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.

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.

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.

The Top 5 Most Important Articles On Innovation in the Past Year

Posted by Jesse Leone at 9:00 AM, January 29, 2014

With the passing of another year, I’m reminded of British novelist Leslie Hartley who once said, “The past is a foreign country; they do things differently there.” Looking forward to new beginnings in 2014, I believe it’s important to reflect on our forthcoming journey and what the future has in store.

Having worked with more than 100 innovation programs around the world, I’ve developed a habit of tracking trends that shape the global innovation landscape. Because this year was filled with such amazing content, I’d like to share what I consider to be the top five most important articles on innovation in the past year.


#5 On Innovation and Disruption
“The common perception that disruptive innovations are occurring more frequently is based on something real.”

Jason Pontin, editor in chief of MIT Technology Review, riffs on the increasing pace of disruptive innovation throughout recent history, driving toward a list of the top 50 most disruptive companies according to the very reputable folks at MIT.

#4 How Corruption Is Strangling US Innovation
This presentation from Harvard Business Review masterfully summarizes the challenges faced when corporatism and politics cross paths. The same system that has fueled the engine of human development for centuries is quickly becoming the largest inhibitor of innovation in the United States.

#3 What’s the Roadmap for Innovation in China 
This article from Fast Company reflects on the state of innovation in China. Though the country has struggled to keep up with the pace of US and European innovation, China’s rich history of invention and its rapidly modernizing economy are positioning Chinese companies to become world leaders in innovation over the next century.


#2 Taking the Measure of Your Innovation Performance
Several authors at Bain and Company illustrate what it takes to drive successful innovation inside your company. Through some really compelling research and examples, this article was a must read for anyone breaking into the innovation space in 2013.

#1 How To Really Measure a Company's Innovation Prowess
Despite strong examples like Google and Apple, those of us who study innovation understand that most companies are still coming to terms with their utter lack of innovation prowess. Scott Anthony, managing partner of the innovation consulting firm Innosight, writes a very insightful article noting some breakthrough methods for measuring innovation within your company. This article is truly geared for the innovation Jedis out there.

Jesse Leone is an Innovation Consultant in Brightidea’s Professional Services Team. His work includes management consulting with some of the largest innovation programs around the world, including General Electric, Motorola, Sony, and SAP. In his personal life, Jesse enjoys pursuing the creation of art, music, and technology.

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.




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.


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."

BOF 2013 Hackathon Delivers Innovation at Customer Speed

Posted by Sandra Ponce de Leon at 1:24 PM, June 27, 2013

Dogfooding: a slang term used to reference a scenario in which a company uses its own product to demonstrate the quality and capabilities of the product.

It stands to reason that at this year’s Birds of a Feather - an event dedicated to sharing and promoting innovation best practices – Brightidea would give itself an innovation challenge by way of an overnight hackathon.

This year’s opening event held at WMS Gaming was a themed Casino Night and the stakes were high…in more ways than one. Customers Motorola Solutions, Humana, Autoliv, WMS Gaming, Quicken Loans, and many others had their eyes on the prize – the winner with the most chips would get the new feature of their choice developed by Brightidea…within 24 hours.

Humana won. And the hackathon was on.

JasonanddevteamThe feature? Humana wanted the ability for admins to search and filter by tags and admin labels, to provide greater idea search refinement. Tags are being leveraged increasingly within the Brightidea Innovation Suite – for example, end users will be able use them to categorize ideas, subscribe to specific tags on ideas of interest and see notifications whenever they log in to their platform. We also decided to add advanced functionality that will allow admins to further organize ideas with sorting as well as new admin-only labels. After speaking directly with Humana to learn their pain points and business need, Brightidea’s VP of Product Jason Hardy-Smith huddled with Brightidea’s development teams to plan how to design and implement the solution.

After a furious all-nighter by the Product & Technical Services teams, the new feature spec came together and the new beta feature was brought to life.

