Tag: webinar

Chain of Command vs. Flattened Organizational Structure

One of the reasons that people love a crowdsourced innovation program is that it levels the playing field for ideas. Yes, the CEO or Commander might have the best idea, but maybe the most transformative ideas can come from someone who just joined the company or someone working on the front lines of the organization far from the top. Crowdsourced innovation allows you to transparently prove and communicate the value of an idea no matter where it comes from.

Perhaps the place this value is most keenly felt is in the military or other traditionally-stratified organizations where chain of command is absolutely imperative. IdeaScale has worked with a number of organizations like this, including the United States Coast Guard, New York City Police Department, and other departments around the world. What many of these organizations report is that although chain of command is very powerful for keeping forces organized and united (particularly in chaotic situations), it also stifles innovation since ideas need to climb a tall and formidable ladder. These ladders are very often siloed (by geography, discipline, or otherwise) and are often concerned with de-risking new ideas rather than disseminating them – a common innovator’s dilemma – so instituting a crowdsourced innovation program can be transformative as even incremental improvements can be transformative at scale. So how do you marry the value of chain of command with a flattened organizational structure?

At the 2018 Open Nation, Queensland Police spoke to this very challenge and told us that it is possible to flatten an organization for innovative ideas, but maintain chain of command when necessary. Charmaine Meiklejohn stated that she knows when she calls on the police to respond to her request, she knows that chain of command is in place, but when it comes to innovation or new ideas then there’s no need to funnel ideas through those channels and that change in organization has been hugely empowering.

To learn how the Queensland Police can maintain both of these structures in a single organization, register for our Ideas Connecting Our People December 4th webinar.  Registrants will receive a link to the video recording of the webinar and attendees will have the chance to ask questions in a live Q&A. See you there!

Innovation is Always an Opportunity for Learning

Opportunity for Learning Innovation programs generate more than ideas and new products, they generate data and insights that can inform your strategic direction. Even if your campaign goes through a round of ideation without resulting in any ideas that you’re going to implement, there’s still a wealth of information that you’ll want to parse, manage, and explore. It’s for this reason that IdeaScale built in a number of capabilities that help you track subject matter, like tags, moderator tags, and the word cloud. You can learn a lot about the meaningful trends in your field of practice (and about your crowd) by reviewing the information in your innovation system.

For example, when the City of Calgary launched their YYC campaign, they got numerous ideas for ways to improve the city, but the City of Calgary also looked at the content associated with those ideas and formed connections that grouped the content on their site into ten key themes that they will continue to explore. They turned those threads into opportunity reports that were socialized around the City and are informing decisions today.

Obviously, the City of Calgary processed these insights this way (with data mapping and opportunity reports) but here are some other ways that you could re-purpose innovation data:

  • Market Research Report
  • Innovation Infographics
  • Audience Analysis
  • Trend Spotting Reports

And that’s just a few of the ways that this data can be used. Raw ideas can be re-processed, re-connected, and merged to create even more disruptive concepts even if the first round of ideas don’t have a ton of value.

But you don’t have to take my word for it. The City of Calgary is presenting a complimentary webinar on their program on Friday, February 9th at 10 a.m. Pacific. Registrants will receive a link to the webinar video recording and attendees will be able to participate in a live Q&A. Register today!

What is the Best Criteria to Evaluate Ideas

criteria to evaluate ideasOne of the most common questions that we get from our customers when they’re ready to start valuing and prioritizing ideas is what sorts of criteria other people are using to evaluate ideas. Of course, the type of criteria to evaluate ideas heavily depends on the company, the types of ideas, and the goals of the initiative, but we can still share some suggestions that will help you find your own criteria.

One common description of innovation, states that it’s the confluence of an idea that has viability, feasibility, and desirability. This might be a simplified way of looking at good ideas, but it’s that definition that has encouraged many of our customers to evaluate ideas against these three criteria at some point. The desirability can oftentimes can be derived from voting and feasibility and viability can be assessed in later stages by specific groups and subject matter experts. But it’s a great idea to look at your most promising ideas from this perspective since it not only reveals what people want, but what you’re capable of delivering.

A lot of companies also use their core values as evaluation criteria. This truly helps align ideas in an innovation community to your mission and beliefs. It also means that you have to be communicating those core beliefs as part of your innovation efforts, because potential innovators should know that their ideas should meet these goals. Of course, a great Harvard Business Review article talks about the difference between values. Core values are, of course, the deeply ingrained driving forces of your business, but don’t confuse them with the table stakes of permission-to-play values or the aspirational values that you’d someday like to embody.

