2008Watch: BrightIdea - How To Manage Innovation
BrightIdea.com is one of the companies on my 2008 watch list. The company offers enterprises a process in which they can encourage and manage innovation. Last month I sat down with Matthew Greeley, CEO and founder, at my favorite business meeting place, the "Lucky Penny" diner in San Francisco (24hr breakfasts!).
Managing innovation is easier said than done and large organizations are notoriously bad at being able to generate and monetize great ideas. Xerox Palo Alto Research Center is the poster child for such things, yet all organizations have similar difficulties.
Innovation seems to happen in haphazard ways, if at all. Yet virtually all large organizations love to trumpet how innovative they are, as if by using the term innovation often enough they can make innovation happen. That's one reason why the term innovation is way over used these days.
[Innovation inflation is why Silicon Valley Watcher changed its description from "reporting on the the business of innovation" to "reporting on the business of disruption."]
BrightIdea.com provides a process and tools that help real innovation occur. And the company has had a great 2007, winning large clients such as Cisco Systems and it is on a roll to win more in 2008.
Mr Greeley says that Cisco is using BrightIdea to harvest innovative ideas that it will then fund and develop into businesses:
...the Cisco I-Prize, a competition open to entrepreneurs and innovators around the world. The Cisco I-Prize aims to bring together global teams to develop technology business ideas using Cisco's collaboration technologies and to run those ideas through Cisco's process for identifying emerging technologies to take to market. The winning team may have the opportunity to join Cisco as founders of a new emerging technology business unit. Depending on the value of the idea, Cisco may also invest up to $10 million over three years to fund the new business unit.
Other software companies such as Salesforce have begun to recognize the need for a similar service. But BrightIdea has been at it since 1999 and its software is being used by 250 companies, including Hallmark, Bristol Myers Squibb, Bosch, Emerson, ING Financial and the U.S. Department of Defense.
BrightIdea has processes already in place that do the following:
Idea Collection; Team Evaluation; Collaborative Development; Campaign Management; User Profiles; Promotions, Rewards & Recognition; WorkflowAutomation; Real-Time Alerts; Process Monitoring; Key Metrics & Analytics Dashboard; Employee Directory Integration; Microsoft Word & Excel Integration.
It has a wealth of features that aren't found in any other software, and it is scalable to encompass large numbers of users.
I'd love to use BrightIdea's software as a type of brain trust for Silicon Valley. We all have way too many bright ideas to try and monetize them all, why not throw them into a central pool and get a 1 per cent gross revenue return on any that others figure out how to monetize?
Keep an eye on BrightIdea for 2008....
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