Tuesday, September 25, 2012

When is the best time to ask your team for ideas?



You first have to come to accept the fact that some times are better than others to ask all of your smart people to spend time on collaboration.  It may be as simplistic as putting aside some time for ideation (“Join us for innovation week!”).  But human nature is a bit more complex and your organization can wring the creative juices out of your team more optimally under some conditions more than others.  At least if we extrapolate from the social, psychological studies out there.

Right after the big push
One of the best times to ask your people for their support in the collaborative process might be right after they have just completed a big project.  Studies have shown (see note 1) people who are first depleted by a tedious task wrote more favorably than those who did not complete a tedious task.  The depleted people performed just as well, just more favorably.  So if the new product is finally rolled out (“whew”) or the ribbon cutting ceremony just wrapped up, then think about soliciting everyone’s opinion before they steal away to take a few days off.


While people have their fingers crossed
Although folks might grouse about giving up their time to pay attention to the “ideas of the future” (so caught up are they normally with their day to day responsibilities), you can get their attention best while they’re waiting for news.  Taking this further, maybe the ideal time to ask for collaboration is the time period between when everyone submitted their next year’s budget request and the time when they hear the final budget results.  

People are more charitable with their time in a bid to improve their karma.  (See note 2).  Moreover, people are more charitable in these situations so they also become more optimistic about the outcome.  While managers are waiting to hear what their budgets will be might be the perfect time to ask them for their time, their help and for their opinions.  You might find they want to put some time and thought into answering your questions whilst believing the new innovations you present can address the future needs of the organization.  

Find and ask the risk takers
OK, this section is looking at the nature of our (human) hunter/gatherer past.  In a recent study, researchers set up a virtual hunter gatherer environment where men and women could interact anonymously.  The uncertainty of our hunter gatherer past might give us an insight into why groups of people are inclined to collaborate at all.  (See note 3).

People who cultivate resources with small payoffs but low uncertainty (“gatherers”) share little.  Ergo, it might be difficult to get those at your organization who follow the path of least resistance to work in collaborative teams.  On the other hand, people who cultivate resources with big payoffs but high uncertainty (“hunters”) almost always evolve into sharing groups and, as a result, are more successful.  If you can identify those on your team who are “risk takers” you’re likely to easily channel their energies into a collaborative effort that produces the kind of innovative thinking your company is hoping for.  

By the way, good social media technology can monitor the behavior of your user community and help you identify “early adopter” types making it easier to figure out who should be invited to talk to whom. Your idea management system or innovation management system should be able to pay attention to the behaviors of your user community.  Then based on their activity identify experts.

Make sure you reward the right behavior
You may already know some of what follows but bear with me for a few sentences.  Once you’ve identified the best times to ask for ideas you want to keep people engaged in the process.


  • Here’s the part you may know already:  Sometimes it isn’t so smart to give out a cash prize for the best idea.  It usually works in a counter intuitive manner if your goal is collaboration. Instead of people working together, they hoard their ideas to the end of the contest for fear of having someone “steal” their idea and taking the cash prize.  Plus if you give out $25 this month and $50 the next, pretty soon you’re escalating from beyond the world of giving out t-shirts to iPods to iPads to Cars…and then what are you going to give out next year that can top that?



What you need to do is reward contributions with acknowledgement.  The best ideas will come by themselves if you can just get a bunch of people to collaborate.



  • Here’s the new info you may not already know:  Recently Nathan Schneider wrote an essay explaining “the Templeton Effect” in the Chronicle of Higher Education.  He tells the story of the world of academic philosophers.  John Templeton started a foundation giving multimillion dollar grants for answers to the “big questions” like “the scholarly investigation of character”.  A non-Templeton grant to a philosopher is usually closer to $25,000.  Suddenly every contributor is paying attention to the “big questions” but less spiritual inquires are being ignored.  


If you give out large amounts of rewards in any one direction you might find no one is paying attention to the other fields of endeavor that you’re hoping to have the group pursue.  Instead consider posting a list of the top contributors for the month and sending every contributor an email to acknowledge their submission.  Spread out your acknowledgement and rewards across all the areas of interest your organization wants to go after.

