6 Idea Management Tools for Innovation Driven Enterprises to Look at in 2023

Idea Management Tools

“It doesn’t make sense to hire smart people and tell them what to do. We hire smart people so they can tell us what to do.” – Steve Jobs

While collaborating to bring innovative solutions to pressing business problems, have you ever wondered how companies at the bleeding edge of innovation approach such high-impact decisions?

I recently came across Nestlé’s InGenius. It is the company’s “Employee Innovation Accelerator.” But, here is the kicker, Nestlé paved the way to incentivize its nearly 300,000 employees working in almost 200 nations globally to help the company bring innovative solutions to the market.

This accelerator has delivered on its promise, and how! It has allowed Nestlé to fast-track innovation and provide game-changing solutions to the market in months. In addition, the company has sought to fortify its competitive advantage in Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, and Virtual Reality, saving natural resources and increasing the incomes of its farmer partners.

6 Idea Management Tools

Just so you know, managing your intellectual property assets on an excel spreadsheet is a bad idea. So before we proceed, ensure that you heed this word of caution and avoid running a broken idea management process.

With that covered, let’s learn about the idea management tools an innovation-driven enterprise like yours can utilize.

The TIP ToolTM by Triangle IP 

The TIP ToolTM by Triangle IP is an intuitive drag-and-drop tool that helps you manage the end-to-end IP lifecycle from ideas to patents. With the TIP ToolTM, anyone in the enterprise can submit and track the progress of their innovative ideas.

Key Benefits Offered by the TIP ToolTM for Idea Management

#1- Enable Enterprise-Wide Participation

The TIP ToolTM allows role-based access to users. Enterprises using the tool can enable employee participation across the enterprise without worrying about the confidentiality of certain IP-related information. For example, did you know that PepsiCo’s low-sodium snack idea came from someone who didn’t belong to the R&D team?

#2 – Capture More Innovation by Minimizing Friction from Innovators for Idea Submission

The TIP ToolTM offers a short, simple, easy-to-fill idea capture form that innovators can fill to describe their ideas or inventions. Moreover, the TIP ToolTM offers a magic link-based login that relieves innovators from remembering one more password. There might be a situation wherein you need to decide between unfiled ideas and low-priority ideas. Users can utilize TIP ToolTM’s archive feature to focus on important ideas.

#3 – Gather Specific Information from Innovators with Customizable Idea Form

The TIP ToolTM offers a customizable idea capture form. The innovation managers can add/edit or delete fields of the form. Sometimes, there arises a possibility that an enterprise requires specific information for which there is no field in the default idea capture form. The TIP ToolTM covers this scenario as well. The TIP ToolTM makes it possible to incorporate a company’s internal nomenclature so that no additional training is required for staff.

#4 – Filter Ideas Based on Tags for Any Discussion

TIP ToolTM understands the importance of having an organized system. Therefore, it allows users to tag, group, and filter ideas. For example, for a particular business meeting, you may wish to select ideas that belong to a specific line of product, technology, or some other category. The TIP ToolTM makes it extremely easy to add tags to ideas and, consequently, filter ideas based on such tags later.

#5 – Select the Most Promising Ideas for Patenting by Enabling Thorough Vetting of Ideas

The TIP ToolTM makes it easy for inventors, managers, patent counsel, or other stakeholders working from remote locations to brainstorm ideas in real time. The TIP ToolTM achieves this by allowing users to edit idea information and add comments. In addition, the TIP ToolTM records every change made to idea-related information. Moreover, all your ideas can be scored on different parameters within the TIP ToolTM. You can utilize these scores to prioritize and rank the patentability of each idea.

#6 – Track Ideas As They Progress Through All the Stages of the IP Lifecycle

The TIP ToolTM offers a drag-and-drop interface to move ideas from one stage to another. It provides four stages to track ideas as they progress – Idea Capture, Internal Vetting, Patent Drafting, and Patent Filing.

#7 – Get USPTO Status Updates for Your Patents and Patent Applications Without the Help of a Patent Counsel

The TIP ToolTM helps you stay in sync with the USPTO by automatically fetching updates on your patents and patent applications and displaying them within the tool. In addition, you can receive notifications on any PTO rejections your idea received and promptly address each idea’s probable roadblocks within the TIP ToolTM.

#8 – Track KPIs of Innovators at Your Enterprise

The TIP ToolTM offers a super simple dashboard to see innovation-related metrics for your R&D teams quickly. For example, you can see the number of ideas submitted and the patentability of those ideas by all your innovators. In addition, you can identify the most promising innovators as well.

#9 – Get A Quick Glimpse of Your Idea Pipeline in One Click

The TIP ToolTM also offers role-specific dashboards. As a result, innovation managers can get a holistic view of the idea pipeline in seconds. Consequently, the TIP ToolTM helps you manage the workflow from idea collection to portfolio management.

Demo

Sign up for an interactive product demo of the TIP ToolTM and experience its features yourself! The TIP ToolTM offers a demo playground with pre-populated data to easily explore the tool’s functionalities.

Pricing

The TIP ToolTM provides a free tier (forever). Its premium tier costs $50 per month and $495 per year. The TIP ToolTM has a custom tier as well. Visit its pricing page.

Review

Client Interaction

We mentioned the TIP ToolTM’s features of staying in sync with the USPTO and understanding an idea’s movement along the IP lifecycle with a glance.

Triangle IP’s founder, Tom Franklin, regularly speaks to prospects and clients to gather insights on benefiting from using the TIP ToolTM.

Here’s what a prospect had to say about these features.

Their Usual Process

“At our company, we track IP progress during each quarter in the following manner:

  1. First, how many inventions are getting started?
  2. Second, how many of these inventions are getting completed (meaning that they have been sent to the Intellectual Property Committee to make a decision)?
  3. Next, how many Intellectual Property Committee decisions are being made in a quarter?
  4. In the final stage, we also consider it a success if we establish trade secrets. However, make no mistake, filing a patent would be the best success.

Understandably, we consider how many filings we have completed in the quarter. So that is our specific focus on the metrics.”

How the TIP ToolTM Helps

“I used to get emails from my boss asking, “Show me how many of these things happened this quarter.” I would previously have to generate this data manually.”

Having this information summarised in your tool is extremely handy for me.

Website

Visit Triangle IP’s website to explore the TIP ToolTM.

Brightidea Idea Box

Brightidea’s advanced software attempts to accelerate the success of innovation by facilitating and streamlining the ideation process and collaboration.

Key Benefits Offered by Brightidea Idea Box for Idea Management

#1 – Collect Ideas Using A Frictionless Platform

Brightidea’s Idea Box offers an always-on digital suggestion box for collecting ideas. This accessibility empowers the workforce to submit ideas whenever and wherever is convenient.

#2 – Scale Your Innovation Platform

If your business requires help managing and automating an increased volume of idea submissions, Idea Box can upgrade the system at no extra cost for additional modules and services.

#3 – Receive Robust Idea Analytics

To make informed idea decisions, Idea Box can track every idea’s RoI and business impact from within the tool.

Demo

You can request a demo here.

Pricing

Brightidea allows a free trial to try the product. Unfortunately, extensive pricing information is unavailable.

Review

You can explore Brightidea’s reviews on G2.

Website

Visit Brightidea’s Idea Box website to explore the product.

Ideanote

Ideanote is a next-generation innovation software that offers what users need to collect, develop, prioritize and act on more of the right ideas.

Key Benefits Offered by Ideanote for Idea Management

#1 – Collect Highly Contextual Ideas

Ideanote allows users to achieve quantity and quality while sharing ideas. For example, if users want to add images, presentation decks, or videos to give people context, Ideanote makes it possible.

#2 – Facilitate Enterprise-Wide Innovation

Ideanote allows outsiders to contribute to the internal innovation process through guest accounts. Moreover, the tool promotes community building by letting people describe their expertise.

#3 – Customize Access to Innovation Process

Ideanote allows users to organize people in groups and assign them access depending on their roles in innovation management. Therefore, a section of users can contribute ideas, while experts can manage tasks surrounding the vetting of ideas.

Demo

You can request a demo here.

Pricing

Ideanote’s free tier (limited to 10 members) is free. The business tier (for 15 to 2500 members) offers dynamic pricing, ranging from $49/month to $1249/month. The enterprise tier (unlimited members) requires booking a demo. Visit its pricing page.

Review

You can explore Ideanote’s reviews on G2.

Website

Visit Ideanote’s website to explore the product.

IdeaScale

IdeaScale is an innovation management solution that links enterprises to people with ideas. It is an intuitive space where the best ideas thrive based on merit. IdeaScale lends relevance to the most important challenges.

Key Benefits Offered by IdeaScale for Idea Management

#1 – Collect Ideas Using Intuitive Form

IdeaScale offers a simple and customizable idea submission form to add relevant details.

#2 – Integrate Social Sharing APIs

To add new ideas to your enterprise’s IdeaScale community, users can utilize in-built APIs to platforms like Twitter, LinkedIn, Slack, and MS Teams.

#3 – Receive Innovation Trend Analysis and RoI

IdeaScale offers enterprise-wide innovation dashboards allowing users to gain insights into an enterprise’s innovation inputs and outputs. You can learn more about ideas’ origin, implementation, and relative value.

Demo

You can request a demo here.

Pricing

IdeaScale crafts its pricing proposal based on the program’s chosen features, scope, and more. IdeaScale requires booking a demo for this process.

Review

You can explore IdeaScale’s reviews on G2.

Website

Visit IdeaScale’s website to explore the product.

Viima

Viima is an all-in-one innovation platform that helps take ideas to innovations, helping along every step. Viima makes the journey effortless so that users can focus on making more innovation happen.

Key Benefits Offered by Viima for Idea Management

#1 – Effortlessly Process Idea Collection

Viima allows the categorization of new ideas in the right places. Moreover, it automatically ensures that the right people receive notifications about new ideas.

#2 – Promote Responsible Enterprise-Wide Engagement

In addition to mentioning specific users during idea vetting, Viima offers the feature of allocating an idea’s responsibility to particular users.

#3 – Prioritize Flexible Idea Evaluation

Viima offers a flexible evaluation system allowing users to create custom metrics to rate ideas.

Demo

You can request a demo here.

Pricing

Viima’s basic tier is available for free. The premium tier starts at  $6/user/month. The unlimited tier starts at $1999/month. Visit its pricing page.

Review

You can explore Viima’s reviews on G2.

Website

Visit Viima’s website to explore the product.

Idea Drop

Idea Drop allows leading global enterprises to put innovation at the heart of their enterprises. It packs powerful automation and intuitive intelligence to supercharge innovation programs and collaborate on strategic goals.

Key Benefits Offered by Idea Drop for Idea Management

#1 – Promote Safe Idea Collection Form

All users are not comfortable with publicly sharing their ideas. Idea Drop allows users to hit a ‘cloak’ button when dropping an idea to hide their identity.

#2 – Informs Collaborators of Idea Changes

Idea Drop alerts users in real-time about status changes to ideas and other significant interactions between users.

#3 – Avoid Duplicate Idea Generation

Idea Drop’s pattern recognition technology flags similar ideas to avoid collaborating on similar alternatives to existing ideas.

Demo

You can request a demo here.

Pricing

Extensive pricing is unavailable—contact Idea Drop for more details.

Review

You can explore Idea Drop’s reviews on G2.

Website

Visit Idea Drop’s website to explore the product.

Quick Wrap Up

There are several competing idea management tools available for innovation-driven enterprises. But the “best” idea management software is the one that matches the size and the nuanced needs of your enterprise.

If you are a small-to-medium enterprise, you will significantly benefit from using the TIP ToolTM.

About Us

The TIP ToolTM by Triangle IP is an intuitive drag-and-drop tool that helps you manage the end-to-end IP lifecycle from ideas to patents. The tool underwent creation with the vision of democratization of patents. Usually, the patent process is not transparent, and many enterprises do not have enterprise-wide innovation capture systems and processes. The TIP ToolTM is here to change that. With the TIP ToolTM, anyone in the enterprise can submit and track the progress of their innovative ideas. The TIP ToolTM also helps you manage your patent portfolios with deep learning to guide your patent strategy efficiently.

