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

How to choose the most suitable idea management system for your company’s needs

Daring Ideas Are Like Chessmen Moved Forward: They May Be Beaten, But They May Start A Winning Game.” This Johann Wolfgang von Goethe quote carries a lot of merits, especially in today’s business world where the ideas are the engine that drives a business forward and one idea can win you the game.
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832) was the greatest German literary figure of the modern era and a statesman. And even back then, Goethe was aware of the power of an Idea and what it can bring.

Photo by Randy Fath

Battle for market
The fastest-growing companies of today gather ideas from all employees, evaluate them, develop and bring them to market faster than ever before. Some ideas may be beaten, but by allowing your employees to participate in idea management you are increasing your chances of finding “The One”, the “Winning Game” Idea.
Companies compete for the market, with the aim to quickly discover, develop and implement ideas for new products or services. To be able to compete at this level, companies must rely on the creativity of their employees and partners. Not only that, but they must also be adept at focusing employees’ creative energies around key business issues — gathering and evaluating ideas efficiently, and quickly identifying those with the greatest potential for implementation.

The leaders’ approach
There is a number of Idea management systems out there, but the question is what to look for in order to maximize your ideas potential and eventually win the game.
Let’s start with the basics. As mentioned, market leaders are tapping into all of their available resources, they are opening ideation to all of their employees, as well as to external stakeholders. With an open ideation system and option to invite all of your employees to participate, share their knowledge and expertise, you will create a friendly environment where your employees know their input will be acknowledged and appreciated.
However, a simple idea gathering is not enough. With a feedback-oriented system, your employees will be motivated and engaged to participate in ideation, share their perspectives and collaborate with others.

Ideation types
Some systems cover multiple ways of ideation. Opening idea submission to all employees, known as the bottom-up approach, is just one of them. There are systems that cover focused submission of ideas, where top management in companies can address specific questions or set specific business challenges. This approach is also called the top-down approach. Within this type of ideation, companies can gather ideas that are of most importance and that are in line with the company’s business strategy. These types of challenges can be usually sponsored by the management to motivate employees even further with challenge-based rewards.
Of course, some companies turn to their clients, looking for their opinion and input, for improving existing products/services, or even ask them for ideas for completely new ones. This form of ideation is commonly referred to as open ideation or crowdsourcing.
Idea management systems that can facilitate all of the above-mentioned types of ideation are the ones worth looking into.

Features and perks
Once shortlisting the systems based on the ideation you are looking to implement, the next step is to look for the idea management system functionalities that will enable your company to capitalize on the collected ideas.
The leading idea management system providers offer these functionalities and features:

  • Idea workflow configuration
  • Configuration of submission forms
  • Configuration of scorecards
  • User roles configuration
  • Personalization of the system
  • Integration with other systems
  • Strong support structures

As mentioned, they need to cover every aspect of ideation (bottom-up, top-down and open ideation). However, the flexibility of an idea management system and the possibility to perfectly fit the company’s needs is one of the biggest differentiators between idea management vendors. The ability to configure idea workflows, submission forms, evaluation criteria without requiring additional development hours for, it is what defines the worth of a system to the company using it.
To be able to maximize on your idea management investment, you should also be looking for a system that must be in accordance with your business strategy and that can be integrated with your existing business ecosystem and software that you already have in place (SSO provider, Slack, CRM, database, etc.).

Choosing the right one
The above-mentioned information should assist you in comparing the solutions that are offered on the market and selecting the ideal idea management system for your organization. And once you do that, you are ready to start looking for that “game-winning” idea on the wings of your newly implemented software. You can check out the break down of TOP 5 idea management software you can choose from in one of our previous blogs.

Top 5 Online Innovation Management Software

Top 5 innovation management software

Introduction to readers

Ideas are very important throughout all your life. Like small, childhood ones, how to get your sandcastle bigger, through the breakthrough ones, from industrial revolution ideas that changed the world as we know it.

Now you can choose from many innovation management platforms that can help improve your business in every way. But is there a universal one, or one size doesn’t fit all?

In this blog digest, we analyzed the most competitive Innovation management software that can assist you in your innovation process with their end-to-end innovation management platforms. With the focus on functionalities and usability as the requirements that all users are in pursuit for, you will know from the first hand what are the pros and cons of this type of software.