The job of an innovation manager has many component parts.  You have to be able to encourage others to give their time in order for you to succeed.  One of the best methods to make your job easier to is to leverage the use of technology to make your job easier.  It doesn’t hurt to use human nature to your advantage as well.

Note 1:  Derrick, J., “Energized by Television: Familiar Fictional Worlds Restore Self-Control, “ Social Psychological and Personality Science
Note 2:  Converse, B. et al., “Investing in Karma: When Wanting Promotes Helping,” Psychological Science.
Note 3: Kaplan, H. et al., “Risk and the Evolution of Human Exchange, “ Proceedings of the Royal Society: Biological Sciences (August 7, 2012)

To learn more about how an innovation manager can improve the chances for success and about the kinds of tools required, please register for our upcoming webinar:  The top dozen ways to make the job of the innovation manager easier”.

Please enroll now in our free webinar!
I’ll explore the challenges of how to optimize user contributions by using technology oriented solutions in our upcoming webinar:  The top dozen ways to make the innovation manager’s job easier.  You can easily register for this complimentary event here:  http://bit.ly/RPFuuu.  Take the time to join your peers for a few minutes next month and learn how other organizations are making the innovation process work for them. 

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, Imec, Phillip Morris, Picanol and ThyssenKrupp. CogniStreamer®

Webinar Recording: Stewarding Technical Innovation in Complex Ecosystems

Last week we were pleased to provide a unique opportunity to dialogue with ret. Vice Admiral Joseph W. Dyer, who throughout his distinguished Naval career stewarded many complex innovation efforts – as the Navy’s Chief Test Pilot, F/A-18 Program Manager, and helping align the supply chain for the business of Naval Aviation as the chief engineer and systems command commander.

i-Robot carries a stick of C4 plastic explosives down the street to an alleged improvised explosive device
iRobot products go beyond the lovable Roomba

Dyer has stewarded the transformation of robotics from an emerging technology to an innovation platform and walked us through some of his experiences in our exclusive BEI: Back End of Innovation webinar F/A-18 to the Robots: Stewarding Technical Innovation in Complex Ecosystems

Missed the live session? You can view a recording of our event here.

Looking to learn more? Dyer will be presenting The People Side of Innovation: A Toolbox at the BEI: Back End of Innovation event on Tuesday October 9th. Readers of this blog can save 15% off the cost of registration with code BEI12BLOG. Visit our website to register.

Hope to see you in Boston!

Michelle LeBlanc is a Social Media Strategist at IIR USA with a specialization in marketing. As part of the FEI team at, she tweets at @BEI_innovation and is the voice behind BEI:Back End of Innovation on Facebook and LinkedIn.  

Monday, September 24, 2012

Special Offer to Attend Front End of Innovation EMEA Conference

There's a reason FEI is the recognized and trusted brand for advancing innovation worldwide. Each year FEI celebrates the power of collective intelligence - creating an environment that empowers innovators to connect meaningfully through purposeful conversations based on content.

We invite you to take a tour of the 2012 Front End of Innovation EMEA event to catch a glimpse of what makes the FEI experience unlike anything you've ever experienced before - the "outside the conference walls" experiences, the collaboration in action, the industry-leading speakers, and the local inventors showcase:

Interested? Join us at the 2013 FEI EMEA, taking place 4-6 March, 2013 in Copenhagen and see for yourself what FEI is all about.

Some highlights from the 2013 program:
Choose from 7 Content Areas:

- Customer Driven Innovation Summit
- Innovation Execution
- Thriving in Emerging Markets
- Aligning Innovation Ecosystems
- Business Model Opportunities
- Design as an Early Influencer in the Innovation Process
- Future Trends Summit
Hard to access Keynotes delivering expertise through storytelling:

- George Buckley, Executive Chairman of the Board, Retired President & CEO, 3M
- Vince Voron, Head of Design, Coca Cola North America
- Jean-Philippe Deschampes, Professor of Technology & Innovation Management, IMB
- Mads Nipper Chief Marketing Officer, LEGO
- Jean-Michel Cosséry Chief Marketing Officer, GE Healthcare
- Jason Foster Founder & Chief Re-User, Replenish
- And many more.

Readers of this blog can save 15% off the price of registration with code FEIEMEA13BLOG. Visit our website to register.

