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The true value of collaboration platforms

A couple of days ago I spent a day with 40 top innovation managers and experts at BrightIdea’s Birds Of A Feather EMEA event in Zurich. The practitioners came from leading companies such as UBS, Sony Ericsson, Philip Morris, SWIFT, Merck and Genzyme.

I hosted a lively round-table discussion on the questions “What makes up an Open Innovation culture and what are the levers to change the existing innovation culture?”

We did another interesting round-table discussion on the other part of the Networked Innovation that is being to emerge: Internal Collaboration. We tried to pinpoint what exactly the value proposition of Internal Collaboration platforms (such as BrightIdea) to the firm is.

We found three main points:

  • Leveraging the power of the true innovators.
    Usually there are very few “true” innovators inside the firm but many evaluators and many contributors. The true innovators get their ideas flying working with their usually extensive peer and stakeholder network. Collaboration platforms enable the few true innovators to connect with the many that could help in shaping the idea and rounding it off.
  • Get a lot of ideas for incremental innovations.
    Radical innovations usually involve strategic considerations, a wide open horizon, a network of co-innovators and the determination to make them happen (measured by e.g. Top Management support and budgets). On the other hand with Stage Gate processes, portfolio management systems and standards for the New Product Development process in place, “bread and butter” incremental innovations depend heavily on a the number of ideas stuffed into the innovation funnel. And that’s exactly what collaboration platforms can do.
  • Reduce time-to market.
    Intensive discussion of ideas, in particular of challenges and roadblocks, helps to identify innovation risks early. Collaboration platforms give contributors a platforms for voicing their concerns about risks – and involve them early on so that they are aligned with the innovations coming along

If you are interested in the Key Success Factors for getting collaboration platforms flying you may want to have a look at one of my recent posts.