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Innovation Management in Enterprise Social Networking

5 Social Tools for Collecting & Collaborating on Ideas – From Concept to Reality


Enterprise social networking platforms are evolving with new innovation management technologies to foster unleashing of ideas that create business value. Innovation management is defined as the collection and collaboration of ideas and the processes involved in advancing development.

Using the case study of 3M's Post-it Notes, the inventor and chemist, Arthur Fry, repurposed glue designed for something that didn't quite work. Cultivating this kind of innovation is the goal but not only the job for scientists, entire organizations and often customers are invited to chime in.

What is the number one reason to consider an innovation tool? Dr. James Gardner, Chief Strategy Officer at Mindjet, who had been in the same role at Spigit, offered, "The most value for innovation management comes from doing new things and having a tool to scale crowds. We are at a new frontier to engage employees and to make work enjoyable--it is like Mary Poppins adding a spoonful of sugar." Dr. Gardner introduced innovation techniques for a major bank in the U.K. that resulted in internet banking, and is the author of several books on innovation.

To accomplish innovation, these social innovation tools use crowdsourcing, either in small or large groups, to drive new engagement levels through participation and accountability.

Social gaming concepts are also used that involve behavioral techniques to gauge acceptance and promotion of ideas. The psychological dynamics of stakes and prizes come into play to increase motivation. In a similar way, teaching methods are successfully employing gaming techniques in learning and development programs to leverage employee performance.

Here are five innovation management tools among a field of many for enterprise social networks, and examples to help you turn ideas into products and services in an innovation program.


BrightIdea, Inc. offers a suite of innovation products. Webstorm is an easy customizable tool to create an innovation social network to collect and collaborate on ideas. Facebook-style social feeds and profiles are designed to engage employees, customers and stakeholders. The Switchboard SB proposals tool provides functions to comment, share feedback, and privately develop proposals. BrightIdea's Pipeline is a social project management tool, offering the ability to create ad hoc milestones and stage gate processes. Dashboard reporting offers real-time metrics for tracking by stage, value, and status. The Ideas Site Plugin can be used to collect ideas directly from your website. Webstorm integrates with SharePoint, Yammer, Jive, and Tibbr, social media sites Facebook and Twitter, and also offers mobile applications.


Icon is a free crowdsourcing platform developed by Spigit, now a part of Mindjet, to capture innovation in real-time. Automatic idea generation features include posting ideas toward challenges, and getting feedback through voting. Icon rates ideas using the scientific method of pairwise comparison to see what is preferred, until the response with the most wins rises to the top. In this example, Icon pays participants a virtual wage and will show active participants on a scoreboard. The most active participants are called geniuses, and so this motivation gets them up to the top. Icon integrates with Yammer, or its upgrade product, SpigitEngage, a core idea management platform, including integration points with Sharepoint, Jive, Salesforce, LinkedIn, and Facebook; and offers mobile applications.


Imaginatik plc offers Innovation Central to harness ideas through four stages of innovation: discovery, ideation, decisions, and results. A cloud-based platform, Imaginatik offers challenge-based ideation methodology, enabling you to drive innovation by collecting ideas on targeted business problems and opportunities. Throughout your Innovation Central community, participants can submit and discuss ideas as well as rank and vote on ideas. Imaginatik uses "kudos" recognizing a person's innovation style and the points they earn in creating ideas and actions. The Global Dashboard, Head-to-Head Reviews, and Results Engine help track progress, score and evaluate ideas, and measure innovation results.


Kindling, Inc. is a social innovation software company. The newest release, Kindling3 is a web-based application accessible from smart phone, tablet, and desktop. Kindling helps organizations gather input from cross-functional teams regardless of geographical region. The company is known for its intuitive design and claims the highest customer engagement level of 77% in the innovation management market. Ideas are posted for group discussions in wiki-style editing form and are advanced based on peer feedback, discussion, and voting. Kindling integrates with Yammer as its internal social network where campaigns and announcements are broadcast into the main activity feed. Corporate users can also take advantage of the Kindling API to integrate into their other systems, like an intranet or reporting system.


Innovator Express is the fast start innovation management software from MindMatters Technologies, Inc., offering three key product components. Flagpole for crowdsourcing, helps to collect new concepts or requirements from customers and ideas from employees. StageTrak moves product ideas into projects and includes a new feature that merges innovation with “stage and gate” to help launch projects, monitor progress, and build credibility. Pat.Pend manages intellectual property during idea generation and project creation. According to the company’s published case study of its product use in 3M’s Industrial Product Group, MindMatters has helped the commercialization process during the critical incubation stage.

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