Thomson Reuters innovation VP on limits of idea management

mona-largeBy Mona Vernon, VP/Data Innovation Lab, Thomson Reuters

For most companies, a common element of their innovation strategy is installing software or a tool to capture and manage ideas from employees. Evaluating which software you’ll buy takes a tremendous time, and many of the vendors oversell their software’s ability to create significant value.

When I talked to software vendors, I found that there wasn’t much quantifiable proof about how innovation management tools actually help you to develop new products and services that generate significant revenue. There just wasn’t a strong return-on-investment case to be made. I also interviewed several other Chief Innovation Officers, and what they told me is that these tools are great for operational improvement, like finding a new component that will make your next smartphone smaller, or making some internal process more efficient. So they can be helpful in driving continuous improvement, because you’re getting ideas from front-line workers who know ways that they can do their jobs better, or design something smarter.

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