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In the wake of new technological advances in pretty much every industry, a growing number companies have identified a new way to surface new opportunities for driving both business and societal value.

What is it? Crowdsourced innovation, managed by innovation management software.

Crowdsourced innovation is simply the process of gathering and surfacing ideas and solutions at scale from the people that know your business best – your workforce, customers, and partners. Innovation management software, such as Spigit, enables the automation and acceleration of this process – from generating ideas to bringing them to market, to drive business results.

When it comes to crowdsourced innovation, some of the most well-known enterprises in the world – including Unilever, AIG, and Pfizer – have adopted this proactive approach to creating a culture of innovation and uncover new opportunities for growth. And more companies are following in their footsteps.

So, what should you look for in the innovation management software you use? Here are the three core ingredients you should look for before making any purchasing decisions and why they matter.

Automation

Innovation management software shouldn’t require manual intervention for ideas to advance from one stage to the next. It should automatically graduate ideas based on the criteria that are important to your business. Moreover, these automation mechanisms should be configurable so as to match your organizational processes and cultural behaviors.

Additionally, the software you choose should allow your crowd to participate in the idea selection and graduation process, removing the need to build a large innovation team to manually review every single idea.

Why does this matter? Manually drudging through every single individual idea takes a considerable amount of unnecessary time and energy. Instead, software should free you up to focus on what matters – implementing the ideas that provide the most value to your business and customers.

Crowd Science

We’re living in an era of sophisticated technology that’s capable of doing extraordinary things – from crunching large data sets to driving cars autonomously.

The ideal innovation management software incorporates a scientific, algorithmic-based approach in order to reduce “herd behavior” (people voting for an idea because it’s already popular), speed up idea selection, and surface only the most valuable ideas using statistical significance.

An even more sophisticated solution should enable you to predict the time-to-market, cost, and return on investment (ROI) of any given idea in your innovation pipeline.

Why does this matter? Minimizing the effects of herd behavior, speeding up idea selection, and identifying the most valuable ideas to bring to market enables you to focus on the ideas that will meet your company’s innovation goals, and demonstrate predicted returns to stakeholders.

Scalable Enterprise-wide

In today’s enterprise environment, the software you select must meet the needs of any innovation use case rather than relying solely on hard-coded or prescribed processes.

The software should be capable of supporting up to hundreds of communities simultaneously and at a global scale—each with a potentially different process and (or) language—without incurring additional license costs or requiring increased staff headcount.

The software must also securely work for anyone, anytime, anywhere—therefore, it should be easy to deploy to tens of thousands of participants and it should meet the most stringent security standards (including data centers that are US 508/WCAG Accessible, SSAE 16 SOC1, SOC2-certified, ISO 27001 Certified, and PCI-DSS Certified, security policies that are modeled on ISO 27002 and Information Security Guidelines, and supports the latest TLS 1.2 and strong ciphers to ensure session security) on both mobile and desktop devices.

Why does this matter? Whether it’s external or internal innovation, protecting your company’s data and information should be high on the priority list. Using innovation management software that takes security seriously enables you to sleep soundly at night knowing your intellectual property is secure. And if it easily scales as your innovation program and company grows, you have a solution that can be the backbone of your innovation efforts.

Conclusion

As innovation quickly becomes the gatekeeper to growth and staying ahead of the competition, it’s important for companies to embrace one thing: great ideas can come from anyone, anywhere, at any time.

Whether it’s a stockroom clerk, a group of college students, or a subject matter expert, it’s in the best interest of companies to harness the collective knowledge of these crowds. And use it to uncover new ways to drive value.

Ultimately, crowdsourcing is the fuel, innovation management software is the vehicle that gets you to your destination.

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