Top 5 Free Online Idea Management Software

Top 5 Free idea management software

Hi Innovator,

These are our top 5 free idea management solutions, based on the design, simplicity of use and available features:

1. Innovation Cloud

Our Top choice.

Free specialized idea management solution for 15 users, 100 ideas and 1GB of storage made and maintained by a software company DataStation from Belgium. They focus on the innovation management and collaboration and are on the market for 9 years now. The Innovation Cloud is a basic version of their Enterprise solution – covering complete innovation process, starting from ideas to launch. Website states some valuable references up to this point: Bayer, DHL, NASA, HTC, Etihad, Toyota, Schweppes, Electrolux, etc.

We went on to try the free version and were amazed with the design, simplicity and the amount of the features we were presented with. It doesn’t require any training, so thumbs up. The software supports ad hoc and challenge driven idea submission. It operates in three phases: submission, collaboration and approval. Voting, files and comments are there as standard, but wrapped up in nice intuitive and familiar design. Application is mobile friendly with big buttons you can’t miss, ensuring that you are always aware of what you need to do next. They announce some pretty cool features coming in the next few months. They are not spamming us with emails to go for an upgrade (25e) and they have some good newsletters with the tips and hints about the usage, best practices, etc. All in all, great tool to kick start idea management and come to the fast proof of concept for internal buy-in.

Downsides: Annoying tutorial at the start. One account per email address.

2. Bitrix24

Bitrix24 is a social collaboration and communications platform for all business operations. It’s owned by Bitrix, Inc, Intranet and Cloud company from  Alexandria, Virginia. It offers a full range of applications and tools to cover different aspects of business management: CRM, Knowledge management, Project management, etc.

They have a built in idea management system in which any employee can express an idea to improve operations and let colleagues evaluate the idea. First, we had trouble understanding the pricing from the website, but it seems that idea management is not listed as a free solution, but we presume it is free for 12 users and 5Gbs of space, so went on to test it.

Two downsides put this software on the second place: Complexity of the screens and the scope of the features. Largely tied to the fact that idea management is not a focus of this software.

3. IdeaScale

IdeaScale is an innovation management platform that uses crowdsourcing to help you find and develop the next big thing. IdeaScale HQ is in Berkeley, CA. They started as government open innovation platform and continued in the same direction, collecting enterprise clients on the way. They have a Free plan for 25 users, 5 Campaigns with profanity filter and mobile use.

They are focused on the open innovation, so once we started a test, we could not hide our work from the public. The software itself is nice, but we struggled with the fact that the privacy is reserved only for the enterprise plans.

4. Canvazify

Team collaboration and brainstorming tool for 5 users. Not exactly idea management, but it has an infrastructure which you can use to organize brainstorming sessions, Kanban views, flowcharts, etc.

You start a canvas and your team can collaborate, comment and add thingies. A cool tool for design thinking, 6 hats and brainstorming.

Still in BETA though, and very limited if your need surpass 5 users count.

5. Wridea

Wridea has been established in 2006 and after 2 years of beta testing phase, the final release has been put online on June 2008. It was developed and owned by Octeth Ltd. a web app development company established in 1999.

With the help of Wridea, you can store your ideas, manage and organize them, collaborate with your friends over your ideas, etc.

Although it is fully free solution, we found that the interface is very modest. So we gave it a 5th place on our list.

Have you seen our full list of the Free idea management solutions?

See other solutions here: Complete List of Free online idea management software

Complete List of Free online idea management software

Complete list of free idea management software

Hi,

After some research, we at the Innovation  Post blog put together the list of free software solutions for idea management.

Free online idea management software list serves as an ideal starting point for any individual or team who wants to capture and develop ideas with no upfront investments.

These software solutions are specialized in idea management and can be used to test and kick start your idea management initiative:

Aptivo

Bitrix 24

Coggle

Canvazify.com

Freemind

Hunchbuzz

Ideeeas

IdeaScale

Innovation Cloud

MangoApps

ManageMyIdeas

Trello

Tally Fox

Wridea

WordPress

XMind

The number of the free online software solutions is raising constantly, so it is possible that we missed some. We want this list to be complete and up to date, so feel free to suggest other solutions and your experience using them in the comments and we will put it on the list after review.

Thank you.

Innovation Post

Behold! Free Online Idea Management Software is coming

Dear friends and innovation practitioners,

From our perspective, free idea management tools are everywhere, but in poor quality and bound by countless limitations.

So Good and Free are a scarce combination when it comes to choosing right Free online idea management solution.

Last couple of days, we encountered news about the Beta version of the tool called Innovation Cloud. Behind that enterprise stands solid innovation background of  the DataStation Innovation Cloud – company from Belgium.

