Software vendor Imaginatik was first to market with an innovation management solution in 1996, and its product Innovation Central today provides a broad and flexible platform that supports end-to-end innovation management. Though the market opportunity has never been greater, the company faces increasing competition and needs to find new ways to differentiate.
The godfather of innovation management solutions
Founded in the UK in 1996, Imaginatik was the first software vendor to release a software product to support innovation management. It’s credited with coining the term “idea management”, as well as with introducing the concept of innovation challenges to focus the crowd-sourced capture of ideas. However, the company was some way ahead of its time, and didn’t start to get traction for its offerings until the mid-2000s, when trends like Enterprise 2.0 and enterprise social networking began to take hold.
Today, the company remains one of the most well-known vendors in the innovation management space, positioning itself as an “end-to-end innovation management software” provider with an offering that addresses both the front-end and back-end of the innovation process. Imaginatik’s customers are typically large global brands across a variety of industry sectors including financial services, professional services, global food services, facilities management, retail, pharmaceutical and aviation. The company targets organisations managing a corporate-level innovation programme, with a complex and extensive portfolio of innovation investments that requires a structured approach underpinned by project management and reporting. Around 85% of deployments are for internal innovation use cases, with the rest externally-focused; in practice, most external customers also have an internal deployment as well.
The Innovation Central portfolio
Imaginatik’s offering, Innovation Central, in fact comprises three products: Discovery Central, Innovation Central and Results engine. All three can be deployed in a dedicated, private hosted environment, as a SaaS-based service hosted by Imaginatik in the cloud, or on-premise, although only around 5% of customers choose on-premise deployment.
The platform is priced based either per individual event (such as a challenge, tournament, jam or hackathon, or an initial proof-of-concept) or per community, with the latter referring to an ongoing innovation programme involving a specific set of users. A single organisation may have more than one innovation community (either internal or external) to address different business needs or different groups of participants.
Discovery Central provides a structured platform to enable organisations to capture, organise and understand market activities and trend, using a virtual card-based approach. Innovation teams and market analysts can capture “clues” – either from sources such as Wikipedia, Twitter and TED that are surfaced within the platform, or by creating their own text-based entries. These clues can then be aggregated and interpreted to create “insights” that can be used to support concept development or drive ideation challenges.