You can see some of the values at some leading companies here. For example, Adidas defines its brand against performance, passion, integrity and diversity and so they might evaluate ideas by asking how much an idea serves each of these value points. Adobe, by contrast, could look at ideas against their ability to help them stay genuine, be exceptional and innovative, and stay involved.

But, of course, ideas can be evaluated against any criteria from it’s ability to support sustainability to its impact on profitability. If you’re interested in learning more about IdeaScale and see a list of common criteria used by IdeaScale customers, watch our webinar on the subject here. 

Do you know how to select the best idea?

how to evaluate ideasGood innovators recognize that our ability to create meaningful, positive change doesn’t just depend on gathering good ideas, but on our ability to recognize great ideas. That means that we get a lot of questions from our customers about how to select the best idea – things like “how do I prioritize good ideas when I have them?” or “how do I control for the fact that I don’t have a lot of resources to implement ideas?” or “how do I make sure I select ideas that are going to have a positive impact on my organization?” and the good news is that having a good approach for idea evaluation helps with all these issues and more.

There are a number of different ways to think about evaluating ideas, but almost all of them are linked to your innovation process. And most importantly, participants in an innovation system should be able to look to the innovation process to feel that they’re looking at a system that shows a path to success and bolsters and builds up good ideas. It helps uses understand why some ideas move forward while others don’t, it helps users create submissions that are closer to the solutions that you can implement while also  providing predictability and transparency to your process. This is why you  need to know how you’ll be evaluating ideas when you’re building your process and vice versa.

But whatever kind of process that you use, certain kinds of evaluation are better than others as you move ideas through the funnel and filter them further. Generally, the more easy-to-understand, lower barriers appear at the front of the process and the more rigorous, in-depth evaluation towards the end of the funnel. That’s why one of the key pieces of advice from The Corporate Startup is “make sure you’re asking the right questions at the right time.”

Usually the pass/fail and popularity are assessed in the earlier stages. Buy in and additional research happen towards the middle of the process, and final in-depth alignment and evaluation measures occur at the end of the funnel. The reason this generally happens is because the evaluation in the initial stages often informs the evaluation in the later stages. For example, it’s difficult to provide a practical financial assessment without doing some more in-depth research and investigation in some sort of refinement or proposal-building stage.

If you want to learn more about idea evaluation, register for next week’s webinar on August 9th at 10 a.m. PDT. You’ll learn about how to integrate evaluation types align to innovation process and some common criteria used by company’s for idea evaluation.

What You Can Learn at

innovationmanagement.seOn July 1, we launched a new partnership with (IM), the world’s leading platform for cutting-edge innovation management content, best practices, and online training programs. IM is a great complement to the services that IdeaScale already provides, and as part of the partnership, we will now offer IM training programs to existing and future customers.

So, what can you learn at Almost anything and everything you might want to know. Learning through IM is split up into three main types: Article Library, Channel One, and online training programs.

IM’s Article Library contains over 3000 articles covering over 20 subcategories, including topics like open innovation, sustainability, idea management, and research. These subcategories are organized into four larger categories: Organization & Culture, Strategy, Life Cycle Processes, and Books & Research. For each topic, there are article styles ranging from more academic, long form articles to more quickly digestible numbered tips, tricks, and tools, so no matter what kind of article you are looking for, you are sure to find it.

Channel One is the video learning portion of IM, and allows for a more in-depth look at topics of innovation management and best practices, as well as introducing new concepts. Videos range from Ask the Expert Q&A’s to Expert Roundtables on a specific innovation management topic to concept presentations (including a live demo of the concept and a Q&A). You can sign up to receive updates and information about upcoming sessions and watch them live, but if you aren’t able to watch live, all sessions are recorded and archived at One of the best features of IM’s Channel One is the opportunity to participate and have your questions answered by experts in real time and in context with the topic at hand.

IM also offers paid online courses. These training programs are created in collaboration with professional training providers and educational institutions from around the globe. Whether you are an innovation leader hoping to develop and hone global leadership skills, or an intra-organizational team looking to accelerate innovation in growth and efficiency, IM has the program for you. They even make it easy by letting prospective students know a general overview of the content of the course, approximately how many hours a week a certain course will require, and who should enroll.

Click here to discover more about the phenomenal resources available through and subscribe to their newsletter to get regular updates about innovation management.