Users can search ideas based on Tags and Admin Labels. Two new columns - for tags and admin labels - were added to the WebStorm™ admin ideas grid. A new dropdown box in the search area allows the user to specify the tags or labels to include or exclude in the search. The search results can even be bookmarked and exported into Excel.

Search-typeahead-tagsHere’s an example screen shot:

The beta working feature was demo-ed to the BOF audience the very next day – to great response.

While this innovation example is less about the wisdom of crowds and more about luck of the draw, nevertheless it’s a wonderful thing when a great idea comes together spontaneously to delight your customer.



This blog post was written by our new Director of Product Marketing, Steve Bell. Steve joins us with an impressive and extensive product marketing history, driving messaging and positioning, product evangelization, and sales enablement for enterprise SaaS vendors across CRM, Social Big Data, and Collaboration markets. Steve is an avid oenophile, foodie, and father to 4 teenage boys. We'll be hearing more from and about Steve in future blog posts.

Key Takeaways from Recent Q&A Panel on the Front End of Innovation

Posted by Kristen Fotter at 8:50 AM, May 10, 2013

Recently, Brightidea engaged in a live Q&A session with Planview and Innovation SE on igniting and powering prioritization in innovation programs. As one of the lead speakers during the session, it was personally both exhilarating and fulfilling. I was extremely impressed with the diversity of the audience and their questions. Clearly, organizations of all sorts are thinking about how to incorporate innovation into their day-to-day and how to maximize the effectiveness of the process.


Of the 150 questions submitted during the session, most of the feedback led me to a fundamental point that we convey to everyone we work with, which is that innovation is a full end-to-end process that should lead to demonstrable results. Innovating and ideating without purpose won’t get you anywhere. The only results you’ll see are a group of frustrated participants and leadership knocking on your door asking why you wasted their most precious resources on a fruitless venture. For innovation to truly impact your business in a meaningful way, you must develop and maintain an end-to-end process that begins with strategic alignment and ends with implementation.

While developing a program process, everyone is faced with identifying which ideas are the most worthy of implementation. We took a poll during the live Q&A session about how comfortable the audience is with prioritizing ideas. Based on the poll results, it appears that many people struggle with establishing a documented process that utilizes metrics to identify which ideas have the most merit (30% of people go on gut alone). Why is it that so many people struggle with innovation process?

While many people believe that process and structure stifle creativity – critical to producing those big “Wow” ideas – this couldn’t be further from the truth. A solid process ensures that the venture will be meaningful to the business by generating outcomes and creating ROI.

At Brightidea, we believe that two elements are key to successful prioritization:

  1. Establish your success criteria before starting a project.
  2. Use an accessible tool that allows subject matter experts to produce a quantifiable assessment. We find that our multi-round scorecarding feature is really helpful to clients for this purpose.

Additionally, there are two questions you must access yourself before engaging in the endeavor. This first piece is critical. You must ask the question, is this pursuit in line with the strategic objectives of the company? Secondly you must ask, is there funding to implement the outcome of this process? If the answer to either of those questions is no, do not pass Go. You should start over with a new topic. Once the strategic foundation is laid, then you can go crazy with getting the smelly markers, post-it notes, squishy toys, and beanbag chairs for creativity sessions.

With a foundation of strategic alignment and funding in place as well as a solid process endorsed by all, your innovation process should deliver some pretty fantastic outcomes. If you have more questions about establishing your process, please reach out me to discuss further. If you'd like to view the recorded Q&A with Planview and Innovation SE, it's available here.

 (original use of photograph in this article on

Upcoming Brightidea Web Events

Posted by Sandra Ponce de Leon at 1:19 PM, April 17, 2013

We are excited to announce that Brightidea will be joining one of our partners, Planview_logo_HighRes Planview, for a live Ask the Expert Q&A on April 25. Planview Vice President Linda Roach will moderate as expert panelists Carrie Nauyalis, also of Planview, and Kristen Jordan Fotter, Innovation Consulting Leader with Brightidea, discuss how to collect and assess winning ideas while prioritizing the right ones against available resources. Planview’s focus on helping customers optimize their two most precious resources, people and money, paired with Brightidea’s proven innovative solutions will empower guests to fill their product development pipelines with ideas that fit their capacity and resources.

