BrightIdea and Planview, moving closer to an integrated social product development process

October 3, 2009
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200910021229.jpg I had the opportunity to sit down this week with BrightIdea CEO Matt Greeley and discuss the recently announced partnership with Planview. My IDC colleague Sanjeev Pal wrote this Link on the announcement as well, if you are looking for more background from the project and portfolio management (PPM) perspective.

My discussion with Matt focused more on the innovation management and facilitation topic as well as tying this discussion back to my post earlier this week on social PLM. BrightIdea offers 3 modules: 1 for ideasourcing, the 2nd for taking the ideas and managing them through a process of prioritization, and 3rd a module to manage the ideas through to an actual product. The 3rd module is light-weight and in the partnership is replaced by the more robust Planview enterprise PPM solution for use in larger and more complex organizations with multiple product lines. The partnership creates a much more robust and complete enterprise Innovation Management solution.

While there are several platforms available for the actual deployment of a customer community, the capture of community ideas and prioritization (voting) of the those ideas, the BrightIdea / Planview offering is the

200910021229.jpg I had the opportunity to sit down this week with BrightIdea CEO Matt Greeley and discuss the recently announced partnership with Planview. My IDC colleague Sanjeev Pal wrote this Link on the announcement as well, if you are looking for more background from the project and portfolio management (PPM) perspective.

My discussion with Matt focused more on the innovation management and facilitation topic as well as tying this discussion back to my post earlier this week on social PLM. BrightIdea offers 3 modules: 1 for ideasourcing, the 2nd for taking the ideas and managing them through a process of prioritization, and 3rd a module to manage the ideas through to an actual product. The 3rd module is light-weight and in the partnership is replaced by the more robust Planview enterprise PPM solution for use in larger and more complex organizations with multiple product lines. The partnership creates a much more robust and complete enterprise Innovation Management solution.

While there are several platforms available for the actual deployment of a customer community, the capture of community ideas and prioritization (voting) of the those ideas, the BrightIdea / Planview offering is the first to start to build out a complete process around the use of the captured ideas and has already been deployed at several large manufacturers.

The solution today then, would look something like this diagram:

200910021335.jpg

In the future, if we logically extend the idea of an integrated process the solution could look like this:

200910021336.jpg

Hopefully my crude and somewhat high-level drawings start to give you some idea of the potential. If the entire process was to be integrated so that information flows in a continuous loop then the manual handoffs (notoriously bad for causing breakdowns in the process itself) could be eliminated. So let me walk through the process (this assumes that you already have a functioning customer community):

1. Ideas are generated from the customer community, and the best ideas rise to the top based on the collective intelligence of the community.

2. The prioritized ideas are vetted by an internal organization (managed in a innovation platform) and the “best” (could be the most innovative, the ideas with the broadest appeal, the ideas that would generate the highest revenue or profit, etc.) and turned into product specifications. The specifications are then passed into two systems, the PPM system and the PLM system.

3.a  PPM: The specifications are turned into new product development and introduction projects (NPDI) and managed as a part of the project portfolio(s) through development / engineering, manufacturing and distribution/introduction.

3.b PLM: The specifications become a part of the meta-data embedded in whatever concept and design MCAD tools the company chooses and stay a part of the product record for the life of the product. Industrial designers and engineers can then use the information to ensure that they stay on spec to fulfill the original intent for the product.

4. The rest is the normal integrated product lifecycle process that many PLM / ERP systems are capable of executing today.

5. The additional feedback loop is established from the product introduction back into the community where the product is evalueated, rated and over time improved by additional ideas from the community.

This is by far oversimplified and there are certainly many other collaboration and social tools that could be used at various points in the information flow, but I’ll save most of those for anther post (or several other posts most probably). For example, there might be a need for a collaborative design tool for use among distributed design teams or maybe the company is using the concept of open source design to build a community of design engineers to work on the designs or even perhaps the company is using a wiki tool to allow the customer community to contribute to and expand the product documentation.

I could go on and on… which I guess is part of the problem, I see so many opportunities to apply these social concepts across the enterprise that it’s hard to focus sometimes. Well, thankfully BrightIdea and Planview have helped by focusing on a real opportunity to stitch together the first part of a complete innovation management process / solution. As always, I’m excited to see where this goes next!

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