Innovation Cloud free idea management banner_960px

What we gathered as an intel, this tool will be different. As it will offer all means necessary to gather and manage ideas.

Their aim is apparently S&M companies and teams, so limits are complimenting that goal – 15 users, 100 ideas tied to one free account.

They promise highly affordable premium packages, but we do not know the prices still.

Main goal: To liberate idea management field and give small market players access to good quality idea management software.

We wish them all the luck in that goal and will come back with the review once the tool is online.

Looking forward to it.

Kind regards,

IP

Managing Tempus projects Online

It doesn’t matter If you are part of the Tempus team or leading Tempus projects in general, this post will save you a lot of time.

Tempus_on_DataStation

Monitoring is critical to all projects, especially for Tempus. Each project should have embedded internal project monitoring arrangements to check progress, milestones, identify problems, recognize the need for change and ensure quality.

When it comes to coordination and management of Tempus projects , it all comes down to these three things:

1) Level of coordinators commitment to keep people on track

2) General awareness of how far projects activities are done and what is overall performance

3) Control and check of the results of these activities

Issues

Tempus project coordinators are caught between tons of e-mails, constant deadline pressure and follow up documentation, resulting in one big mess. Burden is often to much to handle. However, there is hope and project still can be tamed.

Its not new that academic sector recognized the importance of using online software platform to communicate, coordinate and collaborate closely on the Tempus projects usually spanning multiple countries, years and people. But having the system that actually works, that is easy to start with and record the data is still hard to find if you don’t know where to look at.

Solution

Use a online platform that works. Ideally, management platform with high collaboration capabilities, intuitive  and simplistic interface, excellent document management capabilities and lean project management approach. You want to have control over the project progress, but don’t want to suffocate the collaborative activities.

Good example:

Project of grand magnitude WBCInno Tempus named  “Modernization of WBC universities through strengthening of structures and services for knowledge transfer, research and innovation”, spanning dozens of partnering institutions, countries and people is a good example. They have included a platform called DataStation to facilitate all cooperation, coordination and collaboration activities online. They have tracked all documents online, project progress, events and results during the Tempus project which lasted for three years.

Result

Project passed successfully all monitoring evaluations in the first year and was consequently complimented by the monitoring officers as one of the neatest and best kept projects they had ever seen. End result = successful Tempus project with good chance to be confirmed through other Erasmus projects.

Why?

Because with unique platform capabilities to connect people, activities and documentation, it fell to project coordinator to occasionally remind, direct and energize the activities to keep pace to the overall project progress. Even that was supported with intelligent notification system this platform has in its arsenal.

After that projects successful pilot, other institutions reached out.

References:

http://www.wbc-inno.kg.ac.rs/

http://www.datastation.com/news/datastation-wbcinno-group-are-on-a-mission.html

How to Keep People Engaged – Consulting with Technology

DataStation with Consulting
Starting the innovation initiative and launching it in an organization is just a tip of the ice berg. What happens afterwards is the real challenge.
As momentum starts to fade, you have to ask yourself:
Have I reached enough people?
Were my efforts enough to sustain innovation as essential part of organizational culture?

Will people keep coming back to share little bit of themselves?

We will explore the possibilities of using known innovation elements as fabric to sustainable innovation management.

Familiar Story

You got the job to connect people with the innovation strategy you developed with the management.

Top management recognized the essential importance of the innovation management. They did it because they want to grow, or they are in danger. The reason is not important, it is important that the change is now alive and has support of the top level.

You set the goal, set the milestones and gathered the I-team.

The battle can begin.

Management winds in your back are pushing you forward, I-team is highly motivated to work as all they are hand picked to drive the initiative forward. You organized few workshop, got some people on board. You managed to collect some ideas, one or two got implemented.

You gave a SOW report, results report and you shake a hand of your employer and ride on to the Sunset towards next Challenge.

Two months later, you are called back to the company (if you are lucky). Initiative withered and died. You have to kick start it again, only now you lost the initial momentum… no one wants to be part of it. Support from I-team is diminished, Management is frustrated and wants a quick and painless fix, but you can’t deliver.

All odds are against you. You have only couple of months to deliver some results, only now, they must last.

www.datastation.com

How can you avoid this situation? What is long term solution that will bring high motivation,  innovation culture and fertile ground for ideas to grow and flourish on the long run?

That puzzle are we going to tackle and complete in this article.

What is missing?

You had it right from the start. You had clear, achievable goals, motivated I-team and top management support.  You organized workshops, got people interested, created some momentum and harvested some ideas. They were even implemented. But the structure you nourished can live only for so long. You made a child and left him to roam without support.

