What is innovation management software? Unlike traditional collaborative software ventures which emphasize open communication across an entire organization, innovation management software is more selective in how different members of the company interact. The software is tailored to construct hierarchies of ideas based on “reputation ranking” and “automated stage graduation.” Essentially, innovation management software has a dual purpose: it’s both an organizational tool to keep concepts from sprouting unwieldy tangents, and also a gatekeeper to prevent suggestions such as “More Donuts!” from crossing the CEO’s desk.
Spigit, a company which has sold this type of software to Pfizer, Cisco, and Southwest Airlines among others, sells innovation management software as a tool for global corporations to sample the ideas of their workforce without having to leave Corporate HQ. In Spigit’s introductory video, a field comprised of thousands of gray faceless drones is swept over by a crane, which occasionally bends down to touch individuals who are clothed in color. As the video explains, by assigning each employee a “reputation ranking,” the ideas a high-ranking employee inputs into the software will be given priority over an employee with a lower ranking, thereby screening out unproductive chatter.
This type of selection process can be productive, provided that the system has a high degree of flexibility, and can’t be artificially manipulated. While some employees produce consistently high quality, valuable ideas, other employees may work for a company for years before they produce a truly innovative concept. Of course, in a workforce of thousands, invariably some employees will not be particularly innovative at any time during their employment. As with the management of any company, the trick is in separating truly valuable ideas from highly talented manipulators, who grease the system in order to gain access to the higher decision making realms.
Based on the list of Spigit’s clientele, their innovation management software has cut costs, boosted profit margins, and created closer working relationships between high-ranking corporate management and the average employee. Innovation management software may be the 21st century’s version of an objective middle-manager, who has an intimate knowledge of all 7,000 members of the workforce.