Idea management platforms help organizations gather valuable ideas from their network, then they evaluate them, and bring them to the market – faster than ever before. Or at least that’s how it works with IdeaScale, a leading idea management platform serving more than 35,000 communities and 4.5 million users. The company empowers different organizations to crowdsource ideas from their employees or customers, who then collaborate, evaluate, and further develop those ideas into products, processes, and other new initiatives. IdeaScale’s client roster includes industry leaders, such as Georgetown University, Marriott Vacations Worldwide, NASA, Princess Cruises and many others. IdeaScale believes that the future of work is hyper-connected, collaborative, creative and fun.
During its initial days, IdeaScale was adopted by 23 federal agencies. It served many organizations, including the Executive Office of the President of the United States and continued to grow government idea management into its largest customer segment. To date, IdeaScale has maintained its bootstrapped status and profitability and holds offices in Washington D.C., Japan, and Germany, with its headquarters in Berkeley, CA.
The Passionate Leaders
Rob Hoehn is the CEO and co-founder who started IdeaScale along with Vivek Bhaskaran, CEO of QuestionPro.
Rob hails from Northern New York and enjoyed computers from a very young age. He was so enthusiastic about programming that as a high school freshman he wanted to take a programming class which had some upper-classmen prerequisites; he was so persistent about the course the teacher eventually permitted him to take it without having to wait to complete the other courses.
After receiving his degree in Computer Science & Business from University of Vermont, he started working for Washington Mutual during the day and working on his own company at night. That company later grew into the idea management platform: IdeaScale.
As Chief Executive Officer of QuestionPro, co-founder Vivek Bhaskaran plays a key role in defining IdeaScale’s strategy and using technology and innovation continuously to maintain its leadership in the industry. He completed his primary education in India before moving to Russia and then US. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science from Brigham Young University, Utah.
A Developing Industry
According to IdeaScale, the concept of crowdsourcing is still emerging and under-adopted. Not everyone has the skills necessary to activate the crowd and engage them in the innovation process. In order to truly be successful, practitioners need to develop new levels of sophistication: communication and intrapreneurship capabilities, process management skills, and an understanding of innovation KPIs and scalable systems.
Idea management software security is also a key concern for those utilizing software for ideation and innovation management because these systems rely heavily on data integrity, have intellectual property concerns and interconnected with a variety of other enterprise systems.
Becoming the Engine of Smart Change
IdeaScale offers a few unique services to its clients, which are:
- Outcome-Based Support
When a client subscribes to IdeaScale, the innovation architect team starts by asking the client what their unique goals are and this becomes the benchmark throughout the course of the relationship. IdeaScale always makes sure to check back on its client’s goals, and it doesn’t consider the program successful until it has helped its customers to achieve their desired outcome. The company also provides ongoing resources that help practitioners level-up their innovation skill set continuously.
- System Security
IdeaScale meets government-level security recommendations so that public and private community information is only surfaced to permissioned members.
IdeaScale offers the most comprehensive engagement opportunities for crowdsourcing. The product includes mobile responsive design, integrations with multiple internal and external platforms, Section 508 compliance, real-time, multi-lingual translation and the app can perform brilliantly even in historically low-bandwidth areas.
A Unique Organization
In the coming year, IdeaScale will continue to nurture the diversity of business and organizational workflows that can be accommodated in their system. With more and more sophisticated innovation management programs, it is clear to the company that the ability to (a) smoothly integrate with an organization’s other business processes and (b) provide effective support at multiple levels of the business is imperative.
When it comes to their future roadmap, IdeaScale is continuously working to build its partner network and in-house capabilities in order to provide the full set of innovation services. The company has established a partnership with Topcoder to support prototyping, has acquired IM.se to provide unlimited access to the customers of one of the world’s most comprehensive innovation knowledge bases and continues to work with some of the top innovation consultants. Over the next two years, IdeaScale will continue to expand capabilities in all these areas to ensure IdeaScale can provide truly end-to-end innovation support well beyond innovation management software alone.