Creativity: yes, there's even an app for that

You get everyone on board to brainstorm, and a lot of great ideas come to the surface. Now what?

Software handles a lot of things these days, and my colleague over at the ZDNet community, David Greenfield, points out that there's even software that can help turn creative inspiration into products -- helping organizations "move from creative brainstorming to  implementation in a far easier and more effective way than today."

David points out that current technologies -- collaboration tools and wikis, for example -- are good at surfacing new ideas. However, the challenge is being able to act on the ideas, to move them through organizations, get financial support, and eventually be productized. That's still a highly manual and politically charged process. And traditional project management systems do not fit the bill, he adds.

What is needed is what David refers to as "ideation" platforms, and there are some emerging on the market. He cites the example of Imaginatik, which offers a platform called IdeaCentral. Essential components of ideation tools include some type of portfolio manager that helps users track history and activity around an idea, as well as some project management capabilities that enable idea tracking, sponsorship, and expensing.

It remains to be seen whether this new generation of ideation tools evolve and become essential end-to-end innovation platforms, or if they are subsumed by project management or even knowledge management vendors, or if even SharePoint or Web wikis become the idea-to-product solution of choice. But the ability to extend online collaboration and networking across the entire process of innovation is very promising.

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