One Weird Thing that Makes Outstanding Products

by Jessica Day

If you work in product development, you know that one of the hardest things is managing to achieve perfect market fit ahead of the competition. There are scores of processes and numerous stakeholders that should be included in the process, business priorities need to be weighted and sorted, screened and tested and that’s assuming that you’ve got some new ideas in the first place.

Oftentimes the metrics for success within a product team are purely associated with new revenue growth from product lines or return on investment. However, we’re finding that if companies broaden their success metrics to include other calculations (most importantly the number of ideas that they investigate and the time to market), they will realize that their most important asset in developing incredible new products and improving existing ones is their base of employees.

In large organizations, it is possible for great ideas to come from anywhere and maximize the number of ideas that a development team investigates. For example, when Allstate was looking for design ideas for a mobile app that it was launching, the winning idea was sourced from one of the firm’s trial attorneys based out of the Buffalo office – hardly the head of their mobile marketing division. The trend is for both employers and employees to have the flexibility to move outside the bounds of their specific role with the freedom to be creative; there are no longer borders that separate R&D from the rest of the company.

The great news is that once a company embraces openly asking their entire employee base using open innovation instead of closed innovation practices, they  find that (according to experts) “open innovation is a more profitable way to innovate, because it can reduce costs, accelerate time to market, increase differentiation in the market, and create new revenue streams for the company.”

A good example of this is Citrix – a company that creates collaboration tools for the workplace (maybe you know them as GoToMeeting or GoToWebinar).  Since 2001, Citrix has had a company mandate to gather new ideas from both internal and external parties in order to improve their company products & processes. While they used to gather ideas by email, they found that this process didn’t scale and they had to find a new way to manage the high volume of suggestions. They ended up launching an innovation management solution with several stages that gathered hundreds of ideas.

To learn more about Citrix and their idea management software, download the case study here.

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Jessica DayJessica Day is a marketing and technology writer and editor for IdeaScale. She received her Masters in Writing from the University of Washington. Day also blogs about crowd-based innovation and idea management solutions at

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