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These days, social networks seem to be the place where people can track a person’s whereabouts, their latest accomplishments, or what they’re working on, to who they last engaged with. To that end, applying social network features inside a company may be a more effective and transparent way for employees to innovate. That’s the idea behind BrightIdea’s social network platform for the enterprise. “Large companies deploy our platform to stimulate innovation amongst their rank and file employees,” said Matt Greeley, CEO of BrightIdea, a white-label software company that brings social networking features inside the corporation.
BrightIdea, which was founded in 1999 and is growing revenue at 200% annually, is already managing innovation for some large clients, such as Cisco Systems, AstraZeneca, Merrill Lynch, and UBS. For Cisco, BrightIdea is powering the networking giant’s I-Prize, a competition with a prize of $250,000 and up to $10 million to develop the idea inside Cisco. About 1,100 pitches from 104 countries have been submitted, according to BusinessWeek.
The I-Prize is the contest model, but the social network is yet another way for BrightIdea to help company’s tap into the wisdom of their corporation. For this service, companies will typically pay $25,000 to $50,000 per year per unit. An enterprise-wide package is $250,000 to half a million. What companies get for this is the requisite social network features, such as the ability to create profiles and make connections. But the differentiator for BrightIdea is that it tracks ideas. “How we differentiate is all that activity is tied to the innovation process or pipeline,” he said. “We timestamp and give an ID on every idea."
Consider Experian, which is using BrightIdea’s social network. “They’re developing 300 to 400 new products at any given point in time, what we offer is a tracking system - What are financial projections, launch date, such that management can look at that and say, ‘This is where our growth is coming from.’” One goal is that management can look at the data and determine whether it needs to improve its decision-cycle time. Other goals are to identify where good ideas are coming from, who can recognize a good idea and who can project accurately the value of an idea.
Sounds like all good ideas to me. Whether BrightIdea can capture them will determine how active those corporate social networks will be.
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