Innovation Cloud

Innovation Cloud is one of the most comprehensive, end-to-end innovation management platform, made available on the cloud. On whatever type of innovation you think, they will support it. Top-down innovation, bottom-up innovation, challenge-driven innovation, open innovation, crowdsourcing, phase-gated methodology, NPD, product portfolio management, market tracking…It’s so easy-to-use yet engage and stimulate end-users, that will pull out ideas even from the most elusive ones. The progress of innovation is followed from idea to market, with comprehensive and real-time reports and analytics, so you can always make educated decisions and track your future success.
To make adoption easier and speed up the implementation process, Innovation Cloud can be quickly deployed within your current environment so your end users can maintain their existing tools. And not to forget, their dedicated team of experts available 24/7, to assist you to utilize software to suit your exact needs.

Usability
End-users minimalistic Interface
The intuitive, minimalistic interface of the Innovation Cloud platform for the end-users is the result of years of fine-tuning, recently redesigned.
Functional Data Visualizations
Innovation Cloud flagship software, “Enterprise,” with built-in reports are actionable and ready for export. The capabilities of custom reports will make it much easier for your executives to make educated decisions.

Features
Most features are customizable.
With the Global application, you can customize literally everything. Enables you to digitalaze every part of your innovation process.
Extensive Integration capabilities.

SSO integration is free of charge in any scenario. Possible integration with any other third party software, such as Microsoft SharePoint, Yammer…

Pros

  • With Enterprise solution, you can customize everything, literally.
  • Text editing features available, no need for uploading and downloading documents
  • Lots of advanced, real-time reports. Need more? No problem, customize your reports

Cons

  • The web presentation of their different solutions is a bit confusing. Clarification: Enterprise solution stands for out-of-box innovation management platform that can be customized to suit your company needs. The Global solution stands for a tailor-made software solution that you jointly design with their experts from the ground.

Qmarkets

Founded in 2006, Qmarkets is one of the most acclaimed innovation management platforms on the market. Qmarkets’ Q-360 suite of collective intelligence products is tailored to address specific use-cases.

The various Qmarkets products are available in three editions, each of which is tailored to enterprises that are at different stages of the innovation process.

Usability
Easy Deployment
With Qmarkets, stakeholders are seamlessly added to the platform via a back-end integration that only requires a one-time setup. Deployment is also kickstarted thanks to pre-packaged solutions designed for specific innovation needs.
Intuitive Self-Admin Capabilities

In addition to offering a selection of best-practice workflow templates, Qmarkets has recently launched a flexible self-admin tool, which offers greater control over specific workflows, as well as a selection of customization capabilities.

Features
Screening and Evaluation Tools
The Qmarkets platform offers intelligent crowd-voting tools, and other features designed to evaluate and incubate ideas within the pipeline. ROI and analytical capabilities are also included.
Intelligent Automation Tools
Qmarkets offers a variety of automation tools, including automated user selection and idea graduation. These utilize predefined criteria to trigger activity and progression within the system.

Pros

  • Ease of Use and creation challenge
  • Ease of multinational expansion
  • Scalability

Cons

  • General problem with language translation (Duch, Hebrew). Not supporting all functionalities on other languages.
  • More focus on idea management and crowdsourcing than on NPD

IdeaScale

IdeaScale represents the emerging platforms in the innovation management niche. Founded recently in 2009, IdeaScale places heavy emphasis on features like gamification and mobile-responsiveness.

Using crowdsourcing, IdeaScale allows organizations to involve the opinions of public and private communities by collecting their ideas, voting on ideas, reviewing ideas and finally implementing those ideas.

Usability
Simplified Interface
IdeaScale’s has an easy-to-use basic interface, deriving concepts from social media networking sites. New users can be brought on board via invitations to a portal where they can submit and vote on ideas.
Manual Idea Pipeline Movement
IdeaScale requires a degree of manual effort to move ideas from conception all the way to implementation. On the flip side, the platform gives businesses more control over the quality of ideas being pushed through the pipeline.