We look forward to seeing you in Copenhagen!

Stay Connected:
Find us on Twitter: https://twitter.com/fei_innovation
Hashtag: #FEIEMEA
LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/groups/Front-End-Innovation-41615
Or Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/FrontEndofInnovation

Thursday, September 20, 2012

It's a little like teaching your Mother to use email: How to get older users to collaborate!



Here are two facts to consider: 
1.       Young talent needs to be nurtured by experienced hands in every discipline.
2.      Successful organizations must use an integrated, comprehensive approach to outperform the competition to serve their clients better and to survive in this difficult economy.  

Putting experienced people together with novices
Even before social networks, organizations encouraged collaboration between older, experienced workers and those new to the work force.  So you end up with apprentice electricians and plumbers who toil under the supervision of old hands… finally obtaining the status of “journeyman” only after benefiting from the advice and guidance of those with more experience.

This holds true for every discipline.  You can graduate with a degree in finance or accounting or medicine or architecture or engineering, but for many careers showing up at work is when your education really begins.  Most organizations try to figure out how to couple experienced hands with up and coming talent.

Get them to use the collaborative system!
It’s no secret one of the challenges in deploying collaborative software is to get users to stop merely “lurking” and start contributing.  Young people are more comfortable with social networking software, or new technology for that matter.  Older folks are generally more conservative and resistant.  But a successful collaborative environment will yield a competitive company.  New innovation comes from tapping into the collective intelligence of smart people.

Besides sharing their experience, why is it important to have those more senior folks in the game?  Lots of reasons…and the same reasons you want lots of people, lots of diversity in every collaborative dialog going on in your system, period.  


  • First off, more senior users are generally more influential, especially among peers of the same age, while younger users (like millenials or Gen X, Y, etc.) are generally more susceptible to being influenced.   
  • We know men are more influential than women (Hey!  Not my fault or prejudice, look at the studies! See note).    
  • But to their credit… women are less susceptible to influence and they exert more influence over men than over other women.  


This means you need to use all the tools at your disposal as “innovation manager” to get all these folks engaged.  Send them emails with links to interesting discussions, have challenges appear on their intranet portals, make contributions to the collaborative system a requirement for bonuses.  Require new project funding only if the topic has been run through the collaborative process and system.  

As your user community starts to make it clear they have loyalties and relationships with others holding a common area of interest, the innovation manager can use the usage statistics of the system to identify influential players and get them connected with others.  Users with a definitive relationship status, part of an identified team, are more influential than users with relationships less well defined. People will serendipitously flock to those who share their passions.  And the Innovation Manager is tasked with helping this process along.

One of the best quotes I've heard lately about changing the way we all do business is this one:  "We all have to break the egg to see what's inside.  Currently we're all standing around admiring the egg".  All companies have to put our client's needs in mind and think in new ways on their behalf.  Without a doubt today's social media technology is the pathway there and collaborative innovation software is the method to use.

Most agree that integrating disciplines, getting everyone to collaborate, is a key element to successful competition in today’s difficult economy.  Collaborative software systems are excellent vehicles to encourage that communication.  You need all types of people to get engaged to be successful.  You need to use all the tools at your disposal to get people to adopt and stay engaged.  This includes those who might prove resistant.

To learn more about the kinds of tools required to pull all this off, please register for our upcoming webinar:  The top dozen ways to make the job of the innovation manager easier”.

Note:  Aral, S. & Walker, D., “Identifying Influential and Susceptible Members of Social Networks”, Science

Please enroll now in our free webinar!
I’ll explore these challenges and present some common technology oriented solutions in our upcoming webinar:  The top dozen ways to make the innovation manager’s job easier.  You can easily register for this complimentary event here:  http://bit.ly/RPFuuu.  Take the time to join your peers for a few minutes next month and learn how other organizations are making the innovation process work for them. 

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, Imec, Phillip Morris, Picanol and ThyssenKrupp. CogniStreamer®

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Innovation Book Club Discussion: Reinventing Corporate Growth


Our August/September innovation book club pick was Reinventing Corporate Growth by Dr. Gene Slowinski and, as we mentioned previously, our featured author will be joining us for a book club discussion on LinkedIn today. This is your chance to ask your questions about corporate growth, discuss your takeaways or questions from the book and connect with the BEI: Back End of Innovation community. Join our LinkedIn group to participate. 