Brightidea is also proud to be sponsoring the 4th annual PIPELINE online conference Pipeline2013taking place on Thursday, May 16th. With a focus on “Change the Game with Innovation that Works”, attendees will receive valuable insight from expert practitioners on innovation, product development, and product portfolio management. From case studies to recommendations you can implement right away, these best-in-class thought leaders will share their industry knowledge and success stories to help attendees discover ways they can implement innovation that works.

Brightidea's Best Blog Posts from 2012

Posted by Janelle Noble at 8:44 AM, January 17, 2013

The start of the year is a great time to review and reflect on events of the last year that made an impact. With that, we'd like to share with you Brightidea's most popular blog posts of 2012. These posts not only experienced the most views, they also were 'off the charts' in terms of social sharing. So here they are once again, for your reading enjoyment.

Kraft Doubles Down on Open Innovation
Learn why the Kraft Foods Collaboration Kitchen (KFCK) is a major shift in the open innovation strategy at the company.


GE’s Healthymagination Challenge Winners Announced!
Winners are annouced for General Electric's (GE) open innovation challenge, Healthymagination, looking for breakthrough ideas on early detection and treatment of breast cancer.


Next Generation Innovation Emerges at HP
Exclusive video on HP's InnoStream, the latest innovation management campaign driving new ideas on products and services at every level of the company using Brightidea software.


What do you think of this list, did we miss any of your favorite posts from 2012?

[Exclusive Interview] Midnight Lunch- Edison on Collaboration

Posted by Janelle Noble at 8:12 AM, December 17, 2012

Here at Brightidea, we talk a lot about the vital role collaboration plays in the innovation process. Understanding the way modern collaboration is changing and being shaped by technology, society and beyond, is an important aspect of the way we work. Sarah Miller Caldicott is a tenured expert of marketing and innovation, and a grandniece to Thomas Edison. Caldicott's latest book, Midnight Lunch, examines Edison's collaborative leadership techniques up close. An admirer of Edison and advocate for innovation and collaboration, our very own Matt Greeley, CEO and Founder of Brightidea, gives insights and context for Sarah's newest venture into Edison's world of collaboration in the forward for Midnight Lunch. We sat down with Sarah to talk about the inspiration for the book, and the key points almost anyone can take away about how collaboration is changing the way we work.

What was the inspiration for Midnight Lunch?

Midnight-lunchIn my first book, Innovate Like Edison, I wrote about Edison's extraordinary ability to master so many of the capabilities needed to be a successful innovator. It was stunning to realize that Edison pioneered 6 industries in less than 40 years. Master-mind Collaboration was the fourth competency in what I described as Edison's Five Competencies of Innovation. I was inspired to write Midnight Lunch because I wanted to go deeper into this collaboration competency, to explore it further. In working with companies over the past 5 years, I see collaboration as something that people can put their hands around. Most everyone has worked on a team. People have experienced exceptional teams as well as really dysfunctional teams. Offering a viewpoint on what I describe in Midnight Lunch as "true collaboration" was something that I felt could be immediately for people. Collaboration is doubly important in the digital environments we're dealing with now.

Can you give a little background on the title?

Midnight Lunch refers to the affectionate slang that Edison's Menlo Park, New Jersey crew gave to what we to after-hours sessions that took place at the lab. When workers stayed late to monitor their experiments, Edison often joined them. He'd go home at 5 PM, have dinner with his family, then sometimes return to the lab around 7 PM to check in on progress of key projects. Often, he would also run his own experiments during these after-hours visits.