Features
Mobile Optimized
While the most innovation management software solutions utilize mobile app interfaces, IdeaScale’s solution is 100% built with responsive elements. This makes the user experience streamlined across all devices.
Open Customization
With IdeaScale, companies can modify every image, language, and interface structure within the platform. Alternatively, they can have a dedicated UX team modify the interface according to their needs.

Pros

  • It’s easy to install and use.
  • Highly reliable and scalable platform idea generation and management.
  • Customer support is high quality.

Cons

  • The lack of a few useful enhancements, for example, the ability to clear leaderboards or have leaderboards by campaign but, overall, I dislike very little.
  • Covers only idea management and crowdsourcing

Brightidea

Brightidea is another veteran in the innovation market, offering a robust feature set for businesses of all sizes. Its products focus on empowering the workforce, measuring the potential of new ideas, and consolidating insights for the resolution of company-wide problems.

With Brightidea you can engage your employees and partners at scale, collaborate on different ideas, and foster a culture of innovation within your company.

Usability
Flexible Modular Interface
The user-friendly and customizable interface of the platform offers simplified ideation monitoring. This makes it readily applicable to a variety of business models.
Intuitive Project Management Screens
Brightidea makes the process of managing and tracking multiple ideation projects from a single hub extremely simple. The platform’s transparent evaluation capabilities also take out the guesswork of shortlisting the best ideas.

Features
Innovation Apps
Brightidea offers 15 separate innovation apps designed to address specific objectives, such as initiating employee engagement, tracking trends, and developing opportunities.
Engagement Metrics
To gauge the effectiveness of your innovation campaign, Brightidea comes equipped with built-in engagement metrics that track employee engagement and collaboration.

Pros

  • Modular platform, easy to use for back-end users.
  • Reactive support team in case of technical issues. You are never alone with your problem.
  • Talented team of Professional services team to get you up and running.

Cons

  • A similar, yet diverse submission form can be confusing and challenging for use.
  • More focus on contribution and engagement metrics than on metrics related to innovation process.  

Spigit

Spigit is driven largely by a primary goal: to enable enterprises to leverage the collective intelligence of their stakeholders. Founded in 2007, the Spigit platform is recognized for its user-friendliness, scalability, and extensive employee-engagement capabilities.

Usability
Minimalistic Interface
Spigit’s simple and sleek interface can facilitate the management of several idea challenges simultaneously.
Idea Feed
The idea feed makes it easy to stay ahead of new and ongoing ideas in your innovation campaign. Valuable metrics, such as star ratings and incubation progress bars, let you spot high-priority ideas rapidly.

Features
Open Idea Marketplace
With Spigit, employees are put in the driver’s seat when it comes to innovation management. They can pitch ideas, provide feedback, submit projections, and more via an interface modeled on popular social media platforms.
Predictions
As employees push new ideas into the workflow, Spigit’s algorithm works in the background to highlight the most lucrative ideas.

Pros

  • End-to-end management of challenges/programs
  • Community management, including voting and comments
  • Great support from Spigit managers who are always ready to give you a good piece of advice

Cons

  • The admin side is a little less intuitive
  • Backend still a bit clunky and difficult to use and pricing is not very flexible. The mobile version also needs to be better improved

There it is. The list of Innovation Management Software that are the most used and have strong positions on the market. Everybody is constantly improving so there is a chance to find some new features and functionalities very soon.   

As far as usability is concerned, going with any of the platforms above should cause a minimal friction during deployment. After all, these companies constantly update both back and front ends to boost their adoption across enterprises of all sizes.

Features-wise, the top competitors are Innovation Cloud, Brightidea, IdeaScale. However Qmarkets has a slight edge. This is largely thanks to its versatile evaluation tools, streamlined automation capabilities, and recently-added self-admin features – delivering a broad degree of flexibility when crafting innovation challenges.

The impressive consulting capabilities of Innovation Cloud  – as well as its simple, distraction-free – make it well suited for getting innovation projects off the ground quickly. Brightidea, Spigit, and IdeaScale also offer a robust array of features and tracking capabilities.

However, in terms of achieving a good balance between usability, scalability, flexibility, and automation, Innovation Cloud is certainly the main contender and out top choise.

Artificial Intelligence as Businesses innovation – Opportunity or Threat?

