The genesis of Nectir began when an international bank, of 140,000 staff, tasked our founders to drive idea generation across their business. The objective of the bank was to build an innovation culture that makes them more innovative. We then set out to find innovation management software that was better than their internal system.

Two broad categories were available:

1. Generalist, low-tech idea submission systems

These were a myriad of idea mailboxes, basic Sharepoint submission tools and low-tech intranet pages

2. Specialist innovation project management

These were cloud-based systems largely designed and developed with the innovation cycle in mind. They have largely ignored why people innovate and were controlled (and overwhelmed) by a few users in charge of innovation.

Each came with a myriad of flaws in their concepts that prevented the natural uptake of real people, in real jobs, living real busy lives.

Generalist, low-tech idea boxes

The internal ideas box is simple – employees need to send their ideas to a committee. It’s rudimentary and offers little to no scalability or sustainability. Essentially the premise is that people submit ideas to what is often some type of review council. Most often a few people become responsible for the evaluation of ideas, often not in their core expertise and become inundated by a bottleneck of ideas that eventually get dropped or forgotten about.

Specialist innovation project management

For the most part these systems work on a stage-gate innovation cycle methodology. The process lends itself to whittling down ideas through a series of barriers. Later these systems evolved to include more comprehensive employee idea submission functions – but the core function of stage-gate remained and the uptake from the broader employee base was low – because of the complexity – originally designed for use by specialist users.

Differentiating Innovation Management Software from Idea Boxes and Project Management

It’s important to understand your core need for the system in its broadest sense – do you need the system to:

  • Simply collect ideas? (Idea submission)
  • Evaluate ideas? (Review and analysis)
  • Problem-solve? (Executive Challenges)
  • Create viable business solutions? (Execution)
  • Manage implementation? (Project Management)

To differentiate ideas boxes and innovation management software comes down to one function -the ability to move an idea from concept to a viable business solution. If a system misses the later, it’s more than likely just a fancy ideas box. However any further than creating a viable business solution, business case or proposal becomes the territory of project management systems.

A new breed of innovation management software

For the past four years Nectir has assessed the market, researched clients needs and developed a platform that intuitively and automatically manages the employee innovation cycle. Nectir does this point of creating a viable business solution. A modern innovation management system must be cloud-based, accessible and frequently used by all staff. It has to be built from the users’ perspective, continuously drive innovation and should support behaviour that forms an innovation culture.

Key attributes of Nectir in this development to move away from the old to the new have included:

We set out to ensure that we built one of the most advanced (but simple to use) ideas management systems. In order to create a class-leading innovation system we introduced Sprints. Sprinting is an agile process which allows for a far more dynamic innovation process that gets more ideas tested, faster. Here sprint teams can move selected ideas from concept to viable solution in a rapid, collaborative way.

Nectir has now used this rapid methodology throughout the innovation engine to ensure that ideas flow quickly from an employee’s mind to an executive’s desk.

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