Albert Einstein once said “Why is it I always get my best ideas while shaving?” Unfortunately this is one of the few conundrums which he was unable to provide an answer to, but if I had to theorize, I would posit that it is an issue of perspective. As we sometimes tell our clients at Qmarkets, the key to overcoming a challenge or formulating a new idea, is often simply finding a new way to look at the problem. In this respect, innovation management solutions are invaluable.
Ironically, it was this concept that also inspired me personally when I began working on Qmarkets’ idea and innovation management software almost 10 years ago. I recalled in my youth seeing an art piece at an exhibit by an Israeli artist called Agam, which displayed two completely unique images when viewed from different angles.
It was only later on when brainstorming the challenges around our platform that the connection between the concepts hit me. I realized suddenly not only how important it is to change your perspective for inspiration, but also that this concept must be ingrained within the fundamental design of Qmarkets’ platform. This unlikely connection between the worlds of technology and art has always stayed with me, and continues to inspire my work and inform my approach to innovation in R&D.
Our Vision for Innovation in R&D:
Almost all of Qmarkets’ customers are leading global enterprises, employing tens of thousands of employees across a huge variety of geographies and industries. These employees are often the very best at what they do, excelling in their domains and spending each day in the pursuit of
excellence for their customers.
In order to take our inspiration and connect it with the highly demanding business world, we knew that we were going to need to offer innovation management solutions which would allow our customers to shoot for the stars when it came to achieving their goals, while also making the whole process as intuitive as possible. But we didn’t just want our customers to have to reach out for the stars, we instead wanted to bring the stars within reach of their fingertips.
Whatever an innovation department within a large enterprise could possibly want, we wanted to allow them to reach it. This meant providing companies with innovation management solutions via a reliable platform which was both flexible and comfortable. The platform would have to have multiple use case configurations loaded as presets, and give users the option of creating their own configuration, based on their cultural and corporate needs.
This vision, this drive to offer the customer whatever they want even before they ask for it, has been a challenge that continues to push our team forward at Qmarkets. This shared philosophy is especially evident when you look at what we have achieved in two key areas of collective intelligence software: collaboration and participant engagement:
Laying the Foundation…
User engagement is the make or break determination of your innovation management project – your users are the most important resource you have and so it should be paramount to every initiative. With this in mind, we have always invested heavily in making the platform as engaging and user-friendly as possible.
We also utilize the concept of gamification to encourage users to repeat desired actions such as idea submission or evaluation. This is also achieved by improving communication techniques, creating multiple engagement options, and engaging evaluation tools such as our unique idea tournament system.
As you can see, there is a clear cross-over between collaboration and engagement, as they both fuel each other, and if you get them both right you are half-way there to achieving success with your project.
Facilitating a New Perspective
Sometimes when you hear about collaboration from vendors of innovation management solutions, it’s presented as a nice bonus which will keep your end users happy, or as an optional function which is seen as non-essential. However, from the very beginning of our development process at Qmarkets, we understood that collaboration should not just be a superficial or peripheral feature, but instead a core function which needed to be supported fully within the infrastructure of the system.
Since then we have experienced countless examples of users submitting seemingly bad ideas, which receive feedback and development from other users within the system and go on to become invaluable once implemented company-wide. These ideas would all have been discarded if not for the wealth of collaboration features we’ve implemented since creating this platform, from navigational shortcuts and design optimization, to social integrations and workflow refinement.
As I explained at the start, finding a different perspective can often act as a catalyst to inspiration, and that’s exactly why collaboration is such a crucial factor to innovation success – there’s no better way to see things from a new angle, than receiving a string of comments from all of your peers and colleagues!
Under the Hood: A strong infrastructure
Finally, we realized that before users even saw the final product, we would need to build a versatile back-end platform that could address everyone’s needs, whether this meant multi-language support or multitenancy;allowing one company to run different instances for each department within the company.
Our Q360 solution also allows companies to run multiple use-case solutions within the same platform, preventing unnecessary integrations and duplication. It was equally important for us to provide secure uninterrupted accessibility, which is why Qmarkets maintains a cutting-edge hosting infrastructure, including a Germany-based private cloud, and globally-positioned AWS data centers.
We built the system to allow each user to see the entire process from their point of view, in the way that is most relevant to them – users in the accounting and marketing departments can look at the same idea and see the information they need to see, without being distracted by information that means nothing to them.
Where Do We Go From Here?
Work in our R&D department never really ends, as we continuously strive to not only address all of our customers’ needs and requests, but also to provide solutions and features even before customers realize they want them. In the future, I predict that our work will focus on revolutionary features like automatic idea clustering, and our unique Mind Maps feature. There is no telling what great technological advancements our customers will aspire towards, but I can guarantee that our team will be there to deliver the innovation management solutions which are required to achieve them.
This post was written by Edy Rozenfeld, Head of the R&D department at Qmarkets. To learn more about Qmarkets’ innovation management solutions and crowdsourcing systems, don’t hesitate to contact us today! Click here to schedule a free demo of Qmarkets software.