Software helps companies get smart

Talk about innovation conjures up images of a “think tank” batting ideas around in a boardroom.

And for many businesses that’s where innovation begins…and ends.

Generating ideas is good, but it’s not enough…unless there are also ways to capture and manage those ideas, says Jonathan Spira, chief analyst with Basex Inc., a New York research and consulting firm specializing in knowledge sharing and collaboration.

And Spira isn’t talking about suggestion boxes, but software tools that drive innovation.

Without such tools, he says, the innovation process can be painful and take forever, and a lot of ideas fall by the wayside.

If “tools for innovation” are what’s needed, a New York-based company says it has just what the doctor ordered.

Appositely named Brightidea Inc., the firm offers innovation-management software targeted at mid-sized businesses. It’s flagship offering, dubbed On Demand, was beta tested over the past six months, and will be formally launched next Tuesday.

The application simplifies, streamlines and structures the innovation process, according to Matt Greeley, president and CEO of the New York-based Brightidea Inc.

For instance, he says, the Web-based tool may be used to effectively develop new products and processes or adopt new technology that dramatically improves a company’s business and bottom-line.

Implementation is quick (just 20 minutes, according to Greeley) and soon after a company can start capturing and capitalizing on ideas from their workforce. How?

If an employee has an idea, they simply log-on to and submit it. The idea is then scored, based on criteria such as technical risks, time required for implementation, strategic alignment with the organization’s goals and its financial impact.

On Demand, says Greeley, allows more people to be involved in the innovation process – and their ideas to be acted upon faster.

In the past, he said, some individuals would sit on ideas until an organization’s monthly meeting. “We allow you to reach out to more people for ideas. You can do that in a meeting with 10 or with 44,000 people with a tool that lets you harness that thinking ability.”

He said a key feature of On Demand is its ability to whittle down 5,000 ideas into five core ones that a company can act upon. All ideas are archived in a searchable database.

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