What is Innovation Management Software?

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.

Christopher Smith. Canadian. CEO of opin.ca. We provide enterprise content management solutions for governments around the world.

6 Comments on "What is Innovation Management Software?"

  1. M. Smith says:

    fascinating

  2. janelle says:

    I would also say check out http://www.brightidea.com – with customers like AMEX, HP, Nielsen, Sony, Kraft, City of San Francisco, etc. Brightidea has driven more innovation success than any other company.

    A really good recap of what an ‘Innovation Social Network’ really is and why innovation management really works- check out this blog post: http://bit.ly/6YLzhw

  3. Hey – Thanks for the Spigit mention here. I really like your take on innovation management software. This line particularly intrigued me:

    “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.”

    I’d never really thought of it that way. You’ve picked up on an aspect that is often discussed in terms of social software and collaboration = the threat that can represent for middle management inside organizations. I know Andrew McAfee has talked about this.

    Good way to think about connecting the organization at large, across business units, departments and geography. In this case, with regard to problem solving and innovation. Both of those activities require real-time, fresh and diverse thinking. And the ability tap the organization at large.

    Hutch Carpenter
    VP of Product
    Spigit, Inc.
    http://spigit.com

    • Chris Smith says:

      Thanks, Hutch. We do a lot of presentations on innovation management software, and we find that one line in particular helps grab the attention of our audience. I’m glad you enjoyed the article. I encourage you to keep participating on the blog.

  4. Daniel says:

    I would add a differentiator in spigit is it allows people who may not have that next Innovative Idea to be engaged and gain reputation and rank through quality participation in the vetting of the Idea or through the idea Market.

    Never underestimate the value of the conversationalist / influencer’s to bring an idea from concept to valid business case.

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