Tuesday, December 11, 2012

The Top 4 Most Significant Trends: 2012 The Year in Innovation

It has been a big year in innovation, and in innovation management systems, as well.  A couple obvious phenomena popped up and deserve to be noted.  Perhaps, it will give others food for thought as they close out the year and get ready for 2013.  Here are some trends I’ve picked up by talking to those responsible for innovation at large organizations over this past year.

1.    The short term challenge.  Although there is a general acceptance of social networks to serve as the technology backbone supporting innovation (with strong idea management attributes), short burst challenges to collect ideas on a given topic are in more demand.  

Companies may not be able to commit to a long term strategy but feel fine embracing the notion of asking their employees for ideas on a certain topic.  “How can we do this one thing better?”, “How can we best redesign this control panel?” or just a general idea box have appeal.  These programs have finite cost, require little training and are likely to produce tangible results.

2.     Crowd Sourcing combines with Open Innovation and Idea Management.  

Social media has the potential to provide free labor.  Organizations find there are parties interested in their topic because they are consumers of the company’s products; the company’s product has an effect on the civilization folks live in, or just to participate in the intellectual exercise.  Companies have always tapped into groups with a vested interest like vendors, partners or paid academics, but now the public will willingly participate with the right incentive and call to action.  This exercise dovetails nicely with the short term challenge listed above and can take the form of a joint internal employee/client campaign, or just an intriguing question posed on Facebook (and everything in between).


3.     Finally the analysts are coming to terms with innovation.  

Perhaps this is because the CIO offices are asking for guidance, but after a few fits and starts, the analysts out there are finally producing Innovation Technology segment overviews.  They are looking at the top software vendors, trying to compare and contrast them, and trying to rate them based on the traditional criteria applied to other areas.  Innovation isn’t CRM or ERP yet, but we’re getting started.

4.     Managed Services are maturing and in demand.  

A number of idea management software vendors began offering “innovation as a service” by the beginning of last year to mixed results.  The essential flaws in these program’s approaches were the nature of the “service”.  

Software vendors offered either the same Innovation Experts they always bring to the table in any deployment or they assigned Community Managers.  In both cases it seems the consultants knew innovation, but they could never learn the vertical industry or the specific company as well as the user community.  But this offering eventually evolved to a successful hybrid.  

Companies can assign in house experts to be the moderator of a challenge, while the software vendor provides experts to operate the back end functionality of the software.  A perfect blend especially when coupled with the short term challenges discussed above in section number 1.

It has been a big year for Innovation Management.  All the software vendors have enhanced their product offering with new features, stronger security, more flexible dashboards, mobile access and much more.  Companies have appointed additional Chief Innovation Officers and have given them budget and people (although these have sometimes been migrated from existing departments like New Product Development, Lean Six Sigma or R&D).  

Most importantly, large organizations have recognized the benefits of supporting their Innovation Strategy with technology and are working hard to create climates where an employee’s contribution toward something more than what is associated with his day job, is respected.  


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Ron Shulkin is Vice President of the Americas for CogniStreamer®, an innovation ecosystem.  CogniStreamer serves as a Knowledge Management System, Idea Management System and Social Network for Innovation.  You can learn more about CogniStreamer here 
http://bit.ly/ac3x60
Ron manages The Idea Management Group on LinkedIn (Join Here) http://bit.ly/dvsYWD . You can follow him Twitter. You can follow his blogs at this Facebook group.  You can connect with Ron on LinkedIn.
CogniStreamer® is an idea management software tool.  It is an open innovation and collaboration platform where internal colleagues and external partner companies or knowledge centers join forces to create, develop and assess innovative ideas within strategically selected areas. The CogniStreamer® portal is an ideal collaborative platform that invites users to actively build a strong innovation portfolio. In addition it provides a powerful resource for internal and external knowledge sharing.  The CogniStreamer® framework is used by industry leaders such as Atlas Copco, Bekaert, Case New Holland, Cytec, Doctors without Borders, Imec, Phillip Morris, Picanol and ThyssenKrupp. CogniStreamer®


1 comment:

Justinas Vaiciulis said...

What a post! I couldn't agree more - these are truly significant trends. It's a real pleasure to see that innovation management software company I'm currently working with (talkfreely.com) closely follows these trends. Well, except for 4th maybe, they do have a little different approach there :)

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