I've written a couple of questions here to start us off, feel free to share your feelings on these or to ask your own questions or simply leave a review of the book as a whole.

First,  a question for the whole group to ponder, how important are strategic alliances in your industry today?

Secondly, in chapter 3, we read about programs where the solvers can come to the problem – do you think solutions like this are the future of innovation? Are there any downsides to this process?

Lastly, we read about encouraging employees to grow their network as well as forming alliances and engaging outside experts throughout the book, but this seems like it would be a pretty big cultural shift for some companies that are traditionally internally focused. Do you have any advice to share for overcoming resistance to this within an organization?


To hear more from Dr. Gene Slowinski join us for the presentation "Partnerships that Match Corporate Objectives: Lessons from the Leaders" on Wednesday, October 10th at the BEI: Back End of Innovation conference. Download the BEI brochure to learn more.

Michelle LeBlanc is a Social Media Strategist at IIR USA with a specialization in marketing. She tweets about innovation under the @BEI_innovation moniker, and everything else at @Leblancly. 


Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Save the Date: Front End of Innovation EMEA Conference

You are invited to attend the 2013 Front End of Innovation EMEA conference, taking place 4-6 March at the Scandic Hotel in Copenhagen Denmark.



All too often, conferences become simply a platform for presenting what's already been done. Not FEI. Now in its 7th year, FEI continues to be the industry’s trusted destination for putting the experience to work. FEI EMEA 2013 lives at the intersection of thinking and acting- a true catalyst for change.

Connect to relevant change and to relevant change-makers responsible for trends, innovation, design, R&D, and product development from all across the EMEA.

Choose from 7 Content Areas:

- Customer Driven Innovation Summit
- Innovation Execution
- Thriving in Emerging Markets
- Aligning Innovation Ecosystems
- Business Model Opportunities
- Design as an Early Influencer in the Innovation Process
- Future Trends Summit

The best Keynotes delivering expertise through storytelling:

- George Buckley, Executive Chairman of the Board, Retired President & CEO, 3M
- Vince Voron, Head of Design, Coca Cola North America
- Jean-Philippe Deschampes, Professor of Technology & Innovation Management, IMB
- Mads Nipper Chief Marketing Officer, LEGO
- Jean-Michel Cosséry Chief Marketing Officer, GE Healthcare
- Jason Foster Founder & Chief Re-User, Replenish

Readers of this blog save 15% off the standard rate. Mention code FEIEMEA13BLOG to reserve this rate. Visit our website to register.

We look forward to seeing you in Copenhagen!

The FEI EMEA Event Team


Stay in Touch:
Find us on Twitter: https://twitter.com/fei_innovation
Hashtag: #FEIEMEA
LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/groups/Front-End-Innovation-41615
Or Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/FrontEndofInnovation

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Reminder: Innovation Activities Next Week!

Next week will be a big one for BEI: Back End of Innovation activity. Please save the date for our two upcoming free events!

Register now for "F/A-18 to the Robots: Stewarding Technical Innovation in Complex Ecosystems" a complimentary webinar featuring BEI: Back End of Innovation speaker Joseph W. Dyer. This exclusive one hour event will take place on Thursday, Sept. 20, 2012 at 12:00 PM EDT.

Join us for a unique opportunity to dialogue with ret. Vice Admiral Joseph W. Dyer, who throughout his distinguished Naval career stewarded many complex innovation efforts – as the Navy’s Chief Test Pilot, F/A-18 Program Manager, and helping align the supply chain for the business of Naval Aviation as the chief engineer and systems command commander. Upon retiring he helped grow iRobot from MIT spinout, through IPO, and into a successful publicly traded company. As Chief Strategy Officer for iRobot, Dyer has stewarded the transformation of robotics from an emerging technology to an innovation platform.