3 ideaPoint Anaqua Competitors to Try in 2022

Ideapoint Anaqua Alternatives

A good patent management software must:

  • Minimize friction from innovators in submitting ideas for patenting
  • Allow inventors, technical reviewers, managers, and patent counsel to edit invention details simultaneously
  • Tell you the likelihood of getting a patent 
  • Stay in sync with the USPTO
  • Give you end-to-end cost estimations for patenting
  • Provide informative dashboards to track IP-related metrics

and more.

ideaPoint by Anaqua is a good choice for patent management software if you are a Fortune 500 company. However, it might not be ideal for a medium-sized enterprise looking to streamline its idea capture and patent management processes.

And, if you are looking for ideaPoint (by Anaqua) alternatives to try in 2022, we highly recommend exploring the TIP ToolTM by Triangle IP.

Top 3 Anaqua’s ideaPoint Competitors to Try in 2022

We’re here to assist you in exploring and selecting the most appropriate patent management software solution for your enterprise. Here are your top three choices:

#1 – Triangle IP’s TIP ToolTM

#2 – IPFolio

#3 – Decipher

Presented below are benefits, key differentiators, and other parameters about these three ideaPoint (by Anaqua) competitors to ease your selection.

#1 – Triangle IP’s TIP ToolTM

At its heart, the TIP ToolTM is a patent management tool. However, you don’t need to be an IP expert using the TIP ToolTM. It helps you establish control of your entire innovation management process, from ideas to patents. If you require a tool to capture potentially patentable ideas, track their progress, provide actionable patent data intelligence and manage your pipeline frictionlessly, the TIP ToolTM is ideal.

Key Benefits

Here are the seven key benefits of the TIP ToolTM in this competitive landscape:

  1. Improve the quality of invention disclosures
  2. Gain visibility into different stages of your patent pipeline
  3. Brainstorm ideas with stakeholders on a real-time basis
  4. Make informed patenting decisions with actionable patent data intelligence
  5. Manage IP budget wisely with end-to-end patenting cost estimations
  6. Stay automatically in sync with the USPTO
  7. Get a holistic view of your ideas, patents, and key performance metrics of your innovators
Improve The Quality of Invention Disclosures

An ideal invention disclosure provides a crystal clear understanding of the problem that an idea solves, how it intends to solve it, how the resultant invention will operate, and its feature enhancements versus existing alternatives. 

The inventors can easily share these details through summary sections and attachments while submitting ideas through the TIP ToolTM. The TIP ToolTM minimizes friction in the idea capture process by keeping the idea capture form short, relieving the user of remembering one more password, etc.

The idea capture forms are available for download in Word and Excel. The good part is – filled forms are readable back into the tool. The innovation managers can also customize these idea forms to suit their enterprise’s needs.

TIP Tool’s Idea Capture Form

Moreover, the TIP ToolTM enables thorough vetting by all stakeholders. It allows inventors, technical reviewers, managers, and the patent counsel to brainstorm and edit the information related to captured ideas simultaneously. The tool also gives a patentability score to all the captured ideas based on deep learning patent analytics. Such human and data-backed vetting leads to the selection of only the most promising ideas for patenting.

Also, read – Five Ways to Get Effective Invention Disclosures From Your R&D team.

Gain Visibility Into The Different Stages of Your Patent Pipeline

The TIP ToolTM allows you to watch your patentable ideas progress through different stages in the IP lifecycle: Idea Capture, Internal Vetting, Patent Drafting, and Filed. You can simply drag and drop ideas from one stage to the next.

Brainstorm Ideas With Stakeholders On A Real-Time Basis

The TIP ToolTM facilitates brainstorming over ideas like no other tool out there in the market by

  • Allowing collaborators to edit the idea summaries simultaneously
  • Keeping track of every change made to the idea summary and the person who edited the summary
  • Letting collaborators add comments and tag other collaborators in comments
  • Decreasing the response time from collaborators by notifying them of the status updates of an idea instantly
  • Allowing to add attachments in multiple formats like PDF, image, video, etc.
Make Informed Patenting Decisions With Case Analytics, Patent Counsel, and Examiner Statistics

A patent prosecution decision weighs a lot of factors, including the likelihood of getting a patent, patenting costs, estimated time to allowance, and more. The TIP tool gives a patentability score to each idea by taking into account examiner statistics, patent counsel statistics, average allowance data for the given art unit, etc. 

Manage Patent Budget Wisely With End-to-End Cost Predictions

The TIP ToolTM will inform you how much a patent will cost you over the years, including the drafting fee, filing fee, attorney fee, maintenance fee, etc. for provisional as well as non-provisional patent applications.

Stay In-Sync With USPTO

The TIP ToolTM keeps you notified about the status updates from the USPTO for published and unpublished patent applications.

Get A Holistic View of Your Ideas, Patents, Key Performance Metrics of Your Innovators

The TIP ToolTM allows you to stay on top of innovation efforts at your enterprise with the aid of intuitive dashboards.

  • You can immediately learn about the IP creation efforts of your team. Find out which ideas are in the ideation, drafting, and filing stages.
  • Ideas facing bottlenecks? Don’t worry. The TIP ToolTM notifies if an idea needs immediate attention if it stays in the ideation and vetting stage longer than expected.
  • To help you identify and reward promising inventors & managers, the TIP ToolTM showcases which innovator has submitted maximum ideas or filed most patents.

Key Features

Access Account Using Magic Link-Based Login

The TIP ToolTM reduces friction for innovators by relieving them of remembering one more password. A simple magic link-based login process allows users to access the tool whenever needed, without any password securely.

Filter Ideas Using Tags

The TIP ToolTM enables users to add tags and later filter submitted ideas based on these tags. The tags can indicate particular product lines, technology, or any other grouping they deem appropriate.

Provide Role-Based Access

Are your inventors and managers aligned with their KPIs? The TIP ToolTM allows users to keep track of their IP activity by providing role-specific dashboards.

View Patent Data as a Family Tree

The TIP ToolTM lets you see the patent continuity data in tabular and visual formats.

Suitable Company Profile

Startups, individual inventors, small-to-medium sized enterprises, and patent practitioners greatly benefit from using the TIP ToolTM.

Pricing

The TIP ToolTM provides a free tier (forever). Its premium tier costs $50 per month and $495 per year. Triangle IP has you covered if you’re looking for a custom tier. Visit its pricing page.

Website

Visit Triangle IP’s website to explore the product.

Demo

The TIP ToolTM offers a demo playground with pre-populated data to easily explore the tool’s functionalities. Sign up for an interactive product demo to experience the TIP ToolTM’s features for yourself!

#2 – IPFolio

Introduction

IPFolio is an end-to-end IP lifecycle management solution. It connects with Clarivate’s market-leading data to make rapid and accurate decisions. Furthermore, this cloud-based solution allows you to manage IP operations from a centralized hub.

Key Features and Benefits

Collaborate Seamlessly With Inventors, Outside Counsel, and Other Stakeholders

IPFolio provides users with a connected ecosystem. In its Intellectual Property Portal, users can collaborate seamlessly with other inventors, outside counsel, and other stakeholders.

Automate Data Verification and Auto-Docketing

Users can work comfortably with access to cleaner, more reliable, and consistent data. IPFolio allows automated data verification and data enrichment along with seamless auto-docketing.

Configure Your Hub Flexibly

Every IP portfolio’s size and needs are unique and dynamic. IPFolio is flexible to configure to maintain centralized access to pertinent data.

Share Custom Reports and Dashboards

To improve analysis and collaboration with critical stakeholders, IPFolio allows the capability to share rich insights using custom reports and dashboards quickly and easily.

Receive Centralized Access to Documents

While organizing ideas, it is a given that you’ll deal with swathes of data. IPFolio allows centralized access to documents like inventions, patents, trademarks, domain names, and copyrights.

Access Industry-Leading Clarivate IP Data

You can rest assured that your IP data exposes you to minimal risks by accessing industry-leading Clarivate IP data.

Obtain Embedded Analytics and Data Visualizations

Analytics on your company’s IP Portfolio are an embedded part of the IPFolio experience. Users can derive insights using insightful data visualizations.

Suitable Company Profile

IPFolio is an appropriate option for corporate IP teams.

Pricing

You can contact the IPFolio team to learn more about pricing and demos.

Website

Visit IPFolio’s website to explore the product.

#3 – Decipher

Introduction

If your enterprise is looking to achieve its innovation potential, Decipher helps to streamline collaboration, increase innovation output, and improve overall invention disclosure quality.

Key Features and Benefits

Improve Idea Disclosure Workflow

Decipher allows users to submit their ideas using a simple workflow quickly. Users can also add designs, prior art, reviewer notes, and more.

Track Real-Time Idea Progress From Inception to Protection

Decipher also allows users to track progress at every point from inception to protection and identify bottlenecks. Additionally, teams can accurately track each change and decision for smarter innovation.

Improve Action Response Time

Decipher users also receive automated alerts for an improved patent office action response time.

Collaborate Seamlessly With Users

Decipher users can collaborate in-person or asynchronously. To comprehensively vet ideas, users can receive thorough input from all reviewers leading to higher quality.

Provide Role-Based Access

Decipher offers control permissions to new ideas while juggling increasing IP visibility across the enterprise.

Measure Performance Against Key Indicators

To measure your employees’ innovation activities, Decipher allows you to set key performance indicators and measure performance against them.

Manage Cost Control

IP management can make your expenses balloon significantly. In addition, Decipher enables users to determine what to patent, publish, or hold as trade secrets.

Suitable Company Profile

Decipher is ideal for companies looking to keep track of intellectual property and legal rights such as patents, trademarks, copyrights, and trade secrets.

Pricing

You can contact the Innovation Asset Group, Inc. to get started on a free trial.

Website

Visit Decipher’s Invention Disclosure Management website to explore the product.

Idea Management Software Comparison Matrix

ParameterThe TIP ToolTMIPFolioDecipherAnaqua’s ideaPoint
Idea Capture FormInventor-friendly customizable invention disclosure form (IDF)Centralized hub to add multiple documents in addition to idea disclosureSimple workflow to add designs, prior art, reviewer notes, and moreSimple, intuitive user interface to submit ideas
Real-Time CollaborationUsers can collaborate and edit ideas simultaneously. The TIP ToolTM maintains a live record of changes madeIPFolio allows users to collaborate seamlessly with other inventors, outside counsel, and other stakeholdersDecipher enables users to collaborate in-person or virtually and receive thorough reviews on ideasSubmitters can stay informed of changes to ideas. They can evaluate and provide feedback to other ideas virtually
DemoUse demo playground to explore the toolRequest a demoRequest a demoContact
Suitable Company ProfileMedium-sized enterprises that file 15+ patents annuallyCorporate IP teamsCompanies looking to keep track of intellectual property and legal rightsFortune 500 companies
PricingFree tier; Premium tier costs $50 per month and $495 per year; Custom tierContactContactContact

A Quick Wrap Up

In this piece we have provided in-depth information that helps you select an alternative for Anaqua’s ideaPoint.

Whether your business is a startup, a Fortune 500 enterprise, a corporate IP team, or whether you’re an individual inventor or patent practitioner, there is a suitable tool out there.

If you are a medium-sized enterprise, look for the following features:

  • Access to an intuitive and customizable invention disclosure form
  • Collaborate with stakeholders asynchronously and maintain live access to changes made to ideas
  • Visualize the idea-to-protection track and IP activity at your enterprise using dashboards
  • Obtain critical information around patenting estimating costs, and mission-critical patent analytics

About Us

The TIP ToolTM by Triangle IP is an intuitive drag-and-drop tool that helps you manage the end-to-end IP lifecycle from ideas to patents. The tool underwent creation with the vision of democratization of patents. Usually, the patent process is not transparent, and many enterprises do not have enterprise-wide innovation capture systems and processes. The TIP ToolTM is here to change that. With the TIP ToolTM, anyone in the enterprise can submit and track the progress of their innovative ideas. The TIP ToolTM also helps you manage your patent portfolios with deep learning to guide your patent strategy efficiently.

Invention Disclosure Form Word/Excel Template [Downloadable]

‘It’s not about ideas, it’s about making ideas happen’ – Scott Belsky

Getting invention disclosures to capture your innovation is the first step of the patent mining process. To ensure you receive enough disclosures, you need an intuitive disclosure system. One that inventors, R&D staff, and other stakeholders engage with effortlessly.

