6 Corporate Innovation Tools (2024 Comparison)

Our guide reviews 6 popular corporate innovation tools, including InnovationCast, Qmarkets, Wazoku, Brightidea & more. Compare the top innovation software.

6 Corporate Innovation Tools (2024 Comparison)
Innovation Management
Carlos Mendes
Carlos Mendes
Co-Founder @ InnovationCast
May 13, 2024

Corporate innovation tools are meant to help innovation managers collect ideas, gather feedback on these ideas, test them to determine their potential value, and finally, push them into implementation. In order to do this, in our experience, a good innovation tool should contain the following features: 

  1. Innovation challenges: These are time-bound calls for employees to submit ideas related to specific company priorities. We’ve found that challenges like this produce much better-quality ideas than context-less open calls for ideas that don’t inform employees about company priorities.

  2. Collaborative feedback tools: Ideas rarely remain untouched from collection to implementation. Stakeholders and employees all have thoughts on how to improve idea submissions. Innovation managers should be able to crowdsource idea feedback by letting everyone see idea submissions and work together to improve them.

  3. Idea evaluation workflows: Once department leaders decide to move certain ideas forward, they should have the evaluation workflows in place to validate and implement them. This allows teams to act on ideas rather than have them sit stagnant.

  4. Project and portfolio management: Innovation managers should be able to plan the launch of ongoing innovation projects and keep a historical record of all older ideas so they can learn from past successes and failures.

Below, we list six corporate innovation tools that don’t just help you collect ideas but actually implement them. We start by reviewing our solution, InnovationCast, and then show you how we helped DHL increase employee idea submissions by 67% and implemented ideas by 14% in two years.

1. InnovationCast

Scalable Software to Support the Collection, Assessment, Validation & Implementation of Ideas

InnovationCast homepage: The refreshingly simple, yet uniquely effective, Innovation Management platform.

InnovationCast is an innovation management platform with a comprehensive set of tools that help innovation teams collect, assess, test, and launch ideas.

Before onboarding, our customer success team provides an in-depth demo of how to create detailed challenges around specific company priorities and use various resources to educate employees about these priorities.

We then show you how to use our email templates and automated email drip campaigns to encourage employees to submit ideas and participate in innovation discussions.

Finally, we give you an overview of our idea evaluation workflows, which are starting points that show you what tasks teams need to complete to implement an innovation. These may include conducting customer interviews, running a financial risk analysis, building a business case, or sketching a product prototype.

Let’s briefly discuss the innovation tools inside InnovationCast so you can better understand how our platform works.

Idea Collection Features

InnovationCast has two key features to support idea collection:

  • Challenges (where managers can call on employees to help solve specific organizational problems) 

  • “Always On” (where employees can submit ideas relevant to the overall innovation strategy)

Challenges Help Innovation Managers Gather Solutions to Pointed Problems 

Innovation managers can post challenges around company priorities they’ve been tasked with and invite employees to submit their best ideas.

When posting a challenge, managers can use supplemental resources like videos, articles, and SOPs to give employees context around these priorities. They can then create idea submission forms with questions that require employees to think through specific aspects of their ideas, which typically results in higher-quality submissions.

Lastly, innovation managers can communicate the urgency of each challenge by setting deadlines.

Challenges Dashboard

For example, let’s say the innovation department thinks that shortening the time it takes support agents to respond to customers is a good way to reduce churn.

They could post a challenge and inform employees about how the customer support team organizes tickets, how long it currently takes them to respond to customers, and what response time they are aiming for.

This, first of all, informs employees that this is a current priority of the company and gets them to start thinking of solutions and ideas to this problem. Without a challenge like this, the chances of employees knowing that this is a current priority and submitting ideas about shortening support time is almost zero. 

In addition, the supporting and background information included in a Challenge like this gives employees the information needed to analyze the problem in detail, brainstorm potential solutions with their colleagues, and submit carefully considered ideas.

We also provide innovation managers with the templates required to manage hackathons and shark tanks so they can hold other types of idea collection activities.

Employees Can Submit Relevant Ideas at Any Time with “Always On”

Innovation managers can also use our "Always On" idea collection feature to let employees submit ideas 24/7.

