There are a number of really good innovation management solution available today. But does every organization need a full innovation management solution, or do they need come core capabilities built into their existing collaboration environment?
Ideas in the Activity Stream
NewsGator (news, site) is set release another module for Social Sites 2010 for SharePoint 2010. Called the Idea Stream Module, it integrates completely into SharePoint and the Social Sites 2010 environment.
Idea Stream has 3 modes in which it can be used:
1. Testing an Idea
You can submit an idea directly into the Activity Stream if you want to test an idea out on people. They can vote and comment on your idea.
2. Ideas in the Community
You can post an idea within a community and even direct it at a specific person at the same time. Again people in the community can vote and comment on the idea.
In this case though, there is an administrator stream where admins can filter by ideas to see the activity on it and who the top users are. A custom SharePoint list provides more control over idea management allowing you to change the state of the idea, control when it's used and allow you to export the results to Excel.
3. Ideas in a Campaign
According to Brian Kellner, NewsGator’s vice president of products, typical use cases for idea campaigns are once a month, quarter or year. Organizations have a fairly robust set of capabilities for running a campaign.
Administrators can disable voting and commenting, allowing some time just to generate ideas. Then they can review and close the one they don't want and enable voting/commenting on the ones they do want. In addition, admins can require that all ideas be reviewed prior to being visible.
To launch a campaign, admins can generate a custom SharePoint site complete with filters and reporting. People have the ability to follow a campaign, see the top ideas and submit ideas within a richer form, including attaching file with more information.
Ideas Go Mobile
Of course, it's also important to acknowledge that many employees work remotely and so NewsGator ensures that the Idea Stream module is accessible via the mobile -- iPad and iPhone for starters.
Keep It Inside the Stream
Much of Social Sites capabilities happen inside the activity stream. This is a logical place for idea generation to happen, especially if people depend on the activity stream to get the latest information. Kellner believes it is the idea place to participate and the lightweight interactions make it simple to use, which of course should encourage more usage.
Many of the standalone Innovation Management solutions do offer some type of integration with other systems like email, but if you are looking for some straightforward capabilities for idea generation and you have SharePoint already up and running, the Social Sites Idea Stream Module is worth considering.
It isn't available yet, but if you are attending the Enterprise 2.0 conference in Santa Clara next week, NewsGator will be there and they will be demonstrating this module.