After talking to 100s of inventors, we found out that long and complex forms intimidate inventors and discourage them from completing the task. Hence, TriangleIP (TIP) has created a patent management software with an inventor-friendly invention disclosure form (IDF).

You can download the forms in both Microsoft Word and Excel format by simply filling up this form:

Quick Update: The inventors can upload this offline form back into the TIP Tool to have all their ideas in one place.

Putting the right foot forward for the patent program requires a simple and engaging IDF. We need to ensure that inventors capture innovation as part of their job to help us commercialize that inventive idea. TIP’s Invention Disclosure Form is driven by empathy towards inventors by being simple, engaging, and intuitive. 

Invention Disclosure Form Sample:

Here is an invention disclosure form sample. The first half of the invention disclosure sample, including the summary, can be filled by the inventor. The next half captures feedback from the manager and IP counsel on the invention.

Invention Disclosure Sample
Triangle IP – Invention Disclosure Sample

The invention disclosure form provided at ‘TIP – Innovation Management Software’ requires the following information:

Idea Number:

Idea number is a unique tracking identifier for each idea submitted in the portfolio. The purpose is to ensure that ideas have their unique code or identifier.  This number may be determined by other software systems or the docketing system.

Title:

The purpose of the title is to briefly describe the invention. Example – “Improved System for detecting the position of other vehicles on the road”. It should be apparent what the ‘invention’ is all about from the title alone.

Inventor Email:

This field captures the contact information of all associated inventors to facilitate further communication.  The inventor need not be a current user of the TIP tool.  Adding their email address will give them access to the idea.

Manager Email:

This field captures the manager’s email address responsible for reviewing the inventor’s idea, approving the budget, or progressing the idea to a patent application. Every enterprise has its structure. The inventors have busy schedules, and patent protection might not be their priority. To ensure that the potential inventions receive patent protection, the managers need to push them forward. Any user of the TIP tool can be given manager rights by another manager or administrator.

Summary:

The summary field briefly describes the idea to help the manager or prosecutor understand the invention. The summary can include:

  • The problem that prompted the idea or invention
  • The technical solution to the problem that is the invention
  • How the invention will be implemented (if figured out)
  • The enhanced or novel features that don’t appear in competing products
  • The advantages of their invention over prior solutions. 

Additionally, The Triangle IP allows attaching documents such as patent drafts, detailed working, and invention drawings.

Prosecutor Email:

This field captures the patent prosecutor’s email address responsible for drafting the application.

Value:

This field helps managers, and IP counsels rate the idea between 1 and 10, with 10 being the highest. It is a subjective value to the enterprise of a patent on a particular idea. The enterprise can assess the value of the invention based on its: 

  • Usefulness
  • Feasibility
  • Commercialization potential 
  • Alignment with enterprise’s business and policies

Tags:

The tags are to provide the searchable keywords for the idea. These tags help to filter and organize your portfolio. Quickly search for a particular technology or business vertical that was previously tagged.

Patentable:

This field reflects on the likelihood of the idea being issued a patent, between 1 to 10, with 10 being the highest. The IP counsel assesses the idea’s patentability based on novelty and non-obviousness with respect to the prior art and the patent office’s receptiveness to this type of technology.

Filing Deadline:

This includes any filing goal that might be driven by publication, release, or offers for sale. In the case of commercially viable ideas, the enterprise can set its goals for the invention’s production, launch, and sale.

Let’s Sum it Up:

Presented above is a simple, engaging & inventor-friendly invention disclosure sample. It has all the necessary details for invention disclosures you must seek.

However, if your enterprise requires more fields in the IDF, the TIP innovation management software will soon offer customization. Your admin will be able to add custom fields to our simple innovation form to cater to their enterprises’ specific requirements.

Exciting Features Of TIP Tool –

  • Simple capture with no intimidating fields
  • The offline IDF will soon be readable back into the TIP tool
  • Online collaboration and workflow with role-based control and security
  • Allows for attaching additional documents to explain the idea or invention
  • Links ideas and attachments to patent filings for later reference

Thomas Edison rightly said, “The value of an idea lies in the using of it.

Give  TIP tool a try to capture innovations by your inventors.

Note: The preceding is general business advice and not to be construed as legal advice. IP laws vary by country and retaining licensed legal counsel is advised to confirm this information. Any expressed or implied opinions are of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Triangle IP or any other entity who might be associated with the presenter. We hope this content is helpful to you, but should not be relied upon without confirming the advice and accuracy with local legal counsel. Any comments or inquiries are not confidential so please discuss your issues directly with counsel.

Five Best Idea Capture Software to Capture Innovative Ideas in Your Enterprise

5 BEST IDEA CAPTURE SOFTWARE FOR YOUR ORGANIZATION

Before we dig in, up for a story? 

Nearly two decades ago, PepsiCo tasked its R&D department with finding a way to reduce sodium in the snack products they make while retaining the salty flavor customers want. As a result, they worked ’round the clock for years with little to show for it. While this was happening, someone in the marketing department who struggled with high blood pressure was trying a new, semi-experimental sodium alternative diet. While R&D was spinning its wheels, this marketing expert was enjoying the very thing innovators were looking for.

Eventually, a chance meeting in a break room delivered the breakthrough the snack researchers sought. They could have saved months of valuable time if their efforts and this real-world use-case could have crossed paths sooner. At the end of the day, this is a success story. The researchers may never have found their solution. Fortunately, they did. But we want to improve our innovation efforts by enhancing communication and collaboration within an enterprise. One way we do this is with the idea capture software that allows participation for everyone across the enterprise.

Sometimes the most innovative ideas come from the most unexpected places. As a result, some idea capture software optimize the chance that great ideas will find their way into new products and services. Here, we will discuss five of the best idea capture software.

Features to Look for in any Idea Capture Software

There are dozens of products in this category, making it difficult to zero down one. However, here are some essential features to look for when selecting an idea capture software.

1. Ease of Use

The best software is easy to use. Working to develop new ideas is difficult enough without the distraction of a sub-optimal graphical user interface (GUI). For instance, users should be able to drag and drop the ideas between different stages of progression. Or the stakeholders should be able to collaborate remotely yet in real-time. Or it should be easy for users to pull up ideas related to a particular technology, product, or campaign.

2. Simplicity of Idea Capture Form

Innovators should be able to submit their ideas in a short time without any friction. The idea capture forms should not have complex fields that innovators do not know how to fill. For instance, fields like prior art references are needed to take the idea forward on the patent track, but innovators might not be aware of what to fill in it. The idea capture form should enable the innovators to submit their notes, mind-map, and other work. 

3. Participation Options

Imagine if the marketing professional from the PepsiCo story had access to the notes of the product research team. The idea is to let anyone across the enterprise submit an innovative idea. However, review permission should stay restricted to managers, or patent filing information should be accessible only to the IP team and associated inventors. So, an idea capture software that offers role-based access shall be excellent.

4. Suitable Company Sizes

An idea capture software should match the size of your enterprise, and it should respond well to scaling. For instance, the number of users using the software is 40, but the software supports only 25, which could be a problem. So either the software should offer to customize the number of users, or you may want to pick another software.

5. Pricing

Software that offers a freemium model, i.e., limited features available for free and premium features available as a part of paid subscription, make a good choice. Free products are great, especially when they allow you to try a product before settling for a premium service. Different software offer different pricing tiers based on access to various features. A clear-cut pricing plan on the software website shall assist you in decision-making.

6. Patent Track or Development Track

Certain software, like the TIP tool, offer tracking ideas through the complete IP lifecycle, hence best suited for the patent track. However, other software like Viima may be better suited for the idea execution track, like taking the technology to market.

Five Best Idea Capture Software to look at in 2022

  1. The TIP Tool by Triangle IP
  2. Ideawake
  3. Viima
  4. IdeaScout
  5. AcceptMission

1. The TIP Tool by Triangle IP

With simplified capture and management for frictionless innovation, Triangle IP’s TIP Tool puts you in control of the entire intellectual property management process, from ideas to patents. 

Ease of Use

The drag and drop design is simple and easy to understand, placing your ideas and notes within a single screen. It is impressive because it offers enterprise-wide usability and collaboration. 

The Simplicity of the Idea Capture Form

The TIP tool’s idea capture form is carefully designed to maximize engagement from innovators. The form asks for important information in a straightforward and up-front manner. You can even download its idea capture form for offline use in Word and Excel formats. The best part is that the filled forms are readable back into the tool. Furthermore, it’s also possible to customize the idea capture form offered by Triangle IP to suit your enterprise’s needs.

Participation Options

Participation is possible enterprise-wide, with no limitations on who you may authorize to interact with the ideas. 

Suitable Company Sizes

The TIP tool is best suited for medium-sized enterprises that file 25-50 patents annually. 

Pricing

Start with the free tier service level to give it a try, and upgrade when you are ready. The software is priced at 50 USD per month or 495 USD per year, which is pretty reasonable, isn’t it?

Patent Track or Execution Track

The TIP tool is designed with the patent track in mind. It helps you track ideas through different stages of the IP lifecycle like: 

1) Idea Capture 

2) Thorough Vetting 

3) Patent Filing and 

4) Patent Portfolio 

The software also offers patent analytics to help you understand how your patent case scores against other applications in the same art unit, with the same patent examiner, handled by the same patent counsel, etc. The cherry on the cake is that you can get end-to-end patenting cost estimations to plan your IP budgets wisely. 

2. Ideawake

Ideawake provides an easy-to-use, highly configurable platform that makes it easy to capture, evaluate, and take action on ideas from employees.

Ease of Use

Ideawake is easy-to-use with simple and intuitive interfaces. In addition, the platform allows enterprises to collect ideas to solve specific challenges.

The Simplicity of the Idea Capture Form

The idea capture form has just two fields – idea title and idea description. The form also facilitates adding attachments. The form is simple but doesn’t offer fields for tags, value, etc.

Participation Options

Any employee can be authorized to access Ideawake with a few limitations.

Suitable Company Sizes

Ideawake caters explicitly to Fortune 500 companies. As a result, it may be a suboptimal fit for smaller enterprises. 

Pricing

There is a free trial but no entirely free version. Basic service is $850 per month.

IdeaWake Plans

Patent Track or Execution Track

Ideawake is best for execution track use as it doesn’t offer patent-specific features like tracking ideas through IP lifecycle or patent analytics for taking IP decisions. 

3. Viima

Viima is one of the market’s most widely used idea capture software. Here is a thorough list of features that Viima offers.

Ease of Use

With its uniquely flexible interface, Viima can be very easy to use. In Viima, you can create different boards; each board represents a challenge to be solved with innovative ideas; it could also be for a hackathon. Moreover, Viima allows you to add specific people to each board from within or outside the enterprise, facilitating open innovation.

The Simplicity of the Idea Capture Form

The idea forms allow users to submit ideas anonymously. The fields in the idea form are title, description, category, tags, the problem it solves, business impact, the effort required, and more. Long forms might act as friction in capturing. 

Participation Options

Viima is open to employees, customers, or other parties interested in collaboration.

Suitable Company Sizes

This software package suits companies of any size with the right subscription service.

Pricing

The free version limits users to 10 participants. Viima’s subscription service costs between $6 and $1999 per month based on different tiers. 

Viima Pricing Plans

Patent Track or Execution Track

Viima is also best suited for the execution track as it doesn’t offer any patent-related tracking or analytics.

4. IdeaScout

IdeaScout (Innography) enables companies to capture ideas,  facilitates easier collaboration between inventors and patent professionals, speeds up innovation, etc. IdeaScout also assists well in the journey of ideas to patents.

Ease of Use

IdeaScout scores decently on ease of use. It allows inventors to submit ideas specific to business/strategic gaps, technologies, and more. Interestingly IdeaScout enables automatic feedback on ideas from an intelligent agent to revise ideas for high-quality invention disclosures.

The Simplicity of the Idea Capture Form

As per this press release, inventors just need to email their ideas in the simple text to initiate the process.

Participation Options

IdeaScout facilitates open innovation with a global network of 18 million inventor profiles. People from within and outside the enterprise can participate in idea capturing, vetting, and more.

Suitable Company Sizes

IdeaScout is best suited for large enterprises.

Pricing

Not available publicly.

Patent Track or Execution Track

Best suited for the patent track.

