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Awesome new ideas are what make an innovation program…well, an innovation program. But it’s the tools you use that help those ideas become reality and bring about tangible returns — tools like innovation management software (and for some, a new way of thinking about innovation altogether).

According to the people who spend their time researching this sort of thing, the importance of ‘managing innovation initiatives systematically’ (i.e., using intelligent technology) is and will continue to be a driving force behind employee engagement, open innovation, and the successful development of the ideation process.

Key Findings: Innovation Management is On Its Way to Mainstream

A recent report from Gartner Research goes into major detail about why innovation management software works, and what features you should look for. Here’s what’s critical for you to know:

  • Leaders at Fortune-ranked companies place a high priority on innovation, reflected in a continually growing interest in software to support innovation initiatives (which is what earns them that notoriety).
  • Innovation management technology drives early-stage activities like ideation, graduation, and selection; it also supports later-stage activities like portfolio management, project management, and resource planning.
  • Innovation management software is especially great for targeting internal initiatives, but is also an excellent way to run external challenges with non-employee participants.
  • Product differentiators to look for include game mechanics, crowdsourcing capabilities, and mobile access.

So, Why Does Innovation Management Matter?

There’s a lot of evidence that the best ideas come from the most unexpected places, and that includes the parts of your network you wouldn’t normally think to ask. Going to the same sources over and over again, or relying only on people with very specific expertise, will almost always eventually result in burnout and repetition. Still, without a clear innovation process and the right platform to support it, it’s going to be pretty difficult to crowdsource really good ideas from a large group of people, or track who’s coming up with them.

Crowdsourcing innovation has its own set of rules that go beyond the platform, so if you’re confused by the logistics, don’t worry (but do read our post on how it works). Innovation management software not only makes it possible to crowdsource ideas from your entire network of employees, partners, customers, and beyond, it makes the process manageable and scalable. With this kind of technology supporting your innovation program, you’ll have no problem getting the most valuable ideas right in front of your company’s creators and decision-makers.

Kind of surprising innovation management isn’t already a mainstream approach, right? Don’t get left behind — after all, innovation isn’t just a phase.

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