Edison encouraged all the lab workers to observe what the others were doing while he was there, and offer their insights to each other. These heady exchanges were casual, yet focused. At about 9 PM, Edison ordered in snacks and sandwiches from a local tavern for everyone who was still workig. The entire group would kick back, tell stories, sing songs – even play music. People had a chance to get to know each other socially in this setting. No one was monitoring performance, or "keeping score." After these 'midnight lunches,' everyone went back to work for a few more hours.

The magic of midnight lunch was the cohesiveness it created among the employees, and the creative insights it encouraged. Midnight lunch transformed employees into colleagues.

Who can gain the most from reading this book? (i.e. CEO's, Executives, college students, etc?)

This book is really designed to benefit anyone who serves on a team. It can benefit senior leaders who are guiding an innovation team, striving to assemble an innovation team, or working to address differences of opinion being voiced by project team members. It can also benefit individuals who want to improve how they serve their teammates. The book offers step-by-step guidance on how to create collaboration as a capacity of the individual, and then how to meld the creativity that emerges from this in a team context. Midnight Lunch also addresses the unique collaboration styles of Generation Y, so anyone who's part of a multi-generational workforce can benefit from it.


What are the biggest factors changing the way collaboration takes place in modern businesses?

I see three huge factors. The first is that from 2010 through 2020, one billion working-age adults will enter the global workforce. This is an unprecedented number. Organizations must understand how to engage these individuals, how to inspire them, and how to connect them to the innovation process.

The second factor is that this newly emergent group of workers will have access to mobile devices, almost without exception. Leaders must find ways to "collaborate and connect" across the vast network of mobile devices owned by this emerging group, integrating the practices of mobile-native users alongside the face-to-face practices of those already in the workforce. Even though many older workers today are comfortable online, it doesn't mean they understand how to operate in a hybrid virtual/live environment This means that differing work styles must either be integrated, or made to exist comfortably alongside one another – a big management challenge.

And the third factor is leadership style. The days of the stacked hierarchies we saw in the Industrial Age are numbered. Vertical communication is not fast enough to compete with the instantaneous communication of peer-to-peer networks. So teams are flattening, organizations are flattening, and this means that titles and positions long-held in esteem during the Industrial era will shift. New types of leaders will emerge – leaders who can work shoulder-to-shoulder in this new environment, leaders who can inspire others and instill a sense of purpose. All three of these factors are addressed in Midnight Lunch.

What is one surprising thing you learned about Edison from researching for this book?

Edison was dedicated to the self-development of his workers. He wanted to see them progress, to be part of a discovery process that meant continual learning – no matter what area of his operation they were engaged in. While Edison certainly didn't have career paths charted for his employees, as leaders might do today, he rolled up his sleeves and taught his people core skills – most particularly, how to experiment. By emphasizing the importance of experimentation as a means to discover and advance one's learning, he boosted the creative contributions of each individual in his employ. Edison also created an incredibly cross-trained workforce that was adaptive and responsive to changing marketplace conditions. Edison's emphasis on continual learning as a central part of collaboration I think is crucial for us today.

Any predictions on the future of collaboration and how it will change the way we work and build successful companies?

Yes. I think the "industrial internet," (The Internet of Things) coupled with advances in artificial intelligence will transform the way we work. We will see an emergence of data and patterns as huge drivers of our decision-making process, and our ability to drive new business models. A second prediction I would make, which I emphasize in Midnight Lunch, is the rise of the "metalogue." A metalogue is a focused set of communications from few to many. Advances in digital technologies and breakthroughs in visual platforms like holograms will allow more people to engage in metalogue simultaneously, and for their input to be processed and synthesized in realtime. This has huge implications for how innovation happens in the workplace, as well as other parts of our lives, particularly politics and freedom of speech.

These two major trends help define why we need to become adept at collaboration now, and position it as a "superskill" everyone must master. Edison's ability to link collaboration and innovation offers us some important clues on how to succeed in driving value-creation in our digital era.

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

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