5. AcceptMission

AcceptMission is an idea and innovation management platform. It facilitates idea capturing, online brainstorming, patent portfolio management, and more.

Ease of Use

Customers praise AcceptMission for its usability, but other platforms get higher marks in ease of use. In addition, some users have complained about glitchy interfaces.

The Simplicity of the Idea Capture Form

The idea capture form offered by Accept Mission is quite simple with limited fields. However, inventors need to submit ideas for specific challenges called missions.

Participation Options

AcceptMission makes cross-organizational participation easy. It’s an excellent software for remotely located teams to collaborate.

Suitable Company Sizes

This software suite is well suited for companies of all sizes, but smaller enterprises are likely to have the best results.

Pricing

There is a free trial and an option to book a 30-minute demo. Four pricing plans are available are: 

  • Free
  • Basic – € 4 per user per month
  • Pro – € 5-6 per user per month
  • Enterprise – custom pricing

Patent Track or Execution Track

AcceptMission supports execution track tasks well across all subscription levels, with some notable limitations in the free and basic plans. For optimal patent tracking support, AcceptMission recommends the Pro or Enterprise packages.

The TIP ToolIdeawakeViimaIdeaScoutAcceptMission
Ease of UseSimple and easy to understandEasy-to-use with simple and intuitive interfaceVery easy to useScores decently but not greatNot easy to use. Expect glitchy interfaces
The Simplicity of the Idea Capture FormMaximizes engagement from innovatorsSimple but doesn’t offer fields for tags, value, etc.Long forms might act as friction in capturing ideasInventors just need to email their ideas in the simple text to initiate the processSimple with limited fields
Participation OptionsEnterprise-wide participation, with no limitations on who you may authorize to interact with the ideasAny employee can be authorized to access Ideawake with a few limitationsOpen to employees, customers, or other parties interested in collaborationFacilitates open innovation with a global network of 18 million inventor profiles. People from within and outside the enterprise can participateCross-organizational participation made easy. It’s an excellent software for remotely located teams to collaborate
Suitable Company SizesBest suited for medium-sized enterprises that file 25-50 patents annuallyCaters explicitly to Fortune 500 companiesSuits companies of any size with the right subscription serviceBest suited for large enterprisesWell suited for companies of all sizes, but smaller enterprises are likely to have the best results
PricingPriced at 50 USD per month or 495 USD per yearFree trial exists but no entirely free version. Basic service is $850 per month.Costs between $6 and $1999 per month based on different tiersNot available publicly› Free› Basic – € 4 per user per month› Pro – € 5-6 per user per month› Enterprise – custom pricing
Patent Track or Execution TrackTrack ideas through different stages of the IP lifecycleBest for execution track use as it doesn’t offer patent-specific features like tracking ideas through IP lifecycleBest suited for the execution track as it doesn’t offer any patent-related tracking or analyticsBest suited for the patent trackSupports execution track tasks well across all subscription levels, with some notable limitations in the free and basic plans

Parting Thoughts

As you can see, there are a lot of great products out there for you to choose one. But the best software is one that matches the size and the specific needs of your enterprise

The TIP Tool from Triangle IP is ideal if you are a medium-sized enterprise keen to systematize your patent process. The TIP tool is best suited for enterprises that file 25-50 patents a year as it provides actionable intelligence through patent analytics and patenting cost estimations. The TIP tool is also quite promising when you want to capture enterprise-wide innovation. We encourage you to explore more about the TIP tool by Triangle IP.

12 Essential Features of IP Management Software

Pro Tip: Patent analytics is one of the essential features of IP management software to fetch actionable intelligence!

It is no secret that to stay on top of the game, every organization needs to tap into the full potential of its innovators. Innovation management requires a systematic business process to track ideas through patents, which some term as ‘patent mining’. However, your patent mining process might be broken because of things like: 

  • Complex Invention Disclosure Forms (IDFs)
  • Ineffective collaboration among members from different departments like – engineering, business, legal, etc.
  • No set process to track ideas progress through complete IP workflow – Capturing, Vetting, Patent Drafting, Patent Filing, and Patent Portfolio Managing
  • Security risks like confidential data being leaked
  • Stale PAIR data due to dependency on a human resource to pull out the information

To make your patent mining process robust you need to provide the right training and resources to your team. As they say, well begun is half done. Identifying the right IP management software shall be instrumental to your patent mining process. Here are 12 essential features of IP management software:

  1. Intuitive idea submission form
  2. Customizable idea capture form
  3. Effective collaboration to refine the ideas
  4. Ease of thorough vetting
  5. Role-based access
  6. End-to-end tracking from ideas to patents and beyond
  7. Automatic updates – in sync with USPTO
  8. Cost estimation
  9. Tags to ease filtering
  10. Case analytics
  11. Detailed examiner analytics
  12. Dashboards for a holistic view

#1. Intuitive Idea Submission Form

Also known as the Invention Disclosure Form (IDF), an ideal idea submission form is simple, intuitive, and engaging. The IDF captures the necessary details about the invention. It requires the innovator to describe the problem, solution, and enhanced features over existing solutions. A great IDF is the one that inventors don’t feel any friction to fill.

#2. Customizable Idea Capture Form

A good IP management software allows customization of the Invention Disclosure Form (IDF) as per the needs of your organization. The software might be providing a form that has necessary fields that are commonly used by various organizations. However, there could be certain fields, one might wish to add to that existing form. An idea capture form that can be personalized as per an organisation’s internal requirements is something you should look for.  It should be possible to incorporate the company’s internal nomenclature so that no training is required for staff.

For example, The TIP idea form offers a summary field to share details about the invention. However, you might wish to have the invention details divided into sections like – 1. Problem 2. Solution and 3. Advantages. Each expected to be captured by different form fields. The software should provide an option to customize the form as per your needs.

#3. Effective Collaboration to Refine the Ideas

Imagine editing functionality just like “Google docs” – Two or more people can simultaneously edit the same document. Changes made by each person can be tracked. Version history can be maintained.  Having similar functionality in an IP management software can be extremely helpful. Example: When an inventor, an attorney and an associate are discussing an idea, each one can edit the same piece of text within the software with their thoughts and inputs. None of them need to take notes manually and edit the idea text later.

#4. Ease of Thorough Vetting

The software must provide a way for collaborators to exchange ideas over an idea or a patent draft for that matter. Ability to add comments can go a long way to facilitate this.

#5. Role-Based Access

If your organization wants to keep certain strategic patent portfolio data confidential, a key feature to look for in the IP management software is role-based access. The software will allow only that part of the information to be visible to the person accessing the software, which is required as per his/her role. The confidential information will be visible only to the key personnel.  For instance, an organization may require that an inventor should be able to see only the patent portfolios that he is a part of, not the whole company’s.

On a side note: Would you want to know how your patent application is progressing at the USPTO compared to other applications in the same domain? 

The TIP tool offers statistics of the law firm and the examiner handling your case. Once the application is filed at the USPTO, and an examiner is allotted to your case, the tool indicates the relative performance of the law firm handling your case. The statistics revolve around the number of arguments, grant rate, and grant time. The tool also indicates the case health, for instance, it can tell you if a case needs your attention. There is a whole bunch of insights that you can gather from the TIP tool for strategic patent prosecution.

Request insights for any of your cases at the patent office using the form below.

#6. End-to-End Tracking from Ideas to Patents and Beyond

A process-driven IP management software will take your organization a long way. It should ideally facilitate the tracking of the idea from its inception till patenting and beyond. For an IP workflow ideas & patents need to be tracked through the following stages:

  • Capturing of idea
  • Evaluation and vetting of the idea/invention
  • Drafting of patent application
  • Filing of the patent application
  • Managing the patent portfolio

A quick view into the patent portfolio as shown below shall be an added benefit. Taking this to the next level shall be an in-depth view of each case (See #10. Case Analytics).

Triangle IP is going to release an upgraded version soon with all the features mentioned here. Click on the image below to get exclusive access!

#7. Automatic Updates – In Sync with USPTO

Wouldn’t it be easier if the IP management software also provided the updates regarding the status of your applications from the USPTO PAIR? An intellectual property management software can have integrated tools to provide automatic updates to help track the progress of the application. It will also help in notifying about any PTO rejections received. This feature will allow you to have everything in one place instead of tracking various activities throughout the innovation process.

#8. Cost Estimation

Knowing the cost of patenting an invention and the average allowance rate in the domain can ease out your patenting decisions. Patent analytics help in predicting the cost that helps managers and business owners manage the budget accordingly. Look for an intellectual property management software that offers this functionality.

#9. Tags to Ease Filtering

Tagging the ideas/patents with keywords helps to filter out the ideas/patents around a particular technology or product or business function etc. An IP management software must be able to pull this information out for you with the click of a button.

#10. Case Analytics

Say you filed a patent application with the help of a law firm. In your intellectual property  management software dashboard, you see that the application is still pending with 4 office actions after 3 years of prosecution. You would be curious to see the general ‘health’ of your application. To know how other applications have fared in that domain. Also, what would be good to know is the performance of the law firm handling your patent application. If you see that other applications, on average, had one office action and were granted in 2 years; you would be in a better position to discuss and strategize with the patent attorney. This shall help you to find a way to speed up the prosecution. Hence, while looking for an intellectual property management software check if it provides law firm analytics as well.

#11. Detailed Examiner Analytics

Knowing more about the USPTO examiner handling your application helps you understand how you should be handling the prosecution. It helps your patent attorney take the best approach with respect to the assigned examiner. When your IP management software can provide examiner analytics, it will give you pointers to strategize patent prosecution. For instance, examiner analytics can help you understand if prioritizing the examiner  interview can fasten the prosecution process.

#12. Dashboards for a Holistic View

A key feature to look for in an IP management software is dashboards. Dashboards provide a holistic view of your idea pipeline, the filed USPTO applications as well as patents. These dashboards can help you get a pulse of the quality of the ideas submitted, probable roadblocks and your inventor activity. These help you take decisions/make changes accordingly.

Wrap Up – Essential Features of IP Management Software:

A patent mining process is broken in the absence of software that streamlines the journey of ideas to patents. An IP management software allows your organization to capture, evaluate, and further them for patenting and beyond. Hope that this list of essential features of IP management software shall be helpful to you in making an informed decision. Triangle IP is coming up with a version soon – that covers all these features and more! Register here to get early access to all these features for free for a limited time! Stay updated with the latest features of the Triangle IP tool and its subsequent releases. Sign up for the newsletter!

Note: The preceding is general business advice and not to be construed as legal advice. IP laws vary by country and retaining licensed legal counsel is advised to confirm this information. Any expressed or implied opinions are of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Triangle IP or any other entity who might be associated with the presenter. We hope this content is helpful to you, but should not be relied upon without confirming the advice and accuracy with local legal counsel. Any comments or inquiries are not confidential so please discuss your issues directly with counsel.

Idea Evaluation: 6 Questions to ask while Selecting Ideas for Patents

Is your ideas to budget ratio usually skewed – in favor of ideas? Evaluating ideas for patentability becomes a brain-drain exercise in such a scenario. However, selecting the right ideas will most efficiently put your budget to work. This post lays out a framework to help you choose ideas for patenting that have the most potential.

Most enterprises choose to evaluate patents after they issue, which is much easier than at the beginning of the process where ideas are selected for patenting. The ideas that will be the most valuable as patents require speculation. The ultimate claim scope and importance of an innovation to market success requires educated guesses at the beginning of the process.  The risk factor is almost always high.

So how do you make sure to minimize the risk while evaluating ideas for patentability? Ask these 6 questions:

  1. What is the value of your idea in the marketplace?
  2. How core is it to your business and its revenue?
  3. Is it already in a product or in a roadmap for commercialization?
  4. How ‘observable’ is your idea if a competitor were to copy it?
  5. What is the likelihood of a successful patent grant on your idea?
  6. How enforceable will your patent be?

Value of your idea in the marketplace

Imagine your product on a shelf next to similar products – would the innovation get someone to buy your product? Is it easier to use, cheaper, faster, or better in a way that would motivate a purchase?

Select the idea, if you can visualize that it would make your product the preferred choice for customers. To determine this, ask if your patent is going to cover a key feature of the product? Ask if it is useful or game-changing enough to be a steady contributor to your business revenue. Will the unique product drive over the next twenty years?

