New York City rang in the new year with a new internal innovation software platform. A division of Spigit’s idea management platform, “Simplicity” is being adopted city-wide in a two-phase roll-out that will eventually include all 300,000 New York City employees. The city hopes to harness the software to overcome communication barriers across its many departments, improve collaboration and generate innovative ideas from the people who know the inner workings of the city best.
Of course we love broad sweeping gestures toward more open democracies, but what exactly is an ‘idea management platform’? The end result of such software, as you may have guessed, is to tap into the ideas of many, and exploit the knowledge of the masses through voting mechanisms, discussions, and virtual charrettes that provide insight into which ideas are the most viable, ultimately generating community-based innovation. Spigit notes that “the number of college graduates with double majors has grown three times faster over the past decade than the number of college graduates”. Recent graduates entering the workforce are, more than ever, capable of specializing in more than one area. Multi-tasking has become the norm as our society moves to a culture of multiple varied, yet specialized interests. As progress depends on innovation, fresh ideas can often be found in places one might not expect. And when attempting to tap into those ideas, social media can help to a certain extent, as can blogs, wikis and surveys; but idea management platforms combine the best of social media tools and feedback mechanisms to encourage innovation.
Spigit views innovation on hinging around employee motivation. The internal drive to innovate is too often lost on a generation accustomed to instant gratification. Rewards systems, however basic they may be, are used across Spigit’s platforms as the creative driving force. The Simplicity platform adopted by New York City will allow city employees to communicate more easily with each other, while soliciting ideas across the spectrum of departments. Ideas will be treated like new ventures where all employees can discuss, challenge and rank them within the forum. Individuals that provide the most valuable contributions, that is: quality over quantity, will be identified and recognized as leaders within the forum. Intrinsic to all their designs, Spigit believes that successful idea platforms must utilize a comprehensive set of tools, reward contributions, have a system in place to move the best ideas forward and above all else they must encourage participation.
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