3 Goals of Sustainable Innovation

Goals of Sustainable InnovationWe’re all familiar with a contest model of crowdsourcing. A contest model often presents a targeted, prompted invitation to participate in a crowdsourcing moment, usually with a deadline. But what happens after the deadline is over? Many organizations are moving beyond that traditional contest model and aiming for sustainable innovation. Here are three goals of sustainable innovation for which to strive:

Continuous engagement. If exciting changes are happening all of the time, rather than within the deadlines of a contest, there’s much more reason to be invested. Sustainable innovation incentivizes stakeholders both inside and outside the organization to stay engaged.

Collaboration. Like a snowball rolling downhill, when innovation has no boundaries, it can grow exponentially. And like that snowball, it is made greater by as many contributions as possible. When accomplished judiciously, sustainable innovation allows for everyone at all levels of involvement with an organization to feel heard and necessary in the process.

Enacting the most impactful innovations. When there are no restrictions on innovation, there is time to fully develop and realize the best ideas, and enact those that are able to have the biggest impact.

To learn more about techniques and best practices for sustainable innovation, as well as about the Department of Energy’s Sunshot Catalyst Program, join us on December 9 for our webinar, Sustainable Innovation: Moving Beyond Slingshot Challenges.  Click here for more information, and to register for this complimentary webinar.

What Does it Mean to “Manage Innovation?”

image curtesy of derek bruff via flickr
image courtesy of derek bruff via flickr

There are numerous types of innovation – from incremental and research innovation to disruptive or breakthrough innovation. But for any organization that is working to create a sustainable innovation environment within their company, there is a level of innovation management involved in the process. And although“management” sometimes seems antithetical to the spirit of innovation which encourages freedom and multi-direction dialogue, there are several key ways that management has to funnel that dialogue into impactful results.

One of the key challenges to achieving this goal is finding a method of selecting, rating, and prioritizing potential innovation in a way that tallies with an organization’s overall mission, goals, and capabilities. This is why IdeaScale is introducing ReviewScale to their suite of services.

The benefits of introducing a decision matrix solution roughly align to three categories:

Align innovation to business goals
ReviewScale ensures that every client is able to support ongoing organization goals whether it’s conversion, engagement, web traffic, product usability – each idea is subject to customizable, defined criteria that contributes to the overall success of the business.

Make a business case for innovation
One of the most challenging aspects of any organizational change is helping others to understand the end benefit of each innovation. ReviewScale assigns business value and real numbers to each idea.

Ensure ROI
The crowd provides numerous valuable ideas, but knowing which one to invest in is often a challenge. With ReviewScale, administrators are able to forecast future success with greater ease and deliver results more than 80% of the time.

If you’d like to learn more about IdeaScale’s decision matrix solution, ReviewScale, tune into our complimentary webinar “How to Build a Business Case for Crowdsourced Ideas Using Decision Matrix Software” scheduled for June 10th at 10 a.m. PDT. Register today!

Getting Beyond Top-Voted Ideas & Harnessing the Collective Wisdom of the Crowd

image curtesy of Ben Terret via flickr
image courtesy of Ben Terret via flickr

Suzan Briganti, CEO & Founder, Totem Inc. and IdeaScale Advisory Partner

Crowdsourcing is based on the idea that under certain conditions, crowds can be wiser than experts. Some collection platforms focus solely on ideas that receive the highest number of votes. But do top-rated ideas really capture the full wisdom of the crowd?

What are the collective patterns in crowd ideas? Totem has been analyzing the collective patterns in crowdsourcing campaigns for three years now, and the results are astonishing. Here are some amazing crowd-discovered accomplishments:      

Crowds identified an innovation “white space” for a global beer conglomerate that had gone undetected – despite millions of dollars of R&D.
Crowds have powered a development roadmap for one of the leading tech firms in the world.
And crowds are envisioning the strategic plan in 2030 for a major UK university.

However, oftentimes, lists of  top-rated ideas do not capture such collective patterns in crowd campaigns. Nor is the simple post-and-vote approach designed to do so!  These accomplishments didn’t emerge simply by plucking the ideas with the highest votes. What do you do after idea collection? What begins as ideas need refinement so that various stakeholders can understand and evaluate them. Why?

Because crowds express their ideas in a wide variety of forms and degrees of finish. One idea may be stated in a single line of text. Another idea is a mini-business plan. And a third may be submitted as a video. How can you evaluate ideas expressed in such disparate formats? Idea conversion is the key, so that you are evaluating ideas apples-to-apples.