Evaluating Ideas for Patentability | Q1 - Will idea make your product a preferred choice for customers?

A great way to assess how much value your idea has is by working backward from what your marketing team has to say about it. For example, the tagline for your product might be, ’It’s twice as fast as the competition!’ Work back to the innovation that enables that boast to the market. If you find that the patent if issued would protect that innovation, you know you have a winner. Having a market-driven approach is the right one to have when assessing ideas for protection. If your marketing team can’t say much about your innovation, there might be another idea more worthy of your budget. 

How core is the idea to your business?

Some ideas in your repository may be revolutionary. Some of your broadest innovation may happen in parts of the business that may have little market potential. These revolutionary ideas are not always synonymous with big profits. On the other hand, there may be ideas that don’t seem revolutionary but can protect large portions of the company’s profits. So, it becomes imperative to weigh ideas against potential profit and growth of the business that they would protect. 

Evaluating Ideas for Patentability | Q2 - Is idea revolutionary or revenue generating?

Imagine this. A leading company sells inkjet printers. But they generate the largest chunk of their revenue from ink sales, not the printers which are sold at a loss. They may have revolutionary ideas for their printers without any corresponding profit. So ideas in this space are not as valuable. However, if they were to come up with an idea to make the ink in the disposable cartridge cure quicker…knock-off replacements would smear or otherwise not have the performance of the genuine product. Not the most revolutionary idea, but definitely one that is great for the business as it protects a higher margin product.  

Apart from revenue building, there are some ideas that may be an intrinsic part of your business identity. One that is important to dominate for your brand.  Ask if this is one of them. What value, if any, will it have over the next couple of decades without that product anchoring your business?  For example, a car brand may sponsor a competitive racing team and protect their winning edge even if it may never be used in the production automobiles.  Winning races drives customers to want your cars even if they bear little resemblance.

Is the idea going to be commercialized?

There may be a ton of great ideas from your innovators, but not every idea will be an important product/addition for the next 20 years. If you cannot imagine how to put your innovation into a product, it is almost certain that there is no revenue that it will generate. Investing resources in acquiring a patent for such an idea is of no value. But an idea that contributes to a product your business currently offers or something that is just to be released automatically becomes a frontrunner. Here’s a threshold test – Are there plans to put your innovation into a product? If yes, spend your IP budget trying to protect it.

Timing is everything in the innovation to patent journey. The closer the release date of the product your idea is related to, the more valuable it is as a patent. Once your product is released in the market, the idea that it carries becomes subject to duplication and any innovation starts becoming part of the public domain. So the release of an idea into the market without patent protection could be hazardous. The bottom line is if innovation cannot go into a product, any patent would only be wall art.

Evaluating Ideas for Patentability | Q3 - Is idea related to the product about to be released?

How ‘observable’ is your idea?

Observability is a big factor as you’re thinking about ideas to choose for patent protection. Prioritizing the ones that can be observed allows ascertaining infringement should that be necessary. For instance, your company has developed a chip that goes deep into a data center used in an enterprise. Say your competitor is using this chip. How likely are you to find it out? Consequently, will you be able to assert your patent against them? The answer, highly unlikely. 

When you are looking to build your patent portfolio, look for ideas that will be readily identifiable. So if you are looking at internal processes or small innovations like the chip, it may be a better business decision to treat them as trade secrets. Unidentifiable innovation should not eat into your budget. 

Evaluating Ideas for Patentability | Q4 - Is the idea observable?

How likely is a patent granting on your idea?

It’s important to be aware of the kinds of patents being issued by patent offices. There are some technology areas in which patent offices are wary about issuing patents. For example, patent offices are reluctant to issue patents for business methods, some therapeutics and certain kinds of software. Then there are things that are not patentable at all. Genes, human-performed medical procedures, tax optimization schemes, etc. It is thus imperative to know beforehand what is patentable before investing in a patent for your idea. 

Evaluating Ideas for Patentability | Q5 - Is the Idea Patentable?

There are tools available to help you ascertain these statistics. At Triangle IP, the  TIP Tool has it on the feature roadmap! With this feature, the TIP tool predicts the Patentability Score on your innovations. This score will be based on how likely similar technology gains allowance as a patent. Knowing the patentability score shall ease out your decision-making process.

How enforceable will a patent be for your idea?

Certain technology is difficult to enforce, generally, even where a patent is issued. Courts are likely to overturn patent claims in certain cases. Software, especially abstract software concepts, business methods, and the like are difficult to enforce presently. Knowing that a patent will be difficult to enforce should be considered.

The cost of the patent should always be outweighed by the volume of profit that the patent can generate. Patenting cost includes all the resources that you will need to invest in the patent journey. Protect something valuable enough such that damages models will support enforcement of the patent.  Some innovation although great, can never overcome the cost of getting the patent.

Evaluating Ideas for Patentability | Q6 - How enforceable will your idea be as a patent?

Thinking about what damages might be enforced if it ever reaches such a stage could also be a deciding factor. The amount of damages will also be largely dependent on how your patent claims are constructed and other legal issues. A great idea that has all the potential to be a powerful patent in your arsenal can be broken if the claims are constructed improperly or if there is some other legal flaw. Read this for tips and tricks to draft a high-quality patent application

Evaluating Ideas For Patentability | Wrap Up

While this is not an exhaustive list of questions for you to consider when evaluating ideas for patentability, it’s a good place to start. More specific questions will be born from the specific needs of your business that may change from time to time. Think long term (at least 20 years) when evaluating ideas for patentability. Channel resources wisely so that money spent can result in revenue that contributes to your resource pool for the future.

At Triangle IP, we have a value field to score ideas. The value field can be 1 to 10 based on the answers to these questions.  Many of these factors can be considered and weighted according to priorities within your enterprise.

On a side note: Would you want to know how your patent application is progressing at the USPTO compared to other applications in the same domain? 

The TIP tool offers statistics of the law firm and the examiner handling your case. Once the application is filed at the USPTO, and an examiner is allotted to your case, the tool indicates the relative performance of the law firm handling your case. The statistics revolve around the number of arguments, grant rate, and grant time. The tool also indicates the case health, for instance, it can tell you if a case needs your attention. There is a whole bunch of insights that you can gather from the TIP tool for strategic patent prosecution.

Request insights for any of your cases at the patent office using the form below.

Note: The preceding is general business advice and not to be construed as legal advice. IP laws vary by country and retaining licensed legal counsel is advised to confirm this information. Any expressed or implied opinions are of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Triangle IP or any other entity who might be associated with the presenter. We hope this content is helpful to you, but should not be relied upon without confirming the advice and accuracy with local legal counsel. Any comments or inquiries are not confidential so please discuss your issues directly with counsel.

Top 5 IdeaScale Alternatives You Must Know in 2022

TOP IDEASCALE ALTERNATIVES

With more than 25,000 customers and 4.5 million users, IdeaScale has been the pioneer in innovation management. The numbers are a testament that it has been a market favorite for a good reason. However, it’s not one-size-fits-all because of various reasons. 

Are you looking for IdeaScale alternatives? You have reached the right place. We hope you’ll find one that suits you. What’s your reason for exploring other options?

  • Better customization for your business or enterprise
  • More features and flexibility
  • Affordable pricing
  • Better UI and UX 
  • Campaign focus
  • Strong workflow process
  • Ease of use
  • End-to-end tracking from ideas to patents

Listed below are some top IdeaScale alternatives we explored:

  1. Ideanote
  2. BrightIdea
  3. Planbox
  4. Idea Drop
  5. Viima

As a bonus we are going to introduce a new entrant, an innovation management tool designed specifically for patent mining.

Two cents about IdeaScale

(Source: IdeaScale)

IdeaScale licenses cloud-based innovation management software to its clients. Some of the key features of the software include

  • Crowdsourcing of ideas
  • Idea ranking through a voting system
  • Workflow management
  • Collaboration
  • Feedback management
  • Trend tracking 

    etc…..

Pricing is a significant factor in choosing the right innovation management tool for your company. Here’s what IdeaScale’s pricing and plans look like:

Pricing

IdeaScale offers subscriptions on a 2-year basis. They have four available plans with features that differ from one to the next. Plans range from $12,999 to $64,999. IdeaScale also charges a one-time setup fee for first-time users.

IdeaScale’s Standout Feature | Crowdsourcing

IdeaScale works on a crowdsourcing model by grouping problem-solvers under communities. Communities may be public or private, thereby helping with restricted access. Here is how the users in a community participate:

  • Launch campaigns to solve problems
  • Submit ideas to solve the problems
  • Vote and comment on ideas

IdeaScale also has a community named IdeaScale Crowd. It’s open for everyone, where anyone can interact with any idea. You can sponsor a campaign here to find a solution to your problems. More than 30,000 problem solvers worldwide are part of this community. 

Pros:

  • Suitable for large enterprises with employees located across different geographies
  • Vote based ranking to choose best ideas for implementation

Cons:

  • High pricing
  • Mobile app only for iOS

IdeaScale Alternative 1: Ideanote 

Source: IdeaNote

Overview

Ideanote is a cloud-based innovation management platform. It provides for the idea and innovation management in 4 different phases – 

  • Capture: This allows you to collect ideas from your employees and your customers. Sub-features include profiles, briefings, and templates
  • Collaborate: Share ideas with specific people or teams because two brains are better than one! Sub-features include phases, ideaBot, custom rating, and segmentation
  • Scale: Once you have a solid idea, the next stage allows you to invite more people to join your team as guest members. You can create a workspace, make teams, assign team managers, etc.
  • Measure: This stage gives you an accessible and actionable interface for your ideas, allowing you to become a smarter innovator. Sub-tools include outcomes, customized outcomes, data export, and insights. 

Source: IdeaNote

Ideanote has done an excellent job of incorporating all the features one would expect in an innovation management software. They do have a mobile-friendly version but not an app yet. 

While Ideanote does allow team member additions, we’d like to see it be a little easier to do so. 

What makes IdeaNote Different from IdeaScale?

AttributesIdeaScaleIdeaNote
SuitabilityMedium to large enterprisesSmall Businesses
Free trialYesYes
Initial setup costYesNo
Ease of UseDecentQuite easy
Training to use the toolNoYes
SupportYesRound the clock for new users, face-to-face assistance
Pricing PlansEngage – $12,999 for 2 years ~ $540 per month
Evolve – $21,999
Advance – $34,999
Transform – $64,999
Starter – $249 per monthBusiness – $649 per monthEnterprise – $2899 per month
Minimum Commitment2 years1 Month

Ideanote’s Standout Feature | MVP Test

Ideanote’s standout feature is the Minimal Viable Product (MVP) test. IdeaNote facilitates semi-surveys and feedback collection within a team or a small customer group. It’s essential to choose the right ideas to pursue in this fast-paced innovation atmosphere. Well-thought selection ensures effective resource utilization. 

Pros:

  • Intuitive interface and ease of use
  • Affordable pricing
  • Great customer support

Cons:

  • No provision to rank ideas
  • No mobile application 

IdeaScale Alternative 2: Brightidea 


Source: BrightIdea

BrightIdea’s IdeaBox is an employee-only innovation management software suitable for large enterprises. IdeaBox offers a collection of apps (shown below). Each app serves a specific function for various innovation stages. For instance:

  • OptimizeIf you want to improve a particular business area, you can invite ideas from employees around the same
  • Name – This one comes in handy if you are looking for names for a new product
  • HackBringing people together for a limited time to solve particular challenges. In concept, this is quite similar to online hackathons
  • Recognize It’s a great way to give shoutouts and increase employee engagement 

Source: Twitter

What Makes BrightIdea Different from IdeaScale?

Both of these tools are very competitive in terms of features and support. However, BightIdea offers a mobile application for iOS and Android users. IdeaScale doesn’t have a mobile application.

Source: iPhone AppStore

AttributesIdeaScaleBrightIdea
CustomizationCustomization of in-site features to change site behaviorCustom CSS to change the look and feel to match your brand
User InterfaceIntuitive and easy to use. Plus points for an infographic generatorSocial media-esque UI. Crowded because of too many apps, hence confusing
Idea pipelineFour stage pipeline – Idea Collection, Refinement, Review, ImplementationDrag and drop tools allow building pipelines to evaluate ideas
Mobile applicationYes – iOS onlyYes
PricingRanges from $12,999 to $64,999 for two yearsNot publicly disclosed

Brightidea’s Standout Feature | Large Scale Crowdsourcing & Hackathons

Large-scale crowdsourcing and hackathons make BrightIdea a standout. Have a problem and want more than the people in your employ to help you solve it? Sure! Use BrightIdea to launch a hackathon. 

