Tuesday evening I attended the Bay Area CIO/IT Executive Meetup to learn about innovation at Intuit. A leader in personal and business financial software and services, Intuit has been ahead of the curve on those applications. But the speaker, Tad Milbourn, told us the story of how a team of new hires (4 people including Tad) used their 10% “unstructured” time to develop a new improved way to collect, collaborate and advance ideas into products and services. [Unstructured time = time for employees to work on their own projects that may help the company]. Internally, the impact was significant. Instead of continuing at the average rate of 4 innovations per year (1998-2007), the company had more than 20 innovations in 2008 with the help of Brainstorm.
The Brainstorm software allows people to post ideas internally. Employees can comment, suggesting improvements or modifications. Senior leaders, able to view the original post and the followup input, can opt to support the idea. [Management support is always important in turning ideas into actualized innovations]. Tags are used to help innovators find the information they need and to make connections to others proposed concepts. The system is also used to recruit team members to work on the project as it moves along.
So- why would anyone else care? Because right now, Brainstorm is being tested at two customers. Based on the feedback, expect to see this become a new offering available to the public.