There is an art to expressing an idea this way. Totem has delivered top-scoring, test-ready concepts to diverse clients – concepts that have gone on to impressive market success.

Beyond ideas to crowd insights Ideas are extremely important, but are just part of the innovation process. Where do ideas fit in? An idea typically proposes a solution, but to what problem? There are a few questions that should be asked of every idea:      

– What problem is the idea solving, and for whom?
Is the problem widely experienced?
Is the problem associated with a mild or intense pain point?
Can your organization solve the problem?

Identifying problems worth solving can increase your innovation ROI by up to 50 percent. Why? Because otherwise you can spend millions developing a solution to a problem that is only experienced by a niche market, or that your customers see as “nice to have,” but not worth paying for. We state such problems as “insights.” Crowds have generated fresh insights that can power entire innovation pipelines for years – as new solutions become feasible.

To summarize: Voting is a valuable way to view your crowd ideas, and will remain an important one. But to get the full value from crowdsourcing, you need to harness the crowd’s collective wisdom, convert ideas so they can be evaluated apples-to-apples, and also capture crowd insights.

Tune into the upcoming webinar with Suzan Briganti, CEO & Founder, Totem, Inc. and IdeaScale Advisory Partner on Tuesday April, 29th at 10am PST for an introduction to crowd analysis, idea normalization and insight development. Increase your innovation success rate by up to 50 percent. Register now.

ReviewScale: How to Build a Business Case for Crowdsourced Ideas Using Decision Matrix Software

image curtesy of kenny louie via flickr
image courtesy of kenny louie via flickr

June 10th, 2014 10 am-10:45am PST

How to utilize decision matrix software to ensure that your innovation management program generates ROI.

How do innovation teams ensure that the next change that they have slated for implementation yields a business-impacting ROI? In this webinar, Rob Hoehn will discuss businesses that have both failed and succeeded in planning for the next stage of implementation, while also introducing new tools that ensure ROI.

Webinar Agenda:
– What are the challenges facing innovation management?
– Factors to consider when implementing change
– A demonstration of ReviewScale technology
– Live Q&A

Join our complimentary webinar to learn how other businesses plan for success and utilize ReviewScale to meet their bottom line.  Register today.

Getting Over the Popularity Contest


image credit to marco digitalstream via flickr
image credit to marco digitalstream via flickr

Leveraging crowd wisdom works on the premise that individuals or organizations can benefit from a collective group of knowledge. One way to measure the crowds’ opinion is to present a subject or idea and invite the crowd to vote on it. If it’s popular, it rises to the top and could be considered a mandate from the crowd to follow-through on the suggestion. However, companies sometimes forget that voting is just one mechanism and not necessarily the whole truth that a crowd has to offer. Measuring ideas against business objectives, for example, or mining qualitative responses for themes or meaning can provide an even greater range of insight. Let’s consider a few popular ideas that don’t always equate to quality.

-The Macarena. In 1994, there was no school dance that escaped the Macarena. The song by Los del Río was an international hit in 1995, 1996, and 1997 and appears at number 7 on Billboard’s All Time Top 100. It also ranks at No. 1 on Billboard’s All Time Latin Songs. And despite the catchy hook and despite its insistent re-play, no one is arguing that the Macarena was a musical breakthrough or something that will remain a long-remembered achievement.

-Teflon. Despite the fact that the non-stick convenience continues to hold widespread traction in the market, it has also been warned against year after year by health organizations like the Environmental Working Group and Let’s also talk about how it now stands in as a term for candidates who maintain their popularity no matter how many bad things they come up against. Rob Ford is a current popular example – “The Teflon Mayor.”

-The Twilight Saga. Let’s make no mistake – this film is at the height of “popular” which has yielded nearly $1.5 billion in ticket sales. However, in spite of its vast commercial success, both the substance and the literary craft of the novel have been criticized . No matter how long the story remains a phenomenon, it will never be regarded as a ranking piece of literature. Decision making (particularly business decision making) is an ongoing, rich, complex process that requires a lot of inputs (including an idea’s popularity). IdeaScale wants to ensure that successful innovators have more tactics to evaluate crowd information.

Join us for a complimentary webinar featuring IdeaScale’s Suzan Briganti, SVP of Strategy, as she introduces innovation analysis and its methods. Register today.