Sector RoadMap: innovation platforms in 2014

1Executive Summary

Many companies are finding that the only viable response to today’s turbulent markets is to increase their innovation activities. Innovation platforms are evolving to address the need to generate operational improvements in large enterprises. Originally thought of as idea-management platforms at the start of the open-innovation boom, they now need to respond to an increasingly complex managerial change matrix, especially as innovation becomes more central to product and company reputation.

Ideally the organization needs a coherent approach to innovation, one that allows successes to be replicated and failures to provide lessons for the future. That means the different innovation techniques or priorities need a meeting place or a common basis of understanding. A software platform is the best place to provide that coherence and the replicability that goes with it. But four trends — open innovation, design thinking, lean innovation, and the transformation matrix — often run in parallel at an organization rather than in synchronized fashion. They also compete for executive attention.

Our Sector RoadMapTM identifies six Disruption Vectors that tech buyers can use to aid in picking products that best suit their own situation. Suppliers can harness or drive the vectors for revenue and market share gains.

Key findings in our analysis include:

  • Some platform vendors are attempting to reorient themselves away from their incremental innovation past to support enterprise transformation needs, the most critical Disruption Vector. Imaginatik has pivoted to become a full-service company with executive-level strategic advisory services. Spigit-Mindjet is looking closely at automating innovation processes, solving a profound problem in decision-making by providing innovation algorithms. And Hype is hoping to convert its strong track record in process innovation to a more strategic level.
  • The acceleration of process innovation and product and service updates is the second most important vector. Innovation platforms are ill-fitted to this need because they tend to be idea-generation platforms.
  • All platforms that we reviewed believe they have strong relevance and growth in the social-business vector because they are the strongest use case for social business. They are all equally well-prepared for this but need to think more about the challenge methodology that would drive integration with social business. Collective decision-making is another important vector, one in which the smaller platforms like Qmarkets are strong. The elasticity of using external production and design will eventually extend into the internet of things.
  • The outlook for innovation platforms is strong, as we are now seeing increased venture capital activity and acquisition. The sector still needs to scale. It will do so when platform vendors get abreast of the C suite’s transformation requirements. Spigit-Mindjet, Hype, and Imaginatik seem well-placed to capitalize on that, but they also need to catalyze it and not wait for it to happen. With  Mindjet’s acquisition of Spigit and Imaginatik’s full-service offering, we are beginning to see more vision in the segment.

We evaluated a number of representative companies supplying innovation platforms. Currently Spigit-Mindjet and Hype are the suppliers best aligned with market forces. Imginatik is taking a bold bet on being the first to enter the C suite and become a strategic transformation adviser and support service. Brightidea has perhaps the strongest client base but still seems oriented around a traditional view of innovation, whereas Qmarkets is strong in decision-making, an area that could grow in importance as innovation projects proliferate.

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Source: Gigaom Research

Thumbnail image courtesy of Wavebreakmedia LTD/Thinkstock.

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Haydn Shaughnessy

Cogenuity

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