What a great way to demonstrate to your workforce that you’re an innovation-driven enterprise! 

Pros:

  • Made for large enterprises, especially those with a global presence
  • Contests and hackathons open up a plethora of ideas
  • Cloud access, iOS, and Android apps
  • Increased employee engagement with mobile app

Cons:

  • Not particularly suited for small businesses and enterprises
  • Allows only one person in charge, which makes it not so conducive to enterprises that have multiple decision-makers

IdeaScale Alternative 3: Planbox 

Source: Planbox

Planbox is an AI-powered, exhaustive, and modular innovation management software. It has four modules:

  • Discovery central: Explore and discover the right problems and prioritize them to find innovative solutions
  • Innovation central: Manage the control innovation lifecycle – from challenge launch to building a business model canvas
  • Agile central: Manage agile work for projects with the ability to track deliverables, plan experiments, and develop a proof of concept
  • Portfolio central: Empower your teams by pitching out of the box reports of commercialized strategies

What Makes Planbox Different From IdeaScale?

Planbox’s Innovation Central module is akin to IdeaScale. While both take you through the innovation cycle, Planbox ranks slightly higher on the value addition it provides through external ideation and crowdsourcing. 

AttributesIdeaScalePlanbox
Visualization Built-in reporting as well as the ability to integrate web analytics. Data exports available tooEasily configurable reporting engine for creating effective visualization
Free trialYesNo
ScalabilityIt can handle large volumes of members as well as ideasResources available to scale with the growth of enterprise 
Ease of UseDecentGood. Allows for internal management of site
IntegrationAllows integration with Slack, Twitter, LinkedIn, Yammer, Intercom, Google Analytics, Social ShareAllows for integration with Zapier, Slack, Sharepoint, Teams, G Suite, Microsoft 365 and more
Idea EvaluationVoting system to rank ideasIdea Manager Evaluation and Task-driven Evaluation
PricingRanges from $12,999 to $64,999 for a 2-years period$6/user/month for up to 250 users

Planbox Pricing

Like BrightIdea, Planbox does not disclose its pricing publicly. You can get in touch with their support team to get a quote. 

Planbox’s Standout Feature | The AI Algorithm

Planbox pioneered AI-powered innovation management. The ethos of Planbox using AI is that it helps simplify innovation tasks and the innovation process. It makes them more efficient and provides better analysis. The result of this combination is more accurate predictions with less risky decision-making. 

Organizational resistance can prove to be a significant hurdle in innovation management. An AI algorithm helps overcome that hurdle by using improved processes to choose and implement more potent ideas. 

The risk of loss is another deterrent. With AI, the system can allow management to keep a record of innovation. The system can track and measure all factors that play a part in an idea’s success or failure. Analyzing and archiving these efforts’ results helps cultivate a culture of continuous improvement that drives long-term success.

Source: Planbox

Planbox’s AI-powered algorithms help search for related data from various trusted sources on your recording of an idea in the software. Those sources include Twitter, designated RSS feeds, USPTO and other patent databases, support tickets and emails (of your customers), and any other data source that you have access to.

Pros:

  • The modular structure covers the entire innovation cycle
  • The AI-powered algorithm provides for data gathering pertinent to each invention keyed in
  • PlanBox mobile application available for both iOS and Android
  • Highly customizable

Cons:

  • The reporting/analysis could be better
  • The administrator does not have complete control over the tool. There are times queries need to be routed through the help desk

IdeaScale Alternative 4: Idea Drop 

Source: Idea Drop

Idea Drop is suitable for large enterprises and businesses. With easy connectivity and the option to submit ideas anonymously, it helps collaborate on a large scale towards strategic business goals. 

It has a clear and well-organized dashboard and ranks quite highly on the ease of use scale. 

What Makes IdeaDrop Different from IdeaScale?

It is easier to customize as compared to IdeaScale. It provides a whole list of innovative features, some of which are currently lacking in IdeaScale. Features such as engagement monitoring, evaluation workflow, feedback management, gamification, trend tracking.

IdeaDrop is accessible on the web as well as on mobile with their iOS and Android applications.

Source: iPhone AppStore

IdeaDrop gives you complete access to the platform whether you are a user or an administrator. As a user, you can submit your ideas and engage with others. As an administrator, you have access to the analytics to give you a deeper understanding of each idea. It also sends real-time notifications and reports to keep all the stakeholders updated.

AttributesIdeaScalePlanbox
Collaboration FeaturesBesides community discussion, it goes a level beyond for collaboration by routing ideas to subject matter experts for thorough vetting@mentions, #hashtags, comments, link sharing, and real-time notifications
Duplication CheckNoYes, it flags similar ideas and suggests collaboration
Ease of UseDecentGood. Allows for internal management of the site
IntegrationAllows integration with Slack, Twitter, LinkedIn, Yammer, Intercom, Google Analytics, Social ShareAllows for integration with Yammer, SSO, Microsoft Teams, and Slack
CustomizationAllows for styling customization for branding purposeHighly customizable – workflow, idea evaluation metrics, and branding
PricingRanges from $12,999 to $64,999 for a 2-years periodDetails not publicly available

IdeaDrop’s Standout Feature | Intelligent Algorithms

IdeaDrop’s USP is its intelligent algorithms. There are 3 main algorithms that make it seamless. Those are:

  • Intelligent Duplicate Check: With intelligent pattern recognition technology, IdeaDrop automatically checks for duplication of ideas. If a similar idea is found, the tool recommends the user to collaborate over the existing idea instead.
  • Smart Search: Idea Drop’s intelligent search makes it very easy to search your Idea Drop database, including the content of supporting documents.


  • Idea Score: Once an idea is submitted to your organization’s IdeaDrop, an automated algorithm assigns it a score. It’s a real-time score depending on social interactions with the concept. The higher the social vote on the idea, the higher the score. 

Pros: 

  • Easy to use interface and UI
  • Intelligent algorithms optimize the ideation process
  • Real-time notifications increase engagement
  • Real-time analysis allows for better collaboration

Cons:

  • Notifications come through only if you follow a person
  • No auto-generation of monthly reports on innovations 
  • Additional consultation services are chargeable

IdeaScale Alternative 5: Viima 

Source: Viima

Viima is suitable for middle to large-scale organizations. It is an ideation and discussion platform, with four distinct phases within the software – 

  • Collect: This stage is for collecting ideas. The software then categorizes ideas into predefined buckets. There is also the option to create boards and give access to a selected group. 
  • Develop: You can create a process based on your business needs and methods. Features available include mentioning specific people and adding attachments to ideas. 
  • Prioritize: You can choose metrics to rams and prioritize ideas. These evaluations generate automated scoring. Visualization tools help in making informed decisions. 
  • Analyze: Analytics in the software show you how you can improve your process in real time. Fix bottlenecks and spot trends in data. 

Viima allows you to gather ideas from employees, customers, and other stakeholders.

What Makes Viima Different From IdeaScale?

AttributesIdeaScaleViima
SuitabilityLarge enterprisesScalable from small to large
Localized ServicesNo. Only available as a cloud serviceYes. Available as part of the Enterprise plan
Ease of Use and UIDecentColorful and engaging interface that is easy to use
IntegrationAllows integration with Slack, Twitter, LinkedIn, Yammer, Intercom, Google Analytics, Social ShareBuilt-in Single Sign On for Office365, Google for Business, and Microsoft AD
CustomizationCustom community styling to match the branding aspectsCustomizable – possible to create customized workflow
Mobile Application Yes, for iOS onlyYes, for iOS and Android
PricingRanges from $12,999 to $64,999 for a 2-years periodBasic Plan – Free – for up to 50 users
Premium – $5/user/month – for small organizationsUnlimited – $1799/month – for medium to large scale enterprises

Viima Pricing

Viima’s pricing follows per-user-based model. They offer a free plan too. Their basic plan offers a single board to discuss ideas with the bare minimum features. The per-user plan starts at $5 per month per user. It’s perfect for small organizations. 

For a large organization, it may make sense to purchase the unlimited plan at $1799 per month for unlimited users and access to all its features.

Viima’s Standout Feature | IP Whitelisting

Understanding the need for access to the software from anywhere, Viima has enhanced security with IP Whitelisting. This way, whether employees are in the office or outside, the company can create a list of IP addresses in a whitelist for secure access and privacy of the company’s potential Intellectual Property.

Pros:

  • Simple to set up and use, good UI
  • Great customer support
  • Affordable pricing 
  • Mobile app available on both iOS and Android
  • IP whitelisting feature for security

Cons:

  • Not very effective for decision making 
  • Not the best customization options 

Here is a quick summary of the tools we’ve discussed with their standout features:

Innovation Management ToolFree Trial/DemoMobile AppPricingStandout Feature
IdeaScaleYesNo$12,999 for 2 yearsCommunities
IdeanoteYesNo$249 per monthMVP test
BrightIdeaYesYesNot disclosedCrowdsourcing and Hackathons
PlanboxYesYesNot disclosedAI algorithm for data population
Idea DropYesYesNot disclosedIntelligent algorithm for duplicate check, smart search
ViimaYesYes$5 per user per monthIP Whitelisting

Triangle IP – An Idea Management Tool for Patent Mining

TIP by Triangle IP is an intuitive drag and drop tool to help you track the journey of ideas to patents. TIP’s inventor-friendly idea form helps you capture more innovation. Its collaboration feature brings together people from business, R&D as well as IP departments. This enables thorough vetting of ideas ensuring only the most promising ideas/inventions get patented. The TIP tool is constantly evolving. The team is looking to add more features to help users make better patenting decisions. Currently supported workflow in the software has four stages namely:

  1. Idea Capture: A dashboard where anyone from the enterprise can submit innovative ideas. TIP tools offer a very simple idea form for the same.
  1. Internal Vetting: Submitted ideas can be vetted internally to check for viability by different stakeholders. After thorough vetting the most potential ideas are pursued for patent protection.
  1. Patent Drafting: Ideas that are vetted and considered viable are moved to the patent drafting stage. The patent attorneys take it from here.
  1. Patent Filing: Once the application is filed with the patent office, the serial number and filing date are recorded here with a copy of the patent application.
  1. Portfolio Management: Coming soon! A stage that shall help you keep a track of your patents and patent applications. The analytics in this stage shall help you make better patenting decisions.

Triangle IP – A Quick Video Tour

What’s Unique about Triangle IP?

The TIP tool follows a minimalistic design approach. It is built for ease of use whether used by one person or an enterprise. 

Triangle IP specifically caters to 4 personas:

  • Individual inventors
  • Startups
  • Enterprises
  • Patent practitioners

TIP has a neat UI with simplified login through magic link. Its role based access feature allows for more control. Within the software you can score ideas, merge ideas as well as lock ideas post approval. There may soon be an automatic patentability score option available for evaluating ideas. TIP helps you manage the IP workflow from idea collection to portfolio management. TIP tool is free for all until its most comprehensive version is out

Here are a few key functionalities you would love about the tool. 

TriangleIP’s Standout Feature | Patent Democratization 

The TIP Tool is transparent and allows collaboration and in essence, democratizes the patent process. Generally, in most corporate structures, the handling of innovations and patents is limited to the top brass. The TIP Tool aims at making this a process that involves the whole enterprise. With patent attorneys being looped into the tool through the Patent Drafting, and Patent Filing stages, the attorney can be directly in touch with the innovator.  Hence, the possibility of filing more comprehensive patent applications is enhanced. 

Pros:

  • Intuitive and easy invention disclosure form 
  • Ease of collaboration results in thorough vetting of the ideas
  • Scoring of ideas helps in prioritizing ideas to be pursued for patenting
  • Ease of use with the drag and drop feature

Cons:

  • Patent analytics missing
  • No mobile app

The Final Word

We’ve given you a round up of the IdeaScale alternatives with all of their pros and cons. 

But the final word must only be yours. What suits your business is a personal choice – one that hopefully this post will help you make. While we have given you facts and figures, the best way to figure out what works for you is to give all these options a fair chance. 

