Although no one can say for certain how many billions of dollars have been lost because no one followed up on a good idea, it's fairly certain that every business can point to at least one major lost opportunity.
A truly great idea that actually results in something tangible to the business is usually a compendium of thoughts and comments that extended from some piece of original thinking -- but usually that original thinking never gets heard in the first place by the right people at the right time.
Spigit and Arc90 are two companies trying to provide a more structured approach to the problem. The software-as-a-service platform called WE by Spigit (see figure below), launched this week, is a version of the company's enterprise-class product tailored for small-to-medium business customers. According to Spigit CEO Paul Pluschkell, the service's robust analytics set it apart.
Arc90, meanwhile, offers an on-premise application called Kindling (see figure below) that also comes loaded with analytics. As Steve Girling, vice president of business development, explains it, existing collaboration software isn't specific enough to nurture and manage the idea-generation process.
Most companies, unfortunately, have a hierarchical management that tends to hamper innovative thinking among the rank and file. To break that logjam, senior managers need a forum where they can see all the ideas being generated across the company at every level. To one degree or another, that can be done using many existing applications. But that's not the same as creating a repeatable process for generating new ideas. We all know that every time there is any sort of crisis within a company, senior managers try to rally the troops by calling for new ideas. But more often than not, they've already lost the confidence of their disenfranchised employees. To prevent that from happening, businesses need a systematic, approach to promoting new ideas at every level that is ongoing, rather than just a one-time event borne of desperation.