No longer a rarity these days, industry disruption is becoming a clear and present danger. Knowing this, even the most established and successful companies are investing in smarter innovation strategies to defend against being blindsided into obsolescence. By allowing them to sense key shifts in the market and react early on, these strategies enable forward-thinking businesses to differentiate themselves, gain a competitive edge, and leap ahead of impending disruption.
At Brightidea, we know that a successful innovation strategy hinges on having software in place that’s just as innovative as the company using it. With that in mind, we’ve evolved the Brightidea platform with a number of powerful capabilities—plus new apps and a brand new product—that we’re excited to roll out with our Fall 2017 Release.
A New Product to Support Funded Innovation Labs
An increasingly common way for companies to stay ahead of the game and pre-empt disruption is to run a fully funded corporate innovation lab. Unlike innovation programs that are run as a shared service within their organizations, innovation labs have the budget and authority to launch and develop their own projects autonomously. What’s more, they employ a lean startup approach, identifying the most promising projects to work on and investing only enough funding to prove the potential for success. To accomplish this, labs run a core innovation process, in search of opportunities where a new product meets a market need, and where technological capabilities align with consumer demand. With that, they’re able to find hidden sources of growth and opportunity and wield enormous impact at their companies—and ultimately discover new frontiers.
Being on the cutting edge of innovation, many of our own customers are running funded innovation labs. So we’ve developed a whole new product with capabilities to support the core innovation process, enabling innovation leaders like you to run an innovation lab as streamlined as possible. Built on the existing platform, Brightidea for Innovation Labs empowers your project teams to achieve three goals critical to innovation lab success:
- Work and collaborate more efficiently, adopt a lean mindset, and maintain a sharp focus
- Substantiate your projects and showcase their accomplishments to key stakeholders and executives
- Track and report on innovation impact to the business—in detail and in real time
Achieving these goals will enable you to tackle your riskiest, highest-potential projects and measurably improve their chances of developing into marketable breakthroughs.
An entirely new feature set supporting the core innovation process is the platform’s Collaborative Team Workspace. By putting organizing structures and processes in place, the workspace greatly facilitates the collaboration, focus, and discipline of innovation teams and ultimately supports them in building a holistic business model for their innovation projects.
Business Model Tool. As a template for developing business models, a Business Model Canvas can be a valuable resource for a funded innovation lab. With its new Business Model Tool, the Brightidea platform now enables you to easily build, maintain, and collaborate on such a canvas, providing your lab with a powerful capability to visualize all the interdependent elements of a business model: value proposition, potential customers, channels, resources, costs, and revenue streams of a new product or service. With this capability, innovation teams can now ensure they consider every critical building block of a proposed business, adjusting specific elements of the model to iterate on and optimize it.
Riskiest Assumptions Tool. One of the hallmarks of an innovation lab is the efficiency with which it consumes resources. Borrowing from the principles of lean startup, a lab imparts a strict discipline to developing new ideas by closely tracking and shutting down projects that don’t pass a threshold of viability. One effective way to do this is to identify and test the riskiest assumption, the weakest link in the chain of assumptions on which the success of a business model depends. With its Riskiest Assumptions Tool, the Brightidea platform now enables your team to inventory, analyze, and rank all the risks involved in a taking a new innovation to market. The top risk of the moment is prominently shown, enabling your team to test and work on reducing it, and ensuring the overall project is conducted as efficiently as possible.
Another critical capability for an innovation lab is to project financial impact and then compare that against real costs and benefits. To meet that need, we’re rolling out a new Business Impact Tab and Dashboard. Together they enable teams to record and clearly visualize the projected and actual impact across all innovation projects, and compare them against previously set targets—all in real time. The real-time updates and visualizations make this complex information easy to understand and instantly accessible.
Brightidea for Innovation Labs stands alongside the newly-named Brightidea for Innovation Programs, our existing product targeted to innovation programs. Both are available to current platform customers, while under contract.
New Apps to Support a Wider Gamut of Innovation Activities
In 2016, we launched nine innovation apps. They were developed on patterns we noticed emerging in customer usage of the platform. And the enthusiastic response we’ve gotten from users has far exceeded our expectations! Since then, we’ve identified new types of corporate innovation activities among our customers. And so, to support them, we’ve developed six entirely new apps, which we’re launching with the Fall 2017 Release.
