Product Innovation the Easy Way: 3 Real World Examples

Many voices can lead to brilliant places.

Innovation is often presented as a mighty struggle between a lone inventor and a seemingly intractable problem. While this does occasionally happen, more often than not any great innovation is the result of people drawing from those around them for ideas and inspiration. Here are a few examples of companies that set the “lone inventor on a hill” myth aside in favor of real innovation with the help of IdeaScale.

Citrix

Citrix is all about access. Its software is used to create safe, personal, and secure online workspaces for companies to send files, collaborate on projects, and otherwise get things done remotely or on the road with a minimum of fuss. Citrix decided to use its own collaborative nature to tackle one of its biggest challenges, namely, doing things even better.

The company set up a unique, flexible community designed to let anyone submit ideas. Custom fields drew attention to ideas as they were submitted so that stakeholders could look at them more closely and consider them for inclusion. The result has been a collaborative process with 1,800 ideas from 2,000 participants, giving Citrix valuable perspective on how to change the way we work.

EA Sports

Most video games take between two to five years from development to release, but EA Sports consistently delivers a new game in its beloved franchises every year. It wants to ensure that each game is more than just a “roster refresh,” so EA turned to its most passionate fans, called Game Changers, for ideas.

The process was simple. The most passionate of fans, so far 12,000 of them, could submit ideas, with 7,800 and growing, and vote on the ones they most wanted to see. If an idea won enough votes, and the development team liked it and could make it happen, it was moved to a tab on the site called “Completed,” showing fans the impact their opinions had.

Among the ideas to come out of the 178,000 votes included custom rosters for the company’s connected career modes, player editing starting in Madden 13. More are coming, especially as games just get better.

Collaboration is a powerful tool.

Magneti Marelli

One of the most well-known high-tech auto parts manufacturers in the world, Magneti Marelli has been helping gearheads upgrade their cars since 1919. Marelli wanted to tap into the deep well of knowledge that both the professionals building racing vehicles and hardcore, experienced hobbyists had about what they needed and how parts could improve.

Thus, they created LapTime, where experts and experienced enthusiasts alike could come together and bounce ideas off each other. The innovation platform was a springboard not just for customers, but for other initiatives like hackathons and student engineering programs that introduced even more new ideas and approaches to parts. The result wasn’t just some better products the community was interested in, but more effective approaches to problems the entire industry had struggled to solve.

The lone innovator can sometimes be useful. But no product is built for just one person in mind, and the creativity and thoughtfulness of the crowd can be harnessed for effective innovation. To learn more about crowdsourcing and open innovation, request a demo!

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