Four Collaborative Steps to Innovation

IdeaScale innovation process

Open innovation is the practice of collecting data from a wide audience in order to solve problems or evolve. And this practice is being utilized in every industry, from government to nonprofits to enterprise-level companies to universities, with numerous different end goals and objectives. Marketers are using it for research, product managers are using it to architect their development roadmaps, administrators are sourcing sustainability solutions, and creative teams are using it as a means of generating surprising new content.

But no matter which industry is using collaborative innovation, there is a fairly straightforward methodology that has been developed by IdeaScale – an innovation management software company – that works in tandem with any organization’s objectives and defined goals.

The IdeaScale Open Innovation Methodology follows a very simple cadence: collect, select, assess, deliver with collaborative decisions being made at every stage.

  • Collect – Within an open-innovation community, the collection stage is dedicated to engaging a large community of participants and encouraging them to submit their best ideas and suggestions. The crowd provides a great deal of information: ideas, of course, but also commentary, votes, and connections. It is critical that a good innovation program be prepared with an excellent communications and engagement strategy, in order to have a rich and rewarding collection phase.
  • Select – Once a wealth of promising ideas are identified by the crowd, stakeholders begin to review and route them to experts. The engaged crowd here is much smaller and generally composed of moderators and other members of the innovation team, who are capable of identifying the best people to weigh in on the viability of promising ideas.  It is critical that the innovation team have excellent criteria for idea vetting and routing in this phase.
  • Assess – An exclusive group of participants are asked to evaluate each idea based on defined criteria. This is the beginning of expert-sourcing, where the crowd is composed of individuals with specialist knowledge: they can give insight into what an idea’s ultimate value might be and what it will actually take to see these ideas through to completion. Defining not only business vectors to assess against is important here, as is defining what responses in this stage might mean.
  • Deliver – Finally, with a list of prioritized, vetted ideas and an understanding of what will come next, it’s time to begin the process of implementation. Ideas are planned, assigned, prototyped, researched, QA’ed, reviewed, marketed, and launched into the world. Although this is mostly executed by key organization members, if it’s a successful innovation community, the members that built the original idea will be aware of the progress of the project through to completion. They can help to promote its launch.  It is very important, of course, to track and interpret the results of the innovation program even after launch.

You can download this infographic for more information about the IdeaScale innovation methodology.

Jessica Day is a marketing and technology writer and editor for IdeaScale (, a leading innovation software solution for idea management. She received her Masters in Writing from the University of Washington. Day also blogs about crowd-based innovation and idea management solutions at

Jessica Day

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.

Speak Your Mind