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Venture SpiritAs soon as I had collected my thoughts about a more engaging way to foster innovation in an organization and published The Venture Capital Model for Innovation in Organizations, the Belgian consulting and innovation solution company Venture Spirit replied and told me: "We have what you are looking for!" No way! As if they could read my mind.

Stefan Triest, General Manager of Venture Spirit, walked me through their innovation platform and service that is an online business game, where employees fill out the roles of three types participants: investors, entrepreneurs and talents (or experts). A typical "game" runs for three to four months, and employees can join the game regardless of their function or location. In a completely self-organizing way employees are encouraged to collaborate and share knowledge on ideas and invest in them and find resources. At the end a ranking of ideas (or plans as they call it) is provided through the investments done by the players.

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In my role as Senior Innovation Strategist in a Fortune 500 company, I have been facilitating innovation through organizing events, by providing support and infrastructure for innovative communities, and connecting people through the ecosystem. Working with and talking to successful (and unsuccessful) innovators inside and outside the organization, I have seen certain patterns that helped or blocked getting innovation out to the market. Some of the common show-stoppers for making internal innovation successful are
  • developers who are unfamiliar with the proper processes that help them to bring their idea into the product portfolio
  • Innovative teams that lack certain skill sets, e.g. teams mainly composed of developers and without somebody who can craft a business model
  • active or passive resistance from important gatekeepers
  • structures that do not a allow flexible realignment of resources
  • not-invented-here-syndrom
  • and many more…
First and foremost the use of an innovation management platform that helps to keep track and process innovative ideas is a good start. I introduced a number of vendors with a gamified offering of such platforms in a past article. Partly encouraged through such platforms, partly because these organizations are still stuck in a hierarchical thought model, a body of decision makers on what idea deserves to be pursued is established.

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Einleitung

Nachdem Gartner vorhersagt, dass bis 2015 mehr als 50 Prozent aller Unternehmen, die systematisch Innovation betreiben, diese Prozesse auch gamifiziert haben werden, ist es Zeit, sich mal anzusehen, wer was tut und welche gamizifierten Innovationsmanagementplattformen es eigentlich gibt. Und das alles, damit wir beitragen, diese selbsterfüllende Vorhersage zu verwirklichen.

Da ich seit vielen Jahren in einem großen Softwareunternehmen Innovation auf verschiedene Weisen aktiv unterstütze - u.a. organisiere ich Innovationsveranstaltungen, betreibe innovative Communities, und betreue Innovationsplattformen, ist mir bewusst, dass Innovationsmanagementplattformen nur ein Werkzeug im Arsenal von innovativen Unternehmen sind. Ohne geeigneten Prozessen, Strukturen, aktiver Unterstützung und Teilnahme von Mitarbeitern und Management, und der Himmel weiss sonst noch, kann man auch das toteste Pferd nicht in ein Rennpferd verwandeln.
 
Schauen wir uns zuerst mal ein paar Beispiele von Firmen an, die Gamifizierung verwenden, um ihre Innovationsprozesse interessanter zu gestalten, und zwar sowohl mit Kunden als auch mit Mitarbeitern.

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