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8 features to look for in an idea management system

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Last month we posted a checklist to help guide you as you evaluate idea management systems. We developed it based on what our customers in the B2B high-tech space have told us is important to them in supporting ideation and managing product enhancements.

The result is a brief overview of what product managers and developers should look for in an idea management system. But we thought it would be valuable to expand upon each of the points to give you more detailed guidance.

So here, as part of our B2B Innovation blog series, are eight features to look for in an idea management system to help you collect, manage, discuss, and leverage the creative ideas of your customers and employees to drive innovation.

1. Sophisticated moderating and triaging capabilities. Moderation lets you control the publication of ideas into the system. However, look for systems that have additional functionality around this to support quality control, including the ability to edit and clarify submissions while preserving the original idea. Enhancing an idea -- or just fixing misspellings or other errors that detract from it -- ensures that ideas in the system are valuable and can be understood by other users. Tagging and categorization features help keep ideas organized and easy to find, because you can tag and publish ideas in multiple categories and create new custom categories if needed.

It's time to rock the vote!

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The Enterprise 2.0 Conference is holding another Launch Pad competition this year to find the market's favorite new and innovative E2.0 product or service. The competition is well underway, and I'm excited to report that Inmagic has made it to the second round!

If you're not unfamiliar with the Launch Pad competition, it pits companies against one another by asking them to first pitch their product on Twitter with the contest hashtag, #e2conflp. The E2 Launch Pad Jury narrowed down the entrants to eight quarter-finalists who go to the second round.

The quarter-finalists create a three-minute video showcasing their product, which are open to the public to vote for their favorite video. So we've been busy over the past couple of weeks creating our video showcasing IdeaNet. We've submitted it to the judges, who've added it to the voting page online.

Voting is now open, so it's time to get clicking!! Take a look at the entrants and vote for your favorite E2 Launch Pad video. Or for all our fans out there, I won't tell if you just skip ahead to ours and vote for it! ;) We hope we'll get your support. Thank you to everyone who punches the ballot for us!

Playbook for creating your 'innovation dream team'

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Earlier this week, we posted our podcast interview with University of Cincinnati's Drew Boyd, who dished on how to create your "innovation dream team." I wanted to follow up our interview today with the transcript, a.k.a. "playbook," to help you take your innovation dream team to the field. Read on for Drew's insights about:
  • Why innovation is a team sport
  • Tricks for breaking down organizational barriers and getting cross-functional teams working together
  • How to use systematic inventive thinking to come up with ideas for new features and products
  • Why "innovation rooms" and "innovation retreats" aren't all they're cracked up to be
  • Why companies should treat innovation like a regular business process
  • Business skills employees should develop to make them more innovative


Janelle: Hi, everyone. I'm Janelle Kozyra, your host for another Inmagic podcast. Today we are joined by Drew Boyd. And Drew is a corporate practitioner, teacher, researcher, and writer on innovation, marketing, and persuasion.

He is the Executive Director of the Master of Science in Marketing Program and Assistant Professor of Marketing and Innovation at the University of Cincinnati. He also blogs at InnovationInPractice.com. Drew, it's a pleasure to have you with us. Welcome to our podcast.

Drew: Thanks for having me.

Janelle: So you have an interesting background that's brought you to where you are today. So tell us a little bit about your professional history and what you do today.

How to create your 'innovation dream team'

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University of Cincinnati's Drew Boyd
"Dream team" has been used to describe athletes, businessmen, lawyers, doctors, and others who've come together to become much greater than the sum of their parts.

Certainly, the 1992 United States men's Olympic basketball team was a dream team. So is the Brazil men's national volleyball team.
And who could forget the defense lawyers in the O. J. Simpson case?

But here's an area that you probably haven't seen associated with dream team: innovation. That's about to change though, thanks to our new podcast with Drew Boyd.

