Good things can happen when people communicate, share thoughts and come together to improve, change and make a difference. But pure collaboration without structure, context and purpose leaves participants in a chaotic state of mind as to the mandate, process and next actions to bring an idea to fruition.

There has been a lot of hype around the massive $3.8 Billion valuation that the collaboration solution provider Slack has garnered recently. Many organizations use a collaboration solution of some kind such as Microsoft’s Yammer, SharePoint,’s Chatter or Jive. The rise in collaboration is a wonderful for companies who want to make their people more productive by making the right connections and facilitating solution-seeking conversations. But when it comes to innovation, the best of intentions will not yield expected results unless the proper framework is employed.

The Forrester Wave on Innovation Management Solutions* put it well: “Innovation Management Solutions are part of a continuum of collaboration tools: Enterprise collaboration tools lay the groundwork for new innovation approaches”. Here are some of the questions I get asked all the time on this topic:

  • Our collaboration solution started out strong and lately it is losing steam, how can you help?
  • How can we further facilitate the exchange of ideas but make sure the right actions are taken along the way?
  • How will your innovation solution work and interact with our collaboration solution?

As highlighted in the diagram below, an innovation platform allows organizations to build on the ideas and discussions that start in a collaboration solution. Conversations are collected and mapped into the innovation system where the ideas can be further discussed, reviewed, evaluated, and developed by the same user community and team members who proposed or discussed it in the collaborative solution as well as other subject matter experts.

Collaboration and Innovation Management Integration

Collaboration and Innovation Management Integration

Organizations that integrate their collaboration platform with a built for purpose innovation management solution increase the traditionally low idea creation and development engagement levels often experienced when a collaboration tool is deployed as a general standalone social app. Through its powerful challenge-based, workflow-driven and gamified design, the innovation management solution motivates participants to creatively discuss new ideas, assign work to develop them, and recognize and reward participants for taking the right actions that lead to innovation results and actionable solutions.

The combination of collaboration and innovation management ensures workflow processes govern and direct conversations to the right teams and individuals for proper assessment and further development of high value ideas. The following table shows what information gets shared and the additional value you would receive to help in your journey towards achieving a sustainable culture of innovation:

Collaboration and innovation management features

Collaboration and innovation management features

Make innovation the collaborative effort of everyone while ensuing ideas people work on are aligned with your strategy and help achieve your corporate objectives. To learn more about this topic, I recommend you take a look at our informative guide titled Challenge Driven Innovation Management.

How does your organization transform collaborative effort into creative and actionable solutions that impact the organization’s performance?

* Source: The Forrester Wave: Innovation Management Solutions, Q2 2016 by Dan Bieler April 12, 2016