Name and Recognize. We’ve noticed a lot of our customers using the platform in creative ways to get more value from it, specifically for its powerful collaboration and crowdsourcing capabilities. Since many have used it to reach out to employees for help in naming an project, we now introduce the Name app for accomplishing that task easily. The app enables a team lead to quickly crowdsource ideas for naming an internal team, project, or initiative. Similarly, many customers have used the platform to recognize achievements within their organizations. And so, the new Recognize app was developed for employees to nominate their colleagues for accomplishments, and for senior leaders to recognize and showcase them. These two new apps will join three others (Discuss, Solve, and Optimize) as part of Brightidea for Innovation Programs.
Consult and Transform. To evolve their existing business models, companies often seeking innovative ways to make the most of internal resources. We now introduce the Consult app for your internal consulting group to build and manage their project backlog, focus on projects with the greatest ROI, and measure the business impact from their engagements. The new Transform app enables a CIO (or other digital lead) to implement and manage an entire digital transformation strategy. The app can be used to source and evaluate opportunities for the digital transformation of a business, and then develop the most promising for greatest financial impact. These two new apps will join Suggest as part of the upcoming Brightidea for Organizational Transformation (early 2018), providing program managers with dedicated tools for infusing innovation throughout their organizations.
Accelerate and Venture. To boost their competitive edge, many companies look to connect to external sources of innovation. We’ve seen some of our own customers getting involved in venture funds and/or setting up accelerators, so we’ve created two new apps to support them. To help corporate venture teams spend less time and energy managing deal flow, the Venture app provides a structured process with automated communications, eliminating the inefficiency of emails and memos. With its crowdsourcing capabilities, partners can source new investment opportunities and access target companies. The new Accelerate app helps the leader of an accelerator to enforce disciplined execution, by guiding startup teams through distinct phases and checkpoints and keeping everyone involved on track. With this rigor, teams can increase their chances of more funding down the road. Together, these two apps are being released as a preview to the upcoming Brightidea for Innovation Ecosystems (early 2018), helping program managers to engage in open innovation efforts with other entities, such as universities, partners, and startups.
Fifteen Innovation Apps. With these six new apps, the platform’s total now comes to fifteen, each tailored to a specific function. Collectively, they enable program leaders to run key innovation activities faster and with greater efficiently and versatility. And by running multiple sub-processes at the same time and feeding different areas of the innovation pipeline, many of the apps streamline the innovation process, dramatically decreasing the time to develop and market innovations.
New Tools to Enhance Communication—and Collaboration
Consistent with our goal for Brightidea to be the most advanced innovation platform, we’ve added a number of other great new features. Among these are some new tools to enhance communication—with stakeholders, project team members, and even the platform itself.
Project Gallery. Innovation leaders often need to communicate about ongoing projects to company executives and project stakeholders. The new Project Gallery has been designed to support this, upgrading our original Idea Boards feature with highly versatile filtering, sorting, and search functions. It not only provides a comprehensive view of every project in your innovation program or lab, but enables you to zoom in on projects that are:
- At a certain stage in their progress
- Aligned with a particular strategic objective
- Receiving a specified range of funding
- Projected to generate a minimum amount of revenue
The Project Gallery provides a single place for anyone with access to see what’s going on with projects in your program or lab, quickly and easily.
New Integrations: Slack and Alexa. Users of Slack can now use it to stay on top of initiatives in Brightidea. Whenever an important event occurs in the platform (such as the submission of a new idea or comment), a notification is sent to a Slack channel of your choice—in real time. Best of all, you can easily add this functionality yourself in just a few short steps; our Setup Guide explains how. The Brightidea platform now also integrates with Amazon Alexa devices. This new feature came about from one of the insights we gained from customers: How useful it would be for employees who normally don’t sit at a computer, such as in a factory or retail store, to be able to submit ideas into the platform. For those situations, we’ve now introduced the ability for users simply to voice their input using an Amazon Echo.
Whether you’re just starting an innovation program, running a fully funded innovation lab, or are anywhere in between, Brightidea now offers products for a wide range of needs. It’s all part of our ongoing commitment to build the world’s best platform for corporate innovation teams.