However, to ensure idea submissions are still tied to broader organizational priorities, we strongly recommended that innovation managers establish accepted categories for ideas. This way, employees can’t submit just any idea; their idea submissions have to be related to the innovation strategy.

Which channel applies best to your idea?

Innovation managers can also create custom submission forms (like they would with challenges) that force employees to consider important factors before submitting ideas, which can lead to more well-thought-out submissions.

Idea title and description

Read more: 7 Strategies to Get Innovative Ideas from Employees

Feedback & Collaboration Tools

We designed InnovationCast with collaborative feedback tools so other users can help shape ideas and inform innovation managers about the ones with the most potential. 

In our experience, this step — having a broad swatch of employees comment on each other's ideas, poke holes, challenge, question, and improve — is a critical piece of a thriving innovation program and culture in an organization.

Company-Wide Voting & Discussion

Employee ideas and responses to Challenges can be displayed on the InnovationCast dashboard for everyone to see.

An example of the Challenge Feed

Stakeholders, employees, and outside user groups can vote on submitted ideas by saying whether they “Look great,” “Need work,” or if the voter is “Undecided.” 

We then prompt voters to give more context for their vote by saying why they think an idea is good or needs work. The original author can respond to feedback, highlight the feedback that helped improve their idea, and edit their idea along the way.

Vote idea: Good, Undecided, Not so good

By allowing everyone to vote on ideas and leave feedback, organizations effectively crowdsource idea assessment, a process usually siloed in the hands of a few innovation managers. This gets more individuals thinking about improving ideas so they are thoroughly polished before implementation.

Tools to Evaluate & Implement Ideas

InnovationCast is designed with evaluation workflows and a project management dashboard to help innovation departments evaluate and implement ideas

Customizable Idea Evaluation Workflows

Innovation managers can create as many idea evaluation workflows as necessary to support different types of innovations, including, technological innovations, operational innovations, business model innovations, and product innovations.

These evaluation workflows are like templates that show innovation managers what tasks need to be completed during each stage of an idea’s lifecycle to successfully implement it. These tasks may include building a product prototype or launching a pilot program to test the prototype.

Workflow Stages: Discussion, Screening, Refinement, Evaluation, Approval and Prioritization, Validation, Implementation, Impact

For instance, let’s say a company is considering building a bespoke CRM. 

  • Innovation managers can create a workflow where the HR team first interviews employees to understand whether they actually need one or not. 

  • If so, the finance team can run a financial risk analysis to determine its long-term cost versus an off-the-shelf solution. 

  • If a bespoke CRM is financially feasible, the product development team can begin building a prototype and testing it to understand whether it lives up to expectations.

This way, innovation teams can manage an idea’s entire lifecycle inside InnovationCast. They can assign tasks to various teams so everyone knows what they are responsible for, whether conducting interviews with employees, running a financial risk analysis, or sketching an MVP, for example.

Since these tasks have due dates, teams also know when they need to have them ready, which keeps innovation projects on track.

Read more: How to Develop an Innovation Process to Launch New Ideas

Project & Portfolio Management

Once teams are ready to launch ideas, they can use our project management tools to plan out implementation tasks, add due dates, and track project progress.

Employee Innovation Projects

Continuing the example above, if the CRM prototype lived up to expectations during testing, innovation managers can invite the product development team to build the full CRM and then ask the HR team to interview employees and gather their thoughts.

In addition, innovation managers can use our portfolio management features to track ongoing projects. They can also access a historical record of all previous initiatives, allowing them to learn from past projects and adapt their current processes.

Additional Tools That Help Establish a Culture of Innovation within Your Company

These are a few additional tools we added to InnovationCast to encourage innovation beyond the collection, assessment, and implementation of ideas:

  • Signals & Scouting

  • Employee badges and rewards

  • Email reminders and templates

Signals & Scouting

Our Signals & Scouting feature allows users to share articles, newsletters, videos, and other resources that are relevant to the innovation strategy with the rest of the organization. 

From here, we require them to categorize their resources and answer questions about any key takeaways and personal insights they gathered.

When other users log into InnovationCast, they can find these resources on their dashboard and add comments to start discussions about them.

Discover Signals

So, let’s say an employee sees that a startup recently launched a competing feature. They can share it using Signals & Scouting, and stakeholders and employees can discuss whether it warrants any action.

