, IPMs can send mobile alerts to invite employee participants to share their insights. To keep the process flowing, employees will also get notifications related to updates to ideas, such as votes, comments, and tags you are subscribed to.

Once they’ve received an invitation, employees can quickly view the new challenge, as well as the list of challenges in which they’ve been invited to participate. At a glance, they can see the challenge description and activity around it such as number of ideas submitted, number of comments their colleagues have made about the challenge, and number of users actively participating in the challenge.


Capture Ideas and Inspiration

A photo. A sketch on a napkin. A recorded speech. People use different methods and mediums for inspiration and ideation. Brightidea Mobile 5 brings ideas and concepts to life by helping employees paint a picture of their ideas and insights in different ways.



With Mobile 5 you can:

(A) Make an Audio Recording - and append it to your new idea for instant recall.

(B) Take a Photo - and instantly attach it to your new idea.

(C) Submit a New Idea - in seconds.

(D) Attach an Existing Photo - from your image gallery.

(E) Sketch an Idea - it’s your electronic back-of-the-napkin and sticky note all in one!


Foster Collaboration

Give your innovation team “Bionic Arms” by leveraging your employee crowd to not only submit ideas, but also to develop, refine, and promote the best ones. At the end of the day, you don’t need a stack of ideas, you need a shortlist of actionable solutions that can be turned into projects to solve real business problems.

With Mobile 5 your employee innovators can:

  • Search ideas to find ones of interest.
  • Vote ideas up or down with one tap.
  • Subscribe to ideas to get updates on their progress.
  • Comment on ideas and Tag colleagues to get them to join the conversation. Add image and “sketch” attachments to comments.
  • Tag Ideas to make it easy for colleagues to find and start engaging with them.
  • Use the Global Activity Feed to stay connected to the buzz with real-time updates on all challenge activity, including check-ins, idea submissions, comments, status changes, and more.
  • Personalize the experience with customizable Profile Pages and My Feed, which lets employees follow the activity that’s most relevant to them.

As ideas begin flowing in from your employees, an important data point is to know “where in the world” they’re located. Use the built-in GPS locator to follow the source and trends of ideas and contributions around the globe.


Brand Your Mobile Experience

The Brightidea platform has always provided our customers with rich flexibility to brand and customize their innovation challenges on the web. Mobile 5 carries that branding to mobile. With the basic app you can:

  • "Label edit" key terms in the app.
  • Upload your logo.
  • Customize the Menu Bar with your brand colors.

Or, go further and “White Label” your app for a fully branded experience:

  • Get your own app icon and app name.
  • Enable employees to log directly into your own corporate login page.
  • Configure your own tour.

Hassle-Free, Secure Access

Brightidea Mobile 5 makes employee participation effortless and secure with Single Sign-on (SSO) using your company credentials. Mobile 5 SSO employs SAML 2.0, the most robust SSO standard in the industry.


Get Started: Take The Tour

Like all topnotch mobile apps, we’ve created a brief tour to help familiarize new employee participants with the Mobile 5 app and what they can do with it.


Brightidea Mobile 5 – driving dedicated innovation team success by making employee crowdsourced innovation easy, engaging, and fun.

Contact your Account Manager to get access to Mobile 5.

Interview with Motorola Solutions Director of Innovation Development

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


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.


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.


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.


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.


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!

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