What you need is the software tool to act as your Brilliant assistant to bridge that gap and to sustain the initiative once you ride on.

Combining your skills with a software tool will result in a same effect as a Doctors operation: Major first intervention with occasional follow ups.

You probably know this already, but please keep on reading to see where is the value for you precisely.

Tool as a Brilliant Assistant

Our experience is that short term interventions are not working. Tools do.

With good tool you can create innovation friendly environment directly from your mind to online community. In the right hands it will support, sustain and maintain all innovation initiatives activities towards innovation goals.

 

Keep in mind one thing. Tools are there to support Innovation initiative, they cannot harvest innovation potential without people, their collaborative effort, coordination and monitoring.

This is where you as a consultant fit in perfectly.

Online tools will empower you to scale, to save time and to service more clients in the form of micro consulting.

You will achieve more clients and more meaningful and lasting business relationships. That is the main value of the assisting online tools.

How can online tool help you?

Transparency

Clear process, Clear roles, Clear goals and milestones are essential for any innovation initiative to succeed. If people do not understand what they are supposed to do in which step, and what should be the outcome of their actions they will fall out of the train on the first stop.

DataStation Metrics

Tool: People can actually see the process visualized. They know how many phases there are, what is expected in which and what is final outcome. They know who participates, what is their contribution and they can compare it to the contribution of others.

Incentives

Everyone needs some incentive to keep doing something that is often regarded as “extra work” on the beginning.

They are different for all, but there is one general point to get people on board: When employees see that organization values their ideas on real problems, they will be more willing to engage in innovation going forward.

www.datastation.com

Tool provides large motivation possibilities to engage innovative people to act:

  1. Alarming, notification system that calls everyone to action at the right moment.
  2. Transparent idea status and execution results with lavish congrats message
  3. Improvement of the employee position and image within the company itself
  4. Influence with gaming aspect of the tool, as they come to raise their ranking, collect rewards and compete. Public recognition with Innovator of the month often raises participants sense of contribution.
  5. Some come to the tool as it is set as a must in corporate policy.
  6. Ability to resolve challenges as part of the Team.

Most valuable ones are those who see online tool as a way to affect ordinary way of working and whose only reward is actual transparent execution of their ideas.

Collaboration

Without collaborative effort which is often very hard to coordinate and sustain, innovation initiative is doomed. Nurturing employee collaboration and channeling it onto specific challenges is tiresome work, but necessary if you wish to harvest good ideas and to have enough to dig out the golden ones for implementation.

Without collaboration and knowledge exchange, ideation is just reduced to suggestion box, with no  real community test.

1185246_212407012216352_1160629054_n

Tools are often designed to compliment three essential aspects of the innovation management (3C’s): Collaboration, Communication and Coordination.

With ability to keep conversations in context of the idea for a long time, tools are very valuable lessons learned and knowledge archives. With intelligent notification system, feed and social elements IM tools are becoming social collaboration environments where all the right ingredients are mixed to gain hopefully very good results.

Support

Aligned with the innovation initiative goals. It must be clear to everyone involved what is at stake. Almost always, it is company’s future and survival. All should know that their activities are essential in order for company to survive and thrive.

Tools are there to help us implement our strategy. They are designed to sustain and compliment its meandric course with good flexibility options and usable simple to implement interventions. They are used as a centralized hub to collect the data, transform it to usable information and create new possibilities.

Tools are ideal for long term innovation management.

Time

If by corporate policy you managed to spare a few hours for employees personal projects, ideas and innovation it might not be enough. It will all crumble is you expect all their ideas will come on work. They are coming at any moment. When we are under pressure, under shower, on the road, on the beach…

cloud

Several hours a week are often not enough, even if employees used it well. We need to empower them to contribute from their beds, roadtrips, even showers.

Cloud technology and Online available tools can bridge that gap. Any time, from anywhere. Office walls are only a suggestion. Especially if we bring open innovation into mix.

Metrics

On the tool you can track various aspects of innovation performance, create reports and turn unorganized data into real usable information. To gain real time visual and metric insight into the results of the innovation initiative is something CEO’s are keen to have right now. Learning from your past mistakes, gives you power to raise from the necessary failures and turn them to opportunities on the next run.

business-graphs-3D1

Symbiosis needed – Consulting with Technology

 

Short term interventions are not enough. Why put all that hard work in creating excellent innovation strategy, when it will crumble after you leave office behind.

Combining  consultants expertise with technology, we gain the possibility to affect organizations on a level  never seen before with the same resources as you have now.

If you build it, They will come

Reach out to possibilities, find your partnering tool.