Idea Platforms: What to Look For In Your Next Idea Sharing Platform
An idea sharing platform is a software-based collection tool for ideas. In the age of open innovation, this platform is a vital tool for helping companies to collect, manage, and track ideas or problem-solving strategies.
Types of Idea Platforms
There are two general categories of idea platform campaigns: task-specific and open-ended idea platforms. For example, an organization might have a specific challenge that they want to address; maybe a new flavor that they’d like to create or the 2030 vision for their university and they want the crowd to weigh in on this. A well-known example of this is Lay’s potato chips Do Us A Flavor campaign. Consumers are first tasked with the challenge of coming up with radical new flavors for the Frito Lay brand. Those submissions are narrowed down to a select few, and the public is tasked to vote again on which flavor will become a finalist. The flavors that have become finalists: Everything Bagel with Cream Cheese, Crispy Taco and Wavy Fried Green Tomatoes (just to name a few).
An open-ended idea platform is less task-oriented and opens the door to innovation across multiple departments within the same company. The open-ended approach to this style of crowdsourcing allows a company to receive feedback in areas based on customer needs as opposed to their own. This means that instead of having a specific, time-limited challenge to address, they’re looking for a more open-ended set of ideas in specific categories. For example, TTI was looking for new product ideas that they could develop for Home Depot and they came up with the bucket mister (a sort of water-misting system that you see at 5ks, tailgate parties, camping, and elsewhere).
Within each of these categories are a multitude of nuances which make the possibilities for crowdsourcing an endless source of innovative ideas. But you always need an idea platform that helps you sort the ideas and assess their desirability, feasibility, viability, and vettability.
A Safe Place for Crowdsourcing
A strong idea platform offers transparency – a highly valued trait in today’s marketing model. By providing transparency, companies provide a glimpse into the idea generation process that both internal and external participants can view. Many companies struggle with this level of transparency as they feel it means that they have to deliver on every idea but that is simply untrue. What is most important is that you listen to the ideas (genuinely) and move forward with the ones that make the most sense for your company. That transparency (apart from providing data that indicates the desirability, feasibility, viability, and vettability of different solutions) also helps you to find allies in an organization, build anticipation and audiences for new offerings, and improves overall company engagement. How do you think that you can best serve your crowd with an idea platform?