Tool Review: Innovation and Idea Management Software

Check out our tool review of 6 top software options for corporate innovation teams
Main Blog Img-Innovation and Idea Mgmt

If you’re still managing your corporate innovation initiatives on Google Sheets or Microsoft Excel, you’re probably wondering why innovation and idea management software isn’t available to streamline your work. It’s absolutely essential to being able to run and measure your corporate initiatives; maybe it’s time to leave the days of “Sheets” and Excel behind you!

Today’s innovation management software also streamlines the process of socializing your program’s progress to all levels of the organization. Track and measure your idea submissions from employees. Manage internal programs to fostering a culture of innovation and intrapreneurship. Selecting and managing ideas for incubation and piloting. Regardless of what activities drive your corporate innovation organization, make sure you have the right tool in place for your team to use.

Core Features in Innovation and Idea Management Software

Innovation management platforms help organizations to crowdsource breakthrough ideas from the employees, partners, and customers that know their business best. At a minimum, your idea management tool should offer:

  • Guided user experience to personalize the user journey, celebrate contributions and encourage users to participate from day one
  • User profile featuring skills and interests for effective teaming and fostering networks across the business
  • Features to recognize contributions, encourage key behaviors, and provide instant motivation to further engage
  • Machine learning capabilities to improve efficiency and intelligence for both admins and ideators, optimizing resources and enabling the innovation program to scale
  • Configuration capabilities to support the creation of online Q&A communities, 1:1 engagement, and single sign-on authentication

Product Solutions for Innovation and Idea Management

We looked across the innovation platform space and demoed over a dozen solutions. We found 6 tools that stood out at the top of the field in the innovation and idea management software space. We don’t have any affiliation with these vendors; so, please feel free to click on the tool name to read more, schedule a demo, or explore pricing options and free trials at your leisure!

Blog-Idea Mgmt Software-SpigitBlog-Idea Mgmt Software-BrightIdeaBlog-Idea Mgmt Software-IdeaDropBlog-Idea Mgmt Software-Idea SpotlightBlog-Idea Mgmt Software-IdeaWakeBlog-Idea Mgmt Software-QIdeate
CAPABILITY
SOFTWARE PROGRAM / TOOL
Spigit Brightidea Idea Drop Idea Spotlight Ideawake

Q-ideate

CRM / pipelines mgmt

x

x x x x

x

Crowdsourcing

x

x x x x

x

Performance tracking

x x x x x

x

Idea submission and lists

x x x x x

x

Participant data import

x

x x x x

x

Drag-and-drop pipelines

x

x x x x

x

Innovation dashboards

x

x x x x

x

Idea submission and idea boards

x

x x x x

x

Real-time collaboration

x

x x x x

x

Mobile friendly

x

x x x x

x

Built-in templates

x

x x x x

x

Scoring or commenting

x

x x x x

x

Employee engagement

x

x x x x

x

Customers

AT&T, Pfizer

Bosch, Cisco Lear, Holiday Inn Aviva, Microsoft Unknown

Dell, HPE

Vendor Selection

This is still a niche space; so, while there are numerous emerging companies “dipping a toe” into this space, more widespread adoption is needed to determine what the market really needs in terms of features. Also, I’m sure you noticed in the comparison chart above that the top 6 vendors in this space all offer the same features. The devil really is in the details here. The only differences you may notice differ amongst the top 6 are buried in the pricing structure, aesthetics and functionality or workflow of the UI (interface), or the industries that use the tools.

What you want to look for is:

  • Value for money – establish metrics to value your usage and how well the software is meeting your needs. This will help you in your regular program evaluations so that you can justify the expense and determine how – if at all – the investment needs to change or be reevaluated. Operating conditions, upfront and ongoing training, frequency and diligence / consistency of administrator and employee / contributor usage, as well as other technical capabilities like uptime, ongoing improvements, tech support, etc.
  • Tech support – make sure you understand upfront how the vendor’s tech support process works and how to be assigned a dedicated support contact. Read between the lines here. Tech support is everything. How quickly they are able to respond to and address issues will directly, immediately, and permanently influence your satisfaction with this product. Do they have reviews online from customers? How well do they address issues and dissatisfied customers? If it’s an emerging company, do they have the bandwidth to handle support for your team? 
  • Customization capabilities – you may not need it now, but should you find that you need product customization (for features and functionalities, the dashboard interface, or reporting, single sign-on implementation, etc – you want to address this before you enter into your contract. 1. Determine what is and isn’t possible to customize and get it in writing; and 2. Pre-negotiate the customization process, whom to contact, how requests will be made, what costs will be assessed, as well as turnaround time for any code amendments you may need in the future. Also, determine what happens if the product isn’t meeting your needs. Can you have an out-clause to sever your contract and how will that be enacted? 

What Next?

We work with organizations in all phases of innovation and idea management. When you’re ready to take your corporate innovation process to the next level, give us a call. We can help you evaluate what you need and help you through implementation and training, and get crankin’ on incubation! (We love rhyming, too.)

Related Posts