Go ahead, try the free versions of these tools before you choose one to commit to. And while you’re at it, give the TriangleIP tool a try for an end-to-end customized solution to your innovation management needs. 

Do consider these 5 factors while you are evaluating any innovation management tools!

TIP Tool is free for your whole team

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22 Tips to Master the 5 Skills of Disruptive Innovators

Become a disruptive innovator by mastering these 5 discovery skills

History is evident that disruptive innovators have the ability to change the world for better; be it Jeff Bezos, Steve Jobs, Elon Musk…

In his farewell letter to his employees, Jeff Bezos talked about innovation being the root of Amazon’s success. “We’ve done crazy things together, he said, and then made them normal.” Steve Jobs is always remembered for his words about innovators and trailblazers about whom he says “…while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius, because the people who are crazy enough to think that they can change the world, are the ones who do.”

Most people say – ‘Disruptive Innovators’ are wired differently. However, I feel what we are calling as wired differently is just a capability to see things from multiple perspectives. 

Clayton has called these perspectives “Discovery Skills”, in the book “The Innovator’s DNA”. Clayton claims if you can acquire these skills, you can also think like disruptive innovators. This implies if we can teach them to our teams, we can make our organization more innovative. Let’s see what are these ‘Discovery Skills’ and how we can teach them to our people:

  • Associating
  • Questioning
  • Observing
  • Networking
  • Experimenting

Disruptive Innovators | Discovery Skill #1 Associating

Disruptive Innovators | Discovery Skill #1 Associating

Being at the cusp of different disciplines and finding ways to associate them to create ideas that are out of the box is the first discovery skill. How do you train your mind to do this?

Tip #1 – Force New Associations

Combine things that you wouldn’t usually put together. Look around your home and life and find the two most used gadgets but unlikely to be used as a single one and force your mind to make the best possible association. We are picking a refrigerator and Google Home.

Refrigerator + Google Home

Let’s of think some potential associations:

  • How about talking to the refrigerator just the way we talk to Google Home and asking – “How many cartons of milk are left in the fridge?” instead of opening the fridge and checking ourselves.
  • Or how about asking the fridge to ring a bell when your home made ice-cream is set and ready to dig into? Just the way we ask Google Home to set timers.

As a systematic approach, create a table as follows. Pick a problem(s) you are facing, identify a random item or idea. For inspiration, look around you.  Now try to come up with an association of these two. Here are some examples for your reference:

Unsolved problemUnrelated random item or ideaPotential Association
How do I get more users to download my new mobile adventure treasure hunt gaming app?Running shoesCreate a feature where the game uses the phone camera as a projector and allows the user to treat it as a VR experience. 
How do I prepare my workforce for a post covid comeback?House plantCreate a temperature controlled outdoor, socially distanced workspace where masks need not be worn. Create an atmosphere that feels safe and comfortable and makes your workforce want to be present. 
……Your turn…….………………

Tip #2 – Take on a Different Persona

Take on a different persona. Even by physically altering the way you look and dress, you can force yourself to think like someone you are not. For example, if you’re looking for design innovations with a twist of utility, dress in a black t-shirt and blue jeans for a week so you can feel like Steve Jobs. Let his association of learning calligraphy to subsequently create fonts on his computers inspire you.

Tip #3 – Generate Metaphors and Analogies

Find ways to look at things from an uncommon perspective. Use metaphors and analogies to think of products that you could revolutionize. Ever thought of an AI powered smart ceiling lamp that can watch over patients? The device being smart enough to know if the patients are sitting, standing or laying down and to call out for help if they fall down. 

List of Products (“What if” Metaphor)Possible New Features/Benefits
What if” we aren’t controlling video game characters using a remote, but with our brains? What if they just so happen to be going exactly where we want, when we wanted?Mind control gaming with increased efficiency and lesser need of hand eye coordination
Device-less, play from anywhere, unrestricted game time 
What if” 
………Your turn……..………

Tip #4 – Build Your Own Curiosity Box

Collect and put together things from your travels and explorations, things that may not be useful even. Put them together in a box to trigger your curiosity or even display them where they jump out at you everyday. When faced with a problem, look at them and allow them to let you come up with out-of-the-box solutions. 

Explore-Simulated-Version-of-TIP-Tool

Tip #5 – Use SCAMPER to Generate Breakthrough Ideas

SCAMPER! Substitute. Combine. Adapt. Magnify, Minimize, Modify. Put to other uses. Eliminate. Reverse, Rearrange. An acronym to inspire innovation and generate insight, use the concepts that this acronym stands for to rethink and allow you a fresh perspective to a problem you may be facing. 

SCAMPER ChallengeInvent a new type of Vending Machine  
SubstituteSubstitute salespersons at stores with vending machines – unmanned and cashless stores
CombineSell advertisement space by installing a screen
 
AdaptInstall QR codes/screens for digital payments
Magnify, minimize, modifyModify receiving tray to be soft and padded to minimize breakage of delicate items
Put to other useTurn traditional vending machine into fresh juicer by replacing packaged food and drink with fresh fruit and juicing mechanism
EliminateEliminate the keypad to punch in codes for products. Maybe use a touchscreen for product selection.
Reverse, rearrangeInstead of taking stuff out of a vending machine, humans get inside and use it as plug and play office

You might also like to read this post on “Innovations in Aerogels With SCAMPER”.

Disruptive Innovators | Discovery Skill #2 Questioning

Disruptive Innovators | Discovery Skill #2 Questioning

Questioning is the art of learning. Questions seek and frame and expose. Answers change over time, with varying degrees of accuracy and subjectivity. But ask the right questions and you will be amazed how the doors to innovation open. 

Tip #6 – Engage in QuestionStorming

When brainstorming finds you caught in a rut, try QuestionStorming. When you sit down together as a team, ask What if, What caused, Why, Why not, What is questions. Write down every question and once listed, prioritize and discuss the most important or intriguing ones to find better solutions.

Tip #7 – Cultivate Question Thinking

When discussing products and/or innovations within your company, convert your statements into questions. By reformulating statements into questions, you will find not only do the problems you are facing become clearer and help members of your team feel responsible for solutions. Teach your team members in the orientation session about the first principle of thinking. You would love reading this one too – “7 ways to Encourage Innovative Thinking at Your Workplace”.

Tip #8 – Track your QnA Ratio

Keep tabs on your Q&A ratio. Studies have shown that disruptive innovators ask more questions than give answers. And more often than not, good questions generate greater value than good answers. 

Tip #9 – Cultivate your own Question Bank

Maintain a record of your questions as your own written question bank. Keep revisiting these questions to identify patterns and categorize the kinds of questions you are asking. When you do, question your own questions to disrupt your thought to lead to better innovation.   

The table below will help you ask the right questions. 

 Describe the TerritoryDisrupt the Territory
Innovator’s DNA SkillsWhat is? Who? What? When? Where? How?What caused it?Why? Why not?What if? How might?
Observing    
Networking    
Experimenting    

Ask more questions when you go through your question bank. Question your questioning patterns, try and understand which questions generate emotional responses, see what kind of questions lead you best into disruptive thinking patterns.   

Disruptive Innovators | Discovery Skill #3 Observing

Disruptive Innovators | Discovery Skill #3 Observing

Whether it was Einstein with his theory of Gravity or Galileo measuring time with a pendulum; all innovators, thinkers and makers had something in common. They noticed, they observed and they theorized. Observation is the bedrock of innovation. It is where innovation starts. 

Tip #10 – Observe Customers

Observe the people you are making your product for, the existing customers. Observe how these customers experience your product. Look out for what they enjoy most about your product, and look out for what is leaving them dissatisfied about it. Is there a functional connect only or is your product leaving your customer emotionally connected? 

Tip #11 – Observe Companies

Identify a company you like, or one that inspires you. It may be a blue chip company or a trailblazing start-up. Dig into its hows and whys and think of ways you could incorporate its ideas into your business or product. 

Tip #12 – Make Observation a Habit

Set time aside everyday to observe. Make it a task in your daily to do list. Set aside a few minutes each day to observe the world around you, or a part of it that catches your fancy. Note down (this may even be photographs and videos on your phone) your observations and review them every once in a while. 

Tip #13 – Observe With All your Senses

Observe with more than just your mind. Whether you are observing customers, another company or the world around you, observe with all your senses. Make it a habit to see, taste, hear, smell and feel every experience. Make notes about what responses various experiences trigger in you. You never know what explosive idea is hiding under a whiff of something!

Disruptive Innovators | Discovery Skill #4 Networking

Disruptive Innovators | Discovery Skill #4 Networking

Idea networking is about you stepping out of your comfort zone and engaging with people who have thoughts that may be different from your own. Fresh thoughts, ideas and perspectives are a powerful arsenal to carry in your toolkit. 

Tip #14 – Expand your Network Diversity

If you are the smartest person in a room, you are in the wrong room. So, like Tony Robbins says, surround yourself with people who are successful, who are forward-moving, who are positive, who are focused on producing results, who support you, it will challenge you to be more and do more and share more. If you can surround yourself with people who will never let you settle for less than you can be, you have the greatest gift that anyone can hope for. Expand the diversity of your network. Engage with people of different ages, socio-economic backgrounds, gender, profession, industry, countries. 

Tip #15 – Start a Mealtime Networking Plan

Don’t have the time to expand your network? Start doing so over a meal. Have a meal with someone in your organization or social circle you never would ordinarily. Step outside your comfort zone if you have to to engage with a person you may not always agree with. 

Explore-Simulated-Version-of-TIP-Tool

Tip #16 – Plan and Attend New Events Each Year

Attend conferences and seminars as an opportunity to network and learn alongside. Choose a couple of conferences/seminars to attend in a year – one in a subject that interests you and another that is outside your comfort zone. This is a great way to meet people with different perspectives.

Tip #17 – Foster a Creative Community

Become part of, or better still, initiate a creative community and meet regularly to nurture ideas beyond your workplace. Invite outsiders to these meetings to get fresh ideas. Let the people you invite be a healthy mix of experts and novices so you can draw on both experience and raw enthusiasm. Train with the experts and let the exuberance of newness ignite your passion.

Disruptive Innovators | Discovery Skill #5 Experimenting

Disruptive Innovators | Discovery Skill #5 Experimenting

Experimentation is fundamental to get insights and new knowledge and in relation to innovation, experimentation is usually seen as a “search for new value”, a journey to innovation.

Tip #18 – Cross Physical and Intellectual Borders

Changing spaces – both physical and intellectual help you break out of routine and fixed mindset. Visit new places – museums, libraries, parks. Join new professional or recreational activities, attend lectures, take an online class or indulge in art. Subscribe to content from different contexts and different geographies. When you open yourself up to alien information, you will see yourself shift from a routine mindset to a hypothesis-testing mindset. 

Tip #19 – Invest Time in Developing a New Skill

Find something you are passionate about beyond your work. Turn it into a skill that you work to develop. It could be painting or photography or ballet or yoga. If you don’t want to go that far, identify another function in your company and explore it deeply.

Tip #20 – Disassemble a Product and Build a Prototype of an Idea

Have something old at home that is gathering dust? Turn it into a weekend repair project. Take it apart, study it and try to reassemble it. Have something at home that you think you could make better? Engage in a product improvement project and turn it into a prototype! Play-doh and Lego are great to create prototypes with your kids and to initiate them into innovation early. 

Tip #21 – Be Regular with Piloting New Ideas

Pick up ideas from the idea books you are maintaining and make a commitment to yourself to carry out a pilot test of one of those every month. If it doesn’t work the first time, experiment on it the next time with a small tweak here and there.

Tip #22 – Go Trend Spotting

Stay up to date with the happenings around you and constantly be on the lookout for emerging trends. Look into the future with the resources you have today and try and think of how you can ride the trend wave.  

Let’s Sum It Up

In sum, remember to keep moving. Remember you don’t have to be born an innovator. You can join the league of disruptive innovators. And while you’re on the innovation treadmill, let Bezos’ words ring loud – “Keep inventing and don’t despair when at first the idea looks crazy. Remember to wander. Let curiosity be your compass. It remains Day 1.” 

Read Next: “How To Seek Investment Using Patents?

Want to get more invention disclosures at your enterprise?

Download this inventor friendly ‘Invention Disclosure Form‘ by TIP today!

