Idea Management Platforms

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= "Moving on from the suggestion box, many organizations now use platforms that allow internal or external communities to contribute ideas, which are then debated, developed, and voted on. Idea management platforms are commonly used to source suggestions from employees, as well as to engage with customer communities."


Ross Dawson:

"Idea Management (sometimes “ideation”) is used to describe the process, systems, and supporting software to generate, assess, filter, and take action on ideas. The platforms were originally primarily used to support idea generation from internal staff. However these platforms, and now some others designed explicitly for the purpose, are often being used to enable external groups such as customers or the general public to contribute ideas."


"The emphasis in idea management is far more on collaboration in filtering and developing ideas. In addition financial incentives are usually far less important, or sometimes non-existent."

The process:

1) brand site; 2) define community; 3) provide guidance; 4) submit ideas; 5) community voting and feedback; 6) idea development; 7) organization feedback; 8) selection; 9) reward and recognition; 10) analysis


The idea and suggestion management space has essentially three types of vendor offerings:


Tom Powell:

Centralized Aggregators:

   * Get Satisfaction
   * SuggestionBox
   * FeVote
   * Featurelist

Anyone can start a product or company page on these sites to submit ideas, suggestions, or complaints, which are then voted up or down, Digg-style, and commented on. Companies pay for access to this data, more powerful features, and the ability to "claim" pages and register official employee moderators. Like review sites such as Epinions, conversation happens on these sites with or without you.

Tool Providers:

   * SalesForce Ideas Management
   * UserVoice
   * IdeaScale
   * Get Satisfaction
   * Kindling

These systems provide similar functionality to that of the centralized aggregators listed above but are controlled and run by the companies themselves. They include features such as ratings (or up/down votes), moderation, the ability to limit the number of votes per user or the access of certain groups, time-limited contests, and automatic searching for duplicate idea submissions.

Integrated Innovation Management Suites:

   * Imaginatik
   * BrainBank
   * SalesForce Ideas Management
   * Brightidea
   * Spigit



  • IdeaNet

Innovation Factory's IdeaNet idea management software is a social media based software suite to support collaborative ideation and knowledge management. The software is delivered in a software as a service model and is used by large multinationals having tens of thousands of users.

  • IdeaScale

IdeaScale is a cloud-based solution used by companies to interact with customer communities who are commenting on product developments. It has also been used as a forum for U.S. government initiatives. Features include leaderboards for the most active contributors and a Facebook app. IdeaScale claim they are fully scalable across differing organizational sizes and also offer a freemium model.

  • Imaginatik

Imaginatik markets itself as “Innovation as a Service”, with its platform designed around the typical life cycle of an innovation program. Mainly intended for internal use in larger enterprises, the company also provides a range of consulting services. Imaginatik has been providing idea management platforms for over 15 years.

  • Spigit

Founded in 2007, Spigit’s platform is aimed at larger enterprises. It has a series of branded products that can be applied to a range of scenarios, both internally and externally-focused. Features include an algorithm called RepUrank which assesses employee’s contributions and allocates them a score. Participants can also use a variety of voting techniques to show support for ideas, for example by using a virtual currency to trade ideas and allocate budgets to projects.

  • Qmarkets

Qmarkets bills itself as providing “collective wisdom solutions”. In addition to standard idea management functionality it also includes a prediction market platform. It offers incentive programs and the ability to view individuals’ forecasting success.


"Some corporations, such as Cisco with its I-Prize, have attracted significant attention by running ad-hoc contests with attractive financial rewards. Other companies have established platforms for ongoing public idea submission. Two of the best known examples are My Starbucks Idea and Dell’s IdeaStorm."

Best Buy Idea X

"Best Buy Idea X is consumer products retailer Best Buy’s internally built idea management forum for Best Buy customers to post, debate, and vote on ideas about how to improve the consumer experience. Idea submissions are solicited in areas including ways to lower Best Buy’s impact on the environment, new products, and suggestions for locations of new stores. Best Buy then offer their feedback.

Within three months of the platform’s launch in June 2009, 1,000 ideas had already been submitted. In the first year this had reached over 7,000 with over 2,000 active users. Successful ideas which the platform has helped bring to fruition are a pilot to establish free WiFi in stores, trialling electronic receipts, and a packaging improvement that stemmed from an idea originally submitted as “get rid of those stupid plastic boxes.” (source: Getting Results from Crowds)

Swedish Avanza Bank


"Swedish Avanza Bank, which has developed a system that lets consumers suggest and vote on each other’s ideas for potential implementation.

Avanza Bank’s Labs is a dedicated part of its site where customers can suggest ideas large and small for improving the bank. Each idea gets listed on the Labs page, where it is available for voting by others who visit. Those discussed most frequently and/or receiving the most votes are then taken into serious consideration by the bank for possible translation into a real solution. The bank also uses its Labs site to solicit customer suggestions on new products and ideas of its own, such as on a forthcoming Android application." (

Starbucks-sponsored Betacup


"That something needs to be done about the ubiquitous but wasteful paper coffee cup seems to be a matter of fairly widespread agreement. We’ve seen the development of myriad reusable replacements and—more recently—reusable lids, but now a new effort is tapping the crowds for further ideas.

With sponsorship from none other than Starbucks itself, the mission driving the Betacup project is to find the best ideas to eliminate paper cup consumption and then help bring these ideas to life. It’s not just another reusable cup design that’s being sought, however—rather, “think beyond just the vessel for carrying coffee, and develop a way to cause behavior change at a massive scale,” the effort’s creators urge. Toward that end, Betacup launched an international contest on April 1 by which creative thinkers all over the world can submit and rate new ideas for a sustainable and convenient alternative. Submissions can be made in the form of image, audio or video files, as long as they’re posted on the Jovoto-based collaborative platform by June 1. Participants can also collect karma for ratings and comments during the rating period, which extends through June 15. Entries will be judged on a variety of qualities, including how they reduce waste, what resources they require, new or existing capabilities required for implementation, and the overall user experience. A total of USD 20,000 in prizes will be awarded to the developers of the winning ideas, including USD 10,000 for the top choice of Betacup’s board of advisors; the remainder will be split evenly among the top 5 community favourites." (

Volkswagen App My Ride


'Volkswagen just launched a new contest — dubbed App My Ride—to invite designers, programmers, developers and interested users to help develop applications for its future in-car infotainment systems.

Volkswagen has already begun developing a prototype for its new system—involving, specifically, a touch-screen integrated in a vehicle’s center console—and it hopes to research as many potential apps as possible. Toward that end, it has launched an innovation community through which consumers can contribute their own apps and ideas. To develop an app, participants must have not just an idea but also a graphic design of the user interface and the ability to program in Adobe Flash or Flex. They can then submit their compiled app as a SWF file; in fact, the contest’s software development kit even includes an AppPlayer for testing those applications. Those without full-fledged apps, meanwhile, are welcome to submit their ideas for consideration as well. Participants can submit as many apps and ideas as they want by the contest’s June 30 deadline. In August, the most innovative application will be chosen by the App My Ride community and a jury consisting of Volkswagen managers and external experts. The first-place winner will receive EUR 3,000 as well as a trip to take part in an international vehicle presentation, including flight and hotel. Second- and third-prize winners will receive EUR 2,000 and EUR 1,000, respectively. Other prizes for apps, ideas and participation will include non-cash awards such as a Volkswagen car for a weekend; a special prize for students, meanwhile, involves a 6-month internship within Volkswagen Group Research.

By launching this contest, Volkswagen is the first car manufacturer to crowdsource product development" (


The material is sourced from Ross Dawson's Getting Results from Crowds.

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