6 ways to turn ideas into products that ship

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As we talk about innovation on our blog, it's important to note that innovation is not a goal unto itself. It's a crucial ingredient to ultimately turn ideas into products and services that your customers will buy.

This is a core plank we focus our clients on when we work with them on their innovation strategies. So for our next blog post in our B2B Innovation series, I thought I'd break out six of the most important best practices for creating an innovation strategy that will help you ship products your customers want, need, and will buy.

1. Align innovation to your business strategy. Map your innovation and product decision-making processes to your business strategy. This ensures product development efforts are supporting your company’s goals. And since ideas from customers don't always correlate with company strategy, this ensures that ideas -- even good ones -- that are strategically misaligned are not inappropriately prioritized and acted upon.

Who's your Steve Jobs?

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Every product Steve Jobs developed and marketed with Apple was created to delight consumers. But even though Apple is a B2C company, many of the ways in which Jobs led its product innovation can be applied to high-tech B2B companies that are striving to innovate to meet companies' needs.

This is one important theme we got from our interview with Drew Marshall, Principal of Primed Associates. He also gave us many other takeaways worth noting for creating and implementing a sustainable innovation strategy.

So we're posting the transcript to make it easier for you to save Drew's insights and share them with colleagues as you develop your own innovation strategy to meet customers' needs. Hope it is helpful to you. What do you think of Drew's recommendations?



Janelle: Hi, everyone. I'm Janelle Kozyra, your host for another Inmagic podcast. Today we are joined by Drew Marshall and Drew is the Principal of Primed Associates, which is a consulting firm based in Princeton Junction, N.J. And it focuses on improving the culture of innovation for their clients. Drew contributes to his company's blog which you can find by going to his website at ThinkPrimed.com and he has also contributed to InnovationExcellence.com. So good to have you with us, Drew. How are you today?

Drew: I'm great, Janelle. Thanks for having me on the Inmagic blog podcast. I'm very happy to be here.

Janelle: So let's begin by getting to know you a little bit more. So tell us what you do at Primed Associates and generally about some of your client engagements.

How B2B companies can kick start innovation

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Gijs van Wulfen, founder, FOURTH innovation method
Our bloggers have been talking to many innovation consultants and thought leaders lately, and have gathered what is shaping up to be a superb cross-section of ideas, opinions, and recommendations for developing and implementing an innovation strategy in a B2B organization.

There are lot of lessons to be learned from these consultants' experiences. I hope that it will shorten your path to understanding the innovation market and its idealogies, and give you some actionable advice to help you start developing and refining your own innovation strategy.

As we head into the holiday weekend, I wanted to tee up some guidance from another innovation thought leader, Gijs van Wulfen. He's the founder of what he's dubbed the "FORTH innovation method" and is the author of "Creating Innovative Products & Services."

Our Q&A with Gijs dives into what innovation means, whether that definition is different for a B2B vs. B2C company, how a company should foster a culture of innovation, and other advice to help anchor your understanding of an effective innovation strategy. Gijs provided his answers to us in email, which we've edited only for typos.



Can you start by giving us some background on you and what you do?

I am the founder of the FORTH innovation method. This method was developed in practice over several years. It has to do with my own development from a marketer in the food sector into a boardroom consultant creating new top-line solutions to grow the turnover, and later as facilitator of creative processes. I experienced how difficult it was for organizations to come up themselves with new innovative solutions.

That's why I developed a very structured process which is designed as an innovation expedition in which business challenges are transferred into outside-the-box ideas, directly tested at customers and brought back to the company as inside-the-box mini new business cases.

When I started to see how successful this approach was, we gave it the name FORTH and I wrote a book about it in Dutch. People were amazed that I gave away all my knowledge, and are really enthusiastic on using it. It is an innovation best-seller in the Netherlands. Recently an English book on the method, "Creating Innovative Products and Services," was published. With the training of certified FORTH facilitators, the method spreads all over the world.

Innovation means different things to different people. How do you define innovation?

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