Note: The preceding is general business advice and not to be construed as legal advice. IP laws vary by country and retaining licensed legal counsel is advised to confirm this information. Any expressed or implied opinions are of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Triangle IP or any other entity who might be associated with the presenter. We hope this content is helpful to you, but should not be relied upon without confirming the advice and accuracy with local legal counsel. Any comments or inquiries are not confidential so please discuss your issues directly with counsel.

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Innovations in Aerogels – SCAMPER for Idea Generation

Innovation in Aerogels - SCAMPER - Idea Generation

Learn how innovations in aerogels by Blueshift, Graphene, Krosslinker, Kalwall and …. can help you come up with the next generation of technologies.   

Looking for some inspiration to generate ideas in Aerogels? You have reached the right spot! In this post we are not just sharing an actionable idea generation technique; but something far more than that. The technique we are covering is called “SCAMPER” and the bonus that we are giving here are the innovations in aerogels. ‘Aerogel’ – one of the most fascinating materials on earth.

What is SCAMPER?

Bob Eberle proposed the SCAMPER technique in his book – SCAMPER: Games for Imagination Development in 1971. You would be surprised to see that it’s not outdated yet and can still help you draw a lot of value.

The word SCAMPER is an acronym for 7 brainstorming methods. With each method, you need to answer specific questions about an existing product or idea to explore something new. Let’s take a look at these 7 methods:

MethodWhat you doWhat questions you ask
SubstituteThe focus of this method is to find alternatives. You substitute a part of the existing idea with something else to create a new thing. Which ingredient can you replace without affecting the solution?

Can you substitute people, time, or place for improving the quality?
CombineYou focus on combining 2 (or more) existing things to result in a better idea.Can you combine a new element into an existing product and improve?

Is it possible to merge 2 or more existing processes to create something new?
Adapt During this method, you stress on adapting a part of or the whole existing product or process in a better way.Can you adapt a new process or technology to the existing product?

Is it possible to adapt a process to improve the speed or results?
Modify (magnify or minify)Try to change the size, dimensions, quantity, or frequency in the existing product, process, or problem.Can you add extra features?

Is there a benefit in increasing or decreasing the frequency?
Put to other useThis process helps you to tinker if you can use your product or process in some other unexpected way?Can you use your product differently?

Is it possible to target another market for the product?
EliminateWhen you use the ‘eliminate’ method, you focus on getting rid of a part or process that may not be beneficial.What can you eliminate from a product or a process?

Is there a way to get rid of the harmful parts?
Reverse (rearrange)In this method, you explore if any rearrangement or reverse technique like upside down or inside out with the product helps get new results?What if you go backward?

Can you reverse a process and get results?

The table above shares a few questions for each technique. Feel free to download the exhaustive questions list for all the 7 techniques.

We are in awe with aerogels and hence chose aerogels to explain SCAMPER. From the first commercialization of aerogel, it has been a topic of fascination among scientists and researchers. And, we are no exception!

If you are an industry veteran from the Aerogel industry, I would recommend you skip to “SCAMPER – The Idea Generation With Innovations in Aerogels” section, as we are going to start with First Principles – explaining from basics.

What Is Aerogel?

Aerogel is a synthetic porous ultralight material. It is the lightest solid on earth; an aerogel block of a car’s size would hardly weigh 1 kg. What makes aerogel so interesting are the properties it exhibits in various conditions.

For instance – aerogels have super high thermal resistance. Look at the picture below – A flower is on a piece of aerogel which is suspended over a flame from a Bunsen burner. The flower remains protected from the flame due to aerogel.

Source – wikipedia

Apparels stuffed with aerogels can keep you warm even under a storm of liquid nitrogen (-321°F / -196°C). That’s how magical it is! The post explores 7 breakthrough innovations in aerogels in the following sections – keep reading!

Who Invented Aerogel? | An interesting Story

The inventor, Samuel Stephens Kistler, made the first aerogel somewhere in 1931. His associate and friend, Charles Learned, had a bet with him to replace the jellies’ liquid without shrinking. Kistler removed the fluid and filled the air using the supercritical drying method. The technique is not as simple as it sounds. Kistler took many years and long research to make the first aerogel.

Why We Picked Aerogel To Explain SCAMPER?

MarketsandMarkets reported last year that the aerogel market would reach a share of $1045M by 2025. During the forecasted period of 2020-2025, it would register a CAGR of 10.4%.

What keeps the demand so high is the applications in the energy, construction, and transportation sectors. The need for thinner, lighter, and economical aerogel would drive the growth. Emerging players are challenging each other for novel ideas and growth, keeping the aerogel’s field vibrant. While nonorganic silica has been the most prominent base material thus far, the carbon in organic material is also quite popular now. Start-ups are exploring eco-friendly routes to produce aerogel, as well.

The end products of aerogel are available in many forms like blankets, monoliths, granules, and powder. Here is a tree structure by IDTechEx to help you understand the base materials and available forms of aerogel.

Different types of Aerogels and the terminology

Source – IDTechEx

Having so much innovations in aerogels going on, how could we not dive in the ocean of aerogels to pull out some pearls for you? TriangleIP believes in democratizing innovation so that we can help more people innovate. So here we are sharing different models that you can use to generate more ideas. 

So, let’s learn SCAMPER with examples of aerogel based products and companies.

SCAMPER – The Idea Generation With Innovations in Aerogels

Of all the companies working with aerogels, we chose 7 promising works, based on their innovation technique that aligns with one of the SCAMPER methods. 

Substitute Like Blueshift

Traditional aerogel is made up of silica, which makes it brittle. Such aerogel can fracture under high pressure. Blueshift substituted the silica with polyimides polymer to create a highly flexible aerogel. Trademarked as AeroZero®, this aerogel makes good tapes and laminates. The strength, insulation, and flexibility make it versatile for various industrial purposes.

Innovations in Aerogel - Blueshift - Substitute
  • Aerospace and defense use AeroZero® due to its high insulation and cryogenic properties. 
  • Electronics and telecom fields have adopted AeroZero® because of its lightweightness. 
  • The semiconductors industry uses AeroZero® as it performs uniformly between temperature -200 °C and 250 °C+.

How incredible, isn’t it?

Imagine substituting one of the core materials to solve the existing problems when you think of an idea generation technique. 

Combine like Graphene Composites

“Innovation is taking two things that exist and putting them together in a new way.” – Tom Freston, Co-founder, MTV

Although Graphene Composites (GC) makes composites for aerospace, which are lighter than the carbon-based parts and have higher strength, their armors are worth talking about.

GC combines graphene with aerogel to produce the strongest, lightest, and resilient GC Shields as ballistic armors. These shields disperse the impact of a bullet or stab more effectively than other armor. GC Shieldshave been tested with various rifles, shotguns, and knives.

These mobile shields come in different sizes. They can fit in a school bag or be obtained in a bigger size to protect the full torso. A pack of shields combined to make a wall offers group protection during an attack. GC Shield™ Curtain protects active shooters in large and open spaces.

Innovations in Aerogel - Combine - Graphene Composites

Graphene Composites stands out among companies working with aerogel due to their unique product. Combining two products to offer new benefits is a great way to innovate. What can you combine to create a new product worth interest?

Adapt Like KrossLinker

“The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore, all progress depends on the unreasonable man.” – George Bernard Shaw

Do you know 1 out of 5 vaccines spoils during transit in the supply chain? 

KrossLinker came up with an innovative approach to package bio-pharma products. These pharma products are temperature sensitive. Many vaccines and biologics like blood, human organs, vaccines, and drugs suffer from the lack of the proper packaging. The traditional Styrofoam packaging spoils these biologics due to temperature fluctuation and dust.

Then existing aerogel products couldn’t stand up to the fabrication challenge of cold-chain biopharma. First, the production speed couldn’t stand the demand and affected the vaccine cost for the end user. Dusty aerogel products pose contamination risks to biologics. 

KrossLinker took the challenge and innovated aerogel packaging for biopharma products. They solved the dust issues with the silica aerogels. Their products are thin, leading to smooth fabrication. Their technology produces aerogel boards 3x faster and at 50% lower production cost. Owing to low energy consumption, carbon footprints are lesser, too.

SCAMPER - Adapt - Krosslinker - Innovation in Aerogel

Adapting an existing process to solve a burning problem: just the right approach to innovating. And KrossLinker did the same.

Modify like Cabot Corp

The Cabot Corp’s idea of using aerogel powder in cosmetics reflects the ideology of ‘modify’ in SCAMPER.

Aerogel has a remarkable absorption capacity—quite useful to soak moisture and oil from the skin. Hence, if added in the powder form, it’s beneficial to enhance cosmetic functioning.

A skin product renders a matt finish by soaking the oily layer from the skin. Aerogel’s addition helps maintain anti-caking and free-flow properties in skin and beauty products. Also, it helps retain the fragrance.

Innovations in Aerogels - Modify like Cabot Corp

A small touch of aerogel to the beauty products magnifies their properties. What are your thoughts on modifying an already available product and coming up with a new idea?

Put To Another Use Like Kalwall

Aerogel by nature is translucent with a blue tint. Kalwall used this property of aerogel and made use in construction for good daylight trapping in massive structures.

While maintaining the buildings’ aesthetics, their structures make the indoor ambiance cozy and conducive to living. They offer museum-quality daylighting™, Skyroofs®, skylights, canopies, and walkways with aerogels. Not only are these products great for natural lighting, but are also great as thermal insulators.

Another benefit of using Kalwall’s design system is, they help the tenants and owners save on energy expenses. The carbon footprints of these buildings are also low. Kalwall panels also claim to be self-cleaning and resist UV rays.

Innovations in Aerogels - Kalwall - Put to Another Use

Putting a product in a different market is a risk. But a little resilience and perseverance can bring success; Kalwall has proved this.

Eliminate With Bronx Culture

While manufacturing aerogel, Bronx Culture might have thought about one question: How can we achieve the same or better aerogel without superfluous byproducts? Or simply put: what can we remove in the process to make the end product equivalent or better?

Using the National University of Singapore’s (NUS) technique of making aerogel with cellulose fibers, Bronx Culture has developed Oryza Aerogel. Cellulose fibers are obtained by mulching the paper. NUS’s manufacturing process generates zero byproducts, saving the landfills from paper wastes.

Oryza Aerogel has no crystalline silica dust in the residues. This means a safe working environment for workers by minimizing the hazardous effects due to inhalation and contact.

Innovations in Aerogels - Bronx Culture - Eliminate - SCAMPER

Bronx also eliminated eco hazards by adopting green and eco-friendly manufacturing processes. The NUS technique consumes less energy and lesser hazardous chemicals. Paper that goes otherwise into landfills is now a source of aerogel.

Isn’t it time to go green and eliminate environmental perils in our innovations, just like Bronx Culture?

Rearrange Like Dunlop Racquets

“If you have always done it that way, it is probably wrong.” – Charles Kettering, Inventor

When Dunlop decided to manufacture racquets using aerogel, they might have one question in mind: How can we rearrange the current structure for better results?

Dunlop rearranged the design and structure of their racquets to provide more strength and shock absorption. Due to its extreme strength and lightweight, aerogel was a perfect answer to making the racquets better.

The company placed aerogel strategically at 2, 5, 7, and 10 o’clock positions in the racket’s hoop. This increased the size of the sweet spots and spiked the stability of the racquets. These racquets also have Dunlop’s patented Aerobridge technology. Aerobridge is a dampening system, which cancels string vibration. For this, they use an aerogel sleeve in the throat of the racquets.

Innovations in Aerogels - Dunlop Rackets - Rearrange - SCAMPER

The design has helped players win world titles. Rearranging or reversing a technology like reverse engineering is a proven and old style to handle problems and works well in many fields. 

What is one thing you can rearrange in a design or even look in the reverse direction to solve a burning issue?

Let’s Sum it Up

SCAMPER, time and again, has proven to be useful for problem-solving and innovating worthy products. The best part of SCAMPER is that it forces you to question the status quo and as you know best the breakthrough innovations come when you challenge the status quo. 

Do try it in your next R&D meeting. Whether you work as a one-person team or in a group, idea generation this way is systematic and result-oriented. So, which of the 7 methods are you choosing to solve a problem? Tell us in the comments section; we are open to brainstorming. Feel free to download the questions list for all the 7 methods by filling the form below!

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