Joe Dyer leads strategy development at iRobot. He comes to iRobot from a career in the U.S. Navy. Dyer last served as the commander of the Naval Air Systems Command, where he was responsible for research, development, test and evaluation, engineering and logistics for naval aircraft, air launched weapons and sensors. His naval career also included positions as naval aviation's chief engineer, commander of the Naval Air Warfare Center, Aircraft Division and F/A-18 program manager. Earlier in his career, he served as the Navy's chief test pilot. Dyer holds a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from North Carolina State University and a master’s degree in finance from the Naval Post Graduate School in Monterey, California. He is an elected fellow in the Society of Experimental Test Pilots and the National Academy of Public Administration. Dyer chairs NASA's Aerospace Safety Advisory Panel.
 
Register here.
Please use priority code M2414W1Blog when registering.

Plus, Wednesday, September 19th, 2012 marks the date of our BEI: Back End of Innovation book club discussion of Reinventing Corporate Growth by Dr. Gene Slowinski. Slowinski will be joining us on LinkedIn to respond to your questions, so make sure to join our group now to participate.

Add the book club to your calendar

I look forward to connecting with our innovation community next week! As always, if you wish to join us at BEI: Back End of Innovation this October, visit the website to register. Readers of this blog can save 15% with code BEI12BLOG.

Michelle LeBlanc is a Social Media Strategist at IIR USA with a specialization in marketing. As part of the FEI team at, she tweets at @BEI_innovation and is the voice behind BEI:Back End of Innovation on Facebook and LinkedIn. 

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

IXL Center on The Back-end of Innovation

Republished with permission from IXL Center. See the original post here.

Many people think that innovation is about generating ideas. In our previous articles we discussed how structures must exist that allow ideas to reach decision-makers, but it is not enough to merely come up with new ideas—this is only the “front-end” of innovation.  Since ideas must be executed in order to generate value, a “back-end” of innovation is required to test and refine the ideas and make them a reality. The unit of execution of innovation is not the idea itself, but a project derived from the idea. Many people can claim to have innovative ideas, but only the ones who actually implement them can claim to have innovated.

Not all ideas can be implemented though, because there are limited resources. Organizations must choose wisely which ideas they will focus on, given the resources they have. Ideally, they should focus only on the ideas that will succeed and have a large, positive impact, but without a crystal ball it is difficult know which ones to place the bets on. Despite the best predictions, when ideas are put into practice, they collide with many unforeseen variables, and can turn out very differently from what was expected. This is where the “back-end” of innovation plays a crucial role: ideas can be tested and refined before they are executed, either increasing their likelihood of success, or proving early on that they will fail so as to avoid costly investment losses. This testing and refining is done through lower-cost experiments that prove (or disprove) feasibility, demand and profitability.

Creating this “back-end” of innovation has two components to it: first, organizations must create a culture of experimentation and learning, and second, employees need support in designing and executing experiments. The first key component is creating an atmosphere where experimentation is encouraged and failure is seen as a lesson learned rather than a finger-pointing opportunity. Many organizations want to avoid failure at all cost—creating a culture where ideas are not executed unless all possible risks have been eliminated. But in the world of innovation, lessons learned from failures are critical to building successful breakthrough businesses. This makes failure more of an asset than a liability, especially in the early stages of idea implementation.

Dr. Patel from IXL Center, explains that "leaders have to tolerate failures and employees have to take risks. We need to create a culture of learning similar to that seen in kindergarten – or, in a research lab. In either place, kids or scientists learn by experimenting, by trial and error. They are passionate, patient and persistent. Out of ten tries (experiments), they may both find one success. But neither the kid nor the scientist would say that they had nine failures. Instead, they say that they had nine learnings that allowed them to get the one success."

A great example of such a culture is Alcoa. Paul O’Neill wanted Alcoa to become a safe company. For this he created a culture that emphasized learning and experimentation: even though they wanted to become the safest company, when employees made mistakes it was more important for them to report them so that the rest of the company could learn how to avoid those mistakes and others as well. In one instance, O'Neill fired Alcoa's best division president because "one hundred fifty people [...] succumbed to carbon monoxide fumes and had to be treated at an emergency clinic. The incident was never reported, so others at Alcoa were not informed nor able to learn from the accident" (Paul O'Neill: Values Into Action, HBR Working Knowledge). Alcoa managed to fulfill its goals because of this culture that placed great value on learning and experimentation. It is in this environment where ideas can flourish and become a reality.