This type of news sharing is often siloed inside email threads, messaging apps, and video calls. But by centralizing news sharing, more people within the organization can learn about competitors and current events, which spurs discussion and can facilitate the creation of new ideas.

Employee Badges & Rewards

Brainstorming, researching, and submitting ideas require a time investment from employees, and when employees aren’t rewarded for their hard work, they tend to stop participating in innovation efforts.

This is why we offer a badges and rewards system to incentivize employees to continue submitting ideas and engaging in innovation discussions.

Badges in InnovationCast: Account badges, Challenge badges, Idea badges, Comment badges

Innovation managers can choose to give out badges and points to employees who participate in innovation efforts. They can then allow employees to redeem these badges and points for PTO, cash prizes, movie tickets, or any other reward.

Email Reminders & Templates

We found that innovation departments often struggle to get employees onboarded and using their new innovation software. 

So, we give InnovationCast clients a variety of onboarding email templates they can use to train employees on how our solution works and the features it provides. 

From here, innovation managers can use our email reminders to prompt employees to submit ideas, leave feedback on their colleagues’ ideas, or post Signals.

3 tips on how to improve your idea

How InnovationCast Helped DHL Collect 67% More Employee Ideas in Just Two Years

DHL is a logistics and shipping company that delivers billions of packages annually. They employ over 500,000 employees as well as an IT team of more than 5,000 professionals to ensure the technical side of the business runs smoothly.

When DHL approached us, they already had good innovation processes in place. Their innovation department encouraged their 500,000 employees to work together to brainstorm new ideas and improve them before implementation. However, they struggled to involve their IT team in innovation initiatives.

So, they used InnovationCast to build a company-wide innovation system called IdeaHub. IT team members could submit ideas, collaborate with the rest of the organization to improve them, and turn them into shippable innovations. This created a culture of innovation where all users could share their best ideas and participate in discussions.

Quote from Manuel Ariu, Idea & Community Manager, DHL: "InnovationCast has brought our innovation culture to life! It's a big step forward in innovation and employee engagement."

Book a Free InnovationCast Demo

If you want to utilize corporate innovation tools that don't just help you collect ideas, but actually push them into validation and implementation — schedule a free demo with our customer success team. 

2. Qmarkets

Qmarkets homepage: One innovation ecosystem. Infinite possibilities.

Qmarkets is an enterprise innovation management platform with various tools to support the collection and implementation of ideas.

Before onboarding, their customer success team meets with you to provide an overview of their solution and the tools it offers. They’ll show you how to create challenges, crowdsource idea feedback, and launch ideas.

They also ask questions to get an understanding of your innovation strategy and customize their solution around this strategy.

Qmarkets’ innovation management software can be split up into five tools:

  • Q-optimize — This is similar to our challenges feature. Innovation managers can create postings that educate employees about company goals and initiatives and call them to submit relevant ideas.

  • Q-ideate — Innovation managers can crowdsource feedback by letting all users view submitted ideas and move the best ones forward.

  • Q-trend — Users can share the latest industry news with the rest of the organization and discuss how it may impact them.

  • Q-impact — Innovation managers can create implementation tasks, assign these tasks to various teams and employees, and monitor their progress.

  • Q-scout — i=Innovation managers, entrepreneurs, and subject matter experts can connect from all over the world and brainstorm ways to overcome company pain points.

Pricing

Qmarkets doesn’t have a pricing page on their website. You need to contact them and they’ll provide you with a custom quote.

3. Wazoku

Wazoku homepage: Transform your innovation results

Wazoku offers an ecosystem of innovation tools catered toward larger organizations. Like InnovationCast and Qmarkets, Wazoku’s customer success team joins you on a call before onboarding to show you how their platform works. 

They also ask questions to understand your innovation goals better and then tailor their solution around these goals.

Wazoku’s platform can be broken down into four main tools:

  • Innovation challenges — Innovation managers can create challenges tied to priorities they are currently focused on and invite employees to share ideas. Employees can submit ideas and work with other users to refine them.

  • Employee rewards — Innovation managers can use rewards such as cash bonuses, PTO, and public recognition to incentivize employees to take part in innovation efforts.

  • Insights & impulse surveys — Innovation managers can create and send in-depth surveys to employees and stakeholders to get their thoughts on specific innovations.

