I just took a briefing from Jive Software about their new innovation management tool, Jive Ideation. The fact that Jive is now formally dedicated to the innovation space is significant – a move that has ramifications for the broader innovation management market, and for sourcing professionals.
Forrester has been covering the innovation management market for several years, and written about it as a “unique” market. We have always, however, recognized that the distinctions between this market and other markets -- particularly the social collaboration market -- were thin.
The arrival of Jive into the ideation space shows just how thin those boundaries are. Jive has made a name for itself over the past few years as a social collaboration tool. The company differentiates on its ability to connect a wide variety of enterprise users (both internal and external), and integrate easily with a host of technologies – making it appealing to a range of business and IT buyers. Since collaboration is a critical component of innovation, its not a stretch to see how Jive’s collaboration tools can be applied to their client's innovation objectives.
In my recent interviews with IT services providers on the topic of innovation, one of the key findings was the many different ways in which innovation can be categorized. Some companies view innovation as simply an extension of their traditional R&D capabilities, others view their innovation as a way to prove their thought leadership, still others view innovation largely as a strategic marketing imperative. Sometimes, it’s a combination of these factors.
One interview that stood out was with Lem Lasher, the Chief Innovation Officer (and Global Business Services President) at CSC, who described to me a deep and holistic approach to transforming CSC’s innovation capabilities. Three things that stood out at me about Lem’s approach:
Deloitte recently made two acquisitions that may not make front-page headlines, but for sourcing professionals, they are noteworthy. In February/March Deloitte announced the acquisition of 1) dcarbon8, a carbon and sustainability consulting company that specializes in supply-chain management and carbon benchmarking and 2) Simulstrat, a company that pioneers “wargaming” and a spinoff from the department of war studies at King’s College in London. The acquisitions are small, but they highlight some interesting trends in the technology marketplace:
Before the recession of 2008, high oil prices pushed interest in “going green” to a peak, but the economic recession cooled some of the green fever -- and many “clean tech” companies we track started repositioning themselves more as enablers of cost savings and efficiency. The acquisition of a sustainability consultancy like dcarbon8 highlights the fact that the interest in green continues – and companies like Deloitte view the green focus as more than a passing fad.
Simulstrat offers sophisticated risk mitigation consulting to companies – all posited at a simulation or “game-like” setting. In this case, Deloitte looked to the capabilities of an academic institution to bring an innovative risk services offering with its private sector clients. While simulations have traditionally been applied in government settings (e.g., war games) the potential for businesses (who are increasingly interested in risk mediation strategies to deal with macro-economic shifts) is strong.