Creating a Realistic Innovation Roadmap


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Challenges Per Year


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Highly Qualified Idea
Submissions Per Quarter


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Documented Hours Saved


Nielsen provides market intelligence worldwide in marketing and consumer information, television and other media measurement, online intelligence, mobile measurement, trade shows and related properties with a presence in 100 countries with 36,000 employees.

Nielsen knew that innovation is the key to success, in both what a company creates and how its ideas are marketed; however, they were experiencing difficulty defining “innovation” within their own program created internally. They needed a better way to effectively triage ideas, prioritize and roadmap innovations.

Ann Marie Dumais, Planning & Governance Director at Nielsen, explained, “We weren’t there as a company, we were trying to do it on our own [using only Sharepoint], and we learned the hard way.”

As Nielsen’s internal innovation program grew more complex, they needed a better way to increase employee motivation and willingness to participate in topic specific initiatives. For those already participating, they needed an easier way to manage and measure participation across programs in terms of which types of programs drove more ideas. They needed accessible and visible statistics whenever senior management requested to see results.


Nielsen approached Brightidea to implement a flexible, customizable and autonomous platform that was at the same time intuitive to use.

Dumais said, “We actually asked Brightidea not to train anyone to see if people with different background and skills could manipulate and navigate through the system, and we made sure that they could.”

Over the course of 2012, Nielsen moved their model to a dedicated innovation group that manages innovation initiatives across the organization. A team of three innovation program managers provides business unit stakeholders “the highway” to drive innovation best practices, guidelines, tools and direction on how to run an optimal program.

Now, the company runs a series of 10-15 innovation initiatives at any given time all year in specific identified categories across all business units. These initiatives are centered on a topic and objective, and can be run in short term sprints or run all year long.

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The Brightidea platform has enabled better management and prioritization of ideas for Nielsen, who now are able to produce over 500 highly-qualified idea submissions per quarter that are detailed and results-focused.

As a measure of the program’s success, one of the key innovation initiatives that Nielsen runs is called “Cycle Time” and is centered on saving time. The initiative is run quarterly and annually, and then measured against business revenue, quality or cost on the backend. In 2013, Nielsen was able to save 4,000,000 hours documented across all teams. Many initiatives are also run related to new product development and have generated ideas now in incubation or proof of concept mode.

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