  • Innovation networks — Innovation managers can connect with subject matter experts outside the company and ask for feedback on certain company problems and opportunities.

Pricing

Wazoku doesn’t list a price on their website; they provide custom quotes when you contact them for a demo.

4. Brightidea

Brightidea homepage: Software for managing employee ideas

Brightidea is a customizable innovation management platform targeted around the needs of global enterprise brands. In fact, they’ve worked with enterprises such as Nike, Amazon, and LinkedIn.

These are Brightidea’s core tools that facilitate the setup of effective innovation processes:

  • Program — This is Brightidea’s version of our challenges feature. Innovation managers can create detailed postings about problems to be solved and goals to be achieved and encourage employees to submit ideas.

  • Idea Box — This is Brightidea’s version of our “Always On” feature. Innovation managers can ask employees to freely submit ideas related to certain categories. They can then organize these ideas inside the platform and decide which to pursue.

  • Hackathon — Innovation managers can create hackathons using Brightidea’s templates and invite employees and stakeholders to participate.

  • Lab — Innovation managers, subject matter experts, and stakeholders can see all submitted ideas inside the Lab feature and decide which ones to move forward. 

  • Ecosystem — Innovation managers can connect with outside parties and brainstorm ways to improve internal processes.

  • Transformation — Team leaders can transform raw ideas into fully-fledged innovations by gathering feedback and assigning various implementation tasks to employees.

Pricing

Brightidea doesn’t share their pricing on their website; however, users report that plans start at $59 per month.

Read more: 6 Brightidea Competitors and Alternatives 2024 Review Guide

5. HYPE Innovation

HYPE homepage: Excel at innovation with HYPE

HYPE Innovation provides dedicated innovation software and consulting services to businesses of all sizes. They’ve worked with companies like Nokia, Airbus, and Liberty Global. 

Their innovation ecosystem can be broken down into four tools:

  • Strategy — Innovation managers can create roadmaps for collecting, validating, and implementing ideas relevant to their innovation strategy.

  • Ideation — Innovation managers can use features similar to InnovationCast’s challenges and “Always On” to invite employees to submit their best ideas.

  • Partnering — Innovation managers can invite employees and stakeholders to the HYPE platform, where they can assess submitted ideas and decide which ones are worth launching.

  • Projects — Innovation managers can create implementation tasks (financial risk analysis, customer interviews, MVP development) and assign them to certain teams and employees.

HYPE also offers dedicated consulting services, where they meet with you to discuss your business requirements and what you’re trying to achieve with your innovation efforts. 

They then build an innovation strategy that includes not just an innovation platform but also the necessary processes, methodologies, leadership teams, and employee training.

Pricing

HYPE Innovation offers both innovation management software and consulting services on its website. However, they don’t publicly disclose pricing; you’ll have to book a demo for a custom quote.

6. Planbox

Planbox homepage: Innovate and collaborate wherever you are

The final innovation management platform we want to discuss is Planbox. They provide innovation tools to virtual teams living around the world in different time zones and speaking different languages.

Planbox has something similar to InnovationCast’s challenges feature called Innovation Jam. Innovation managers and stakeholders can create a call for ideas on certain topics that are only open for around one to seven days. This communicates to employees that these initiatives are urgent, typically resulting in quick idea submissions.

In addition to this Innovation Jam feature, Planbox’s core functionalities consist of the following tools:

  • Employee engagement — Innovation managers can use email templates and automatic notifications to invite employees to submit ideas.

  • Tech scouting — Innovation teams and track and stay current with the latest technologies, competitor features, and startups.

  • Corporate venturing — Innovation teams can brainstorm ways to find new investment opportunities and partnerships.

  • Continuous improvement — Employees, stakeholders, and subject matter experts are encouraged to provide feedback on each other’s ideas and work together to improve them.

  • Open innovation — Innovation managers can invite customers, partners, startups, and other outside user groups to take part in innovation initiatives.

Pricing

Planbox reportedly charges $2 per month per user; however, we recommend contacting the customer success team to learn more about their pricing.

Getting Started

InnovationCast provides innovation managers with all the tools required to collect high-quality ideas, test them, crowdsource feedback, and finally, implement them.

Schedule a free InnovationCast demo to see our full platform and chat with a member of our customer success team.

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