Idea Place has been active for a little over two years now, we have learned a lot and it’s time to make some big changes. Starting early 2013, Idea Place will be evolving from a platform and program perspective. The platform will provide a more social experience for end-users and a significant improvement for the stakeholders in their ability to process ideas. From a program perspective the Idea Place team along with the product/solution managers managing Idea Sessions will be refining the ideation management process, drive higher quality ideas, higher voted ideas, more transparency on timing of reviews, priority topics and identifying what happens to your submitted ideas. Let’s dig into the details.
Targeting Break-Through Innovation
When Idea Place began, it was positioned as an overall enterprise enhancement submission site with many SAP products and solutions included and many not included. This message of an enterprise focus combined with an enhancement submission focus has drawn some confusion as it set an artificial expectation that all SAP products and solutions would be available at some time for customers to submit their enhancements for. There are several challenges with this: 1) Idea Place will never contain all sap products/solutions, 2) there are many existing channels for submitting enhancement requests to SAP already and 3) the vision of Idea Place is to provide disruptive innovation through break through ideas, reaching out to new audiences and connecting audiences that SAP has traditionally not connected before. To this effect, Idea Place will shift from an enterprise enhancement submission site towards a collection of individualized innovation campaigns. The focus will now be on a per innovation campaign basis with each experience, navigation and processes specific for each campaign. The focus of each campaign can vary, some will be more enhancement style and some will be more disruptive style.
“the vision of Idea Place is to provide disruptive innovation through break through ideas, reaching out to new audiences and connecting audiences that SAP has traditionally not connected before”
Avoid the Void
When Idea Place started, guidelines were set in place to reduce the chances of customers feeling that their ideas were not listened to. Through the last two years, some campaigns have been better than others at matching customer expectation but it is clear that a better match can be done. As such, we are revisiting each campaign to ensure submitted ideas are all addressed and providing clarity on what happens to a submitted idea. The focus will be in three areas:
- Improve the Ideation Management Process: Whether or not an idea has reached a minimum amount of votes, it is clear customers look for SAP’s position on each idea, therefore we will aim for every idea submitted to be reviewed. In addition product owners will be required to submit comments and notifications when the status of an idea changes.
- Provide more Transparency on the Process: The internal process was never published, making it difficult for customers to know what the path of their idea may be. Each idea session will be required to document and share the ideation management process, including insights into the review and implementation cycles. This will also help customer know what the cut-off date to submit ideas is.
- Raise the bar for new Innovation Campaigns: New Idea Sessions must meet the new standards. This will include communications and community engagement required to continue campaigns. And ultimately matching business goals and customer expectations with the type of campaigns.
Improving Idea Throughput
The low quality of some ideas, duplicate ideas and similar ideas has led to many ideas not being eligible for consideration in product improvements. This has negatively impacted customer experience and perceived throughput of ideas. Several steps will be taken to improve the quality of ideas, these are:
- Transparency on the Review Criteria: The review criteria will be published to help identify what factors are considered when they are being considered.
- Increasing the Quality of Idea: Automatic response on ideas to provide education on how to build quality ideas, accompanied with early feedback from product managers will provide feedback to the idea submitter to help increase the value of the ideas and the likelihood for their ideas to be considered.
- Get Ideas’ Votes Up: Aim to provide explicit transparency on how many votes are needed to be reviewed. This will not only set an expectation to what minimum vote count is needed but as well provide idea submitters the opportunity to leverage their channels to help increase the votes for their particular idea.
Increasing the Platform Experience
As part of a major platform upgrade, Idea Place is moving to a new platform with the ideation management vendor, BrightIdea. Here is a list of many requested features:
- Search by idea ‘id’
- Categories to provide ways to group ideas and highlight areas of focus
- Additional Idea filter options – status, on status change, category
- Mobile phone App (Mobile interface will work well in Mobile browser but will experiment with a Mobile iPhone App)
- Down votes require a comment
- Link ideas
- Duplicate ideas are removed but appear tagged under the original Idea
- Attach files in Idea Submissions
- Stakeholders can ask required questions
- Idea Session Leaderboards and activity streams
- See who voted and choice of vote
- Notifications on status updates
- Admin comments can be sticky on the top (so it is clear to see the status from the admin)
- Points are based on each idea session. Contributions can identify specialists for each area
To become familiar with the new platform before launch we have created one innovation campaign as a live prototype. To find out more, please visit the SAP NetWeaver Gateway Idea Session.
As well, Matt Johnson will be presenting a Networking lounge session “The NEW Idea Place” at SAP TechEd Las Vegas on Wednesday October 17th, Lounge 4, Hall C. Please feel free to drop by.
There are a lot of great features coming which we hope will improve your overall experience. However, I am mostly excited by the adjustment in focus and the revision of the existing processes. We expect to upgrade early in 2013, so please keep an eye out for further updates and opportunities to participate in design or review.
Please share questions/comments/thoughts you may have.