My Projects

March 14, 2010 2473 comments so far

Ideawell: Innovation Management - Personal & Mobile

Every project starts with an idea. Large companies have been aware of this fact for some time and many of them have introduced innovation management processes and software in order to help them to decide which ideas are worth pursuing and which not. But what about your own, personal ideas - how do you decide?

Many of us have a lot of ideas and everyone who is a creative person knows that you simply cannot pursue all the ideas that come to your mind. In fact, it is more or less the other way round: only a very small fraction of all your ideas can be implemented. But how do you decide what is a good idea and what is not?

Wolfgang and me have created a small app to help us gathering and analyzing ideas for exactly this purpose: supporting us to find out which idea is worth pursuing and which is not. We were also fast to agree that it needs to be a mobile application, since you often have a good idea when you are traveling - especially, because it is typically then when you get new "input" for your brain.

The second "must have" feature we decided on was that the analyze part needs to be highly visual (simply, because we are both very visual persons and we believe in the power of images). As you can see in the screenshot above, all ideas can be rated in four dimensions (innovation, simplicity, uniqueness and potential) and are then displayed as bubbles in a chart visualizing those four dimensions (via horizontal and vertical offset as well as bubble color and size). If an idea is not yet rated it naturally does not show up in the bubble chart.

Initially, this app was only an experiment for us. It was an idea that came up during an evening in the pub after a couple of beers - we did not know if it would work or not. Now I know that at least for me personally, it works. It is not the "silver bullet", but it really helps me in, e.g. deciding what iPhone or iPad app ideas I want to implement. I also use it heavily for supporting me in making marketing decisions at Onepoint (you always have unlimited ideas, but typically a very limited budget ;-).

Some of you know that we have created our innovation management app "Sparks" (as it was called until recently) already last fall, so why do I write about this idea today? Well, there are at least two good reasons for this: (1) the feedback of our users tells us that it was indeed a good idea (and thus, might be worth sharing ;-) and (2) we very recently created a "2.0" version of Sparks and renamed to app to "Ideawell".

Now you know what I think about personal innovation management, but what do you think? :-)