Companies such as Dell and Starbucks have been doing it for years -- turning to the community to harness fresh ideas and feedback on their products and services. The whole idea of idea management seems to be ripening within community platforms, as vendors enable community site creation especially for the ideation purpose. Portland, Ore.-based Jive Software is taking a slightly different spin on the ideation process with the introduction of Jive Ideation, a new addition to its Social Business Software (SBS) portfolio.
According to Jive's chief marketing officer Ben Kiker, the ideation product coupled with Jive's sophisticated collaboration tools will differentiate Jive Ideation from other idea management tools on the market. "There are lots of ways today to capture and categorize ideas," Kiker says. "What we find is that ideas typically die on the vine." Often, Kiker says, even when an open community is created for idea generation, those ideas are then brought into a database or attempted to be brought in-house, but they ultimately languish. "We believe that our secret sauce, bringing the very powerful collaboration capabilities of Jive SBS, really will make a fundamental difference to the market," Kiker insists.
Jive Ideation puts a process behind capturing ideas and allows conversations to occur around them -- whether it be among employees or among customers. Much like other idea management communities, the Jive program enables customers or employees (whomever the ideation community is geared toward) to vote up or down their favorite ideas. Unlike other idea communities, however, is Jive's ability to link the idea conversations to its workplace collaboration software. Essentially, employees are able to keep a close ear to new ideas, converse with co-workers about them, and then collaborate to get the ideas in motion.
"That's the value of having this inside SBS. You can build projects as they grow up and they spawn further ideas," says Brad Shimmin, research analyst with Current Analysis. "You can assign ideas to people, build project schedules, and do all sorts of things you can't do with just a forum or a wiki." Shimmin adds that the integration with idea management and a mature and deep collaboration platform seems to be unique to Jive. "
Jive Ideation's product marketer Adam Mertz hammers home three key points, differentiating this product from one such as Salesforce Ideas:
- Rich features: When posting an idea within Jive, users can incorporate features such as photos and videos. "A lot of solutions on the market, you type in text, then people vote it up or down," Mertz says. "This gives people more possibilities to express ideas."
- Internal and external: The majority of idea solutions on the market are externally focused, Mertz says, but ideas can occur inside or outside the firewall. "Combining internal [and external] is a piece of the equation that Jive is strong at compared to other solutions on the market," he says.
- The combination of social monitoring: When integrated with Jive Market Engagement, a social media monitoring technology, users can bring social conversations into idea management. "A part of the ideation is understanding what people are saying," Mertz says. Used together, Jive users can incorporate feedback from social networks like Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube, into innovation processes. "Imagine using Jive Market Engagement to monitor the social conversations for ideas and bring that concept back in, and with Jive ideation, post that to folks inside and outside the organization, to get feedback on," Kiker says. "That's a unique capability that we think will do some cool things in the market."
Shimmin says that Jive's ability to get to the important nuggets in conversations is a point of excellence. "In a forum, there are a lot of ideas you could never sift through," he says. Jive Ideation allows users to get to what's important and respond in real-time.
Just last week, Jive announced that its CEO Dave Hersch would move over as Chairman of Jive's Board of Directors. Jive board member Tony Zingale has become Jive's CEO on an interim basis. Kiker says the leadership change is all based on Jive's rapid growth pace. "Based on the trajectory of Jive, we firmly believe we are a candidate for things to happen down the road -- like an IPO," Kiker says. "We want to make sure we have someone on board who is familiar with that market." Jive is conducting an open search for a new CEO.
Shimmin says the realignment up top makes him wonder if the company will alter its strategy in pursuit of an IPO. "I wouldn't be surprised to see something of that nature pan out over the next six months in terms of maybe a refinement of how Jive sees itself."
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