3 Phases of Collaboration Throughout the Innovation Lifecycle

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When companies or individuals consider crowdsourcing as a component of ongoing innovation for their organization, they often think that their network is only involved in the initial phase: ideation or idea gathering.

This phase of crowdsourcing is often referred to as open innovation. And although numerous innovation software solutions provide this base level of functionality, the innovation landscape is moving to involve the crowd at even deeper levels – on the back end of innovation.

But what does crowd collaboration look like when you’re further down the innovation funnel?

Here are three phases of innovation and how the crowd can contribute:

Phase 1: Ideation

The most common phase for crowd involvement is idea submission, commenting and voting. Cast the net as wide as possible here and involve as many people as are willing to be engaged. The goal is to generate an idea or suggestion unlimited by discipline, objective, or practice.

Phase 2: Prioritization and Refinement

In this phase, innovators collaborate to evaluate, enhance, and prioritize those ideas best suited for implementation (either selected by stakeholders or by the crowd). Introduce the network here in several ways – requesting further feedback from stakeholders, identifying key opportunities, making suggestions for fulfillment, and contrasting a single idea to the many to define the innovation roadmap. Goals in this phase include gaining additional insights from the crowd, determining the importance of each initiative or identifying creative solutions to problems that these new ideas present.

Phase 3: Resource Allocation

Although resource allocation is often thought of as a job limited to specialists, the crowd can also weigh in. Before new ideas are put into production, the crowd can suggest what business objectives are most effected by implementation, what sorts of resources they estimate will be required, and more. And although the entire crowd might not be suited to this particular line of thinking, a larger group than discipline leaders or financial specialists might give greater insight into the broad range of considerations that affect the business. For instance, in one example the associate from the legal department of an insurance firm helped architect a new mobile application for the company.

The practice of ongoing collaboration in the product field has been best proven by Quirky, the product management platform that asks for ideas for new products and then continues to involve the crowd in researching, product naming, refining, prototyping, and marketing products as they are selected and released. But there’s no reason that this level of collaboration can’t happen at the enterprise level as well.

This line of thought has guided IdeaScale’s product roadmap for some time, which is why there is a new host of back-end functionality to support allows collaboration at every step. To learn more about back-end collaboration, join our webinar review of these features on March 19 at 10 a.m. PST.

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About Jessica Day

Jessica Day manages marketing and communications for IdeaScale. She has been working in the marketing industry for more than five years with a variety of companies including digital agencies like Ascentium and Knee Deep Marketing and contracting for larger companies like Microsoft.

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