Even with a culture of experimentation and learning, employees still need support in knowing what kinds of experiments to run, and often need resources to run them as well. A good place to start is with the aspects of the idea that are most uncertain. For some ideas, there will be a lot of uncertainty around their feasibility: Can it be produced and are we the best ones to produce it? For other ideas, the uncertainty may lie more around demand: Is there are a market for this and are they willing to pay for it? Other ideas may have uncertainty around the profitability: Can we produce it cheap enough and sell it at a high enough price to make it worth it? Employees must be able to determine the biggest uncertainties, and design experiments that will address those uncertainties.

Experiments can range from simple phone calls to lead customers to sophisticated working prototypes. A good place to start for reducing uncertainty around feasibility is making mockups and prototypes, getting feedback from others on the look and feel, signing NDAs with potential partners, and running demonstration projects that show that certain expectations were achieved. A good place to start for reducing uncertainty around demand is making a brochure that clearly states what you offer and what the advantages are, getting feedback from lead customers, and getting advanced purchase orders from clients. A good place to start for reducing uncertainty around profitability is getting cost estimates from producers, margin estimates from distributors, and feedback from potential customers on what it currently costs them to solve the same problem through alternate methods.

Increasing the likelihood of success of ideas is an iterative process in which rapid feedback from small successes and failures is used to transform the idea into something that has high feasibility, strong demand and will have a positive impact on the organization’s bottom line. It is important to give failure the value it deserves—a tremendous source of insights that will ultimately lead to success. As Henry Ford once said: “Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently.” Innovative organizations need to create space and provide resources for their employees to experiment with ideas, take risks, fail fast, learn from mistakes, and iteratively refine ideas until they are ready to go to market.
Want to hear more from IXL Center? Join them at BEI: Back End of Innovation on Wednesday 10/10/2012 at 4:45pm. Register here.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Free Webinar: The top dozen ways to make the innovation manager’s job easier


 It’s hard to be an innovation manager.  If this is your job description you know this already.


We have some answers in our upcoming webinar:  The top dozen ways to make the innovation manager's job easier. 

The job of an innovation manager is not easy for multiple reasons.  For instance,

  • You’re chartered to produce results, but you’re dependent on others for your success. 
  • You need to track and measure your progress but it's hard to compare two ideas and you end up comparing apples and oranges.   
  • The whole future of your organization may depend on your success yet the pools of those who contribute have “day jobs” preventing them from giving you any of their time.
 
It can get even worse.  If the process you’re following is informal, 
  • You’re likely collecting everyone’s ideas by email.    
  • You’re putting them into spreadsheets and sending those spreadsheets around to mangers for their vote, for their approval, for their input.   
  • You have to manually sort through these ideas and somehow put them into categories.   
  • If you’ve successfully got everyone to contribute, you’re likely overwhelmed with lots of totally unmanageable data.


OK, as one of my early managers once told me:  “Don’t’ bring me a problem; bring me a solution”.  And there are ways to make the job of an innovation manager easier.  There are ways to apply structure to what is by its very nature a chaotic process.  There’s a way to measure the value of ideas so you can compare them to the value of others.  There are routes to follow that encourage your user communities to give up some of their time; in fact there are ways to get them to WANT to give up their time to help you.  You can have them see the task of finding solutions the most important thing they are interested in…right after their own issues, anyway.

I'm a proponent of using technology to support your company's innovation strategy and to nurture the company climate in order to encourage a collaborative approach.  The user of technology, well applied, can make the life of an innovation manager much better.  Your job can be made easier by automating parts of the process.  I'm talking about innovation management software and idea management software

This might include the use of social networking to get everyone’s attention and interest.  Technology can automatically measure the wisdom of your crowd (in a trustworthy fashion).  You can have confidence that your company’s intellectual property is secure.  

Please enroll now in our free webinar!
I’ll explore these challenges and present some common technology oriented solutions in our upcoming webinar:  The top dozen ways to make the innovation manager’s job easier.  You can easily register for this complimentary event here:  http://bit.ly/RPFuuu.  Take the time to join your peers for a few minutes next month and learn how other organizations are making the innovation process work for them.  

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, Imec, Phillip Morris, Picanol and ThyssenKrupp. CogniStreamer®


Clicky Web Analytics