Innovative potential of AI, and especially today’s machine learning systems, is in its self-learning and self-improving capability without human interaction. Digital assistants like Siri, Cortana and Echo are just some examples of A.I. that we already use. But A.I. goes far beyond that. 

Artificial intelligence is innovative technology that will have enormous economic and social effect like all other revolutionizing technologies in the past (steam engine, electricity, internal combustion engine).

The reason that AI is so big change gamer is its ability to learn autonomously without human interference and explicit instructions. Many things that we as human species know and do, can’t be easily explained and automated. For example, facial recognition, ability to speak a language, and skills in general. Tacit knowledge (know-how, skills, and experiences) is very difficult to verbalize and transfer to another person, let alone to automate and improve upon.

Artificial Intelligence in Business

But how do you develop and integrate artificial intelligence in business innovation? Is it really an opportunity to grow exponentially? Or does it represent a latent threat that would interfere with the lifestyle of the people? 

Benefits

When we talk about artificial intelligence in business, we refer to an incredible range of innovation that can be used for its growth, such as:

• Improve productivity
• Carry out marketing strategies
• Identify trends in the market
• Optimize process management
• Improve customer service
• Improve product quality

Now, the interesting thing is that, regardless of the turning of the company or business, artificial intelligence can help in different fields, for example:

• Tools like Google Analytics allows you to have a complete study of the traffic of a website and how users interact with it
• In medicine, it is widely used to save and generate complex studies and reports which facilitate the work of doctors
• Business Intelligence uses artificial intelligence to make decisions within the business
• In transport, it makes a significant improvement with autonomous automobiles, both in pedestrian and driver care

Likewise, its use can be found in everyday situations, such as finding the most optimal route to reach a destination. It is obvious that artificial intelligence can represent a great benefit for humanity.

Threats

On the other hand, artificial intelligence might represent a great risk to the lifestyle of people, starting with those companies or governmental institutions that would use a series of illicit actions to gain competitive advantage, enrich themselves or others by increasing their power. 

For example:
• Several professional careers, as well as jobs, will be replaced by the use of artificial intelligence
• There are legal cases where companies have used AI to access sensitive customer information
• Its use in the military represents a risk if it falls into the wrong hands

Discussing possibly threats from AI, Elon Musk proposed that Artificial Intelligence must be regulated, so it can’t be misused.

Considering all this, we can highlight several questions:

• What are the risks if AI develops the use of war weapons?
• What role will AI play in the world?
• How will it be used in the protection of sensitive data or of the data of complete nations?

Artificial Intelligence Good or Bad?

For good or bad, time and the way that companies use and control Artificial Intelligence as a business innovation, will define its course. Therefore, it should be noted that technology titans such as Google, Amazon, Apple, Microsoft, Facebook, already have a host of applications and digital assistants guided by Artificial Intelligence. Therefore, its use should be used in the most appropriate way, highlighting the large benefits that this can bring and avoiding its use in war weapons or in the obtaining of sensitive information of the users.

 

New application that will help startups through their crowdfunding campaigns

Innovation Cloud is working on a new application and wants to hear your ideas about necessary functionalities.

Startup Innovation Community Application

There are more than 600 crowdfunding platforms around the world, with fundraising reaching billions of dollars annually. But, is there a platform which will support you in creating and managing a successful crowdfunding campaign?

Innovation Cloud, a software company from Luxembourg, is developing a program called Startup Innovation Community application with a clear purpose – to successfully guide startups from ideation through crowdfunding and pitch decking to market delivery.

Almost every day you hear about an exciting new startup crushing their campaign goals and launching their company via Kickstarter or Indiegogo. While crowdfunding is an excellent way to generate funds for your new business or project, there are a lot of challenges you might face during the process of building a crowdfunding campaign. It needs a great concept, good timing, and most importantly, a ton of hard work to pull off a promising campaign.

To overcome all these challenges, Innovation Cloud is inviting the online community to contribute to this program. With a simple crowdsourcing form on their website, you can share your ideas and suggest features this new platform should have and, as a reward, join their team and develop the application based on your ideas.

The thing with startups is that we hear only about the ones that succeded. Most of them don’t even get to see the daylight. Innovation Cloud is trying to change this and create a path to success and new ways of funding for the future startups.