August 3, 2012 in ATDC News

Startup Chronicles: IdeaString

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IdeaString At a Glance

As a seasoned technology entrepreneur with strong ties to the Atlanta business community, Genevieve Bos noticed that innovation performance had become an increasingly hot topic among corporate leaders.

“The big discussion was, how do you make innovation a core competency across every aspect of your business?” said Bos. “From driving top line revenue to reducing costs in an increasingly competitive environment with shorter and shorter business cycles, employees today are publishing and sharing their ideas almost everywhere except where they are needed most – inside their own companies. CEOs and Chief Marketers are now asking how to effectively go about identifying and capturing these valuable innovation ideas for product development and enhancements, as well as cost savings from key stakeholders, and put them to work in their own business.”

When Bos later crossed paths with Jake Massey and his team of scientists – who were working on a socialized innovation and collaboration platform – a business partnership was borne. The result: IdeaString, a rapidly growing young startup aimed at helping companies tap their own employees and customer networks to deliver high-value, breakthrough ideas. 

“Your average employee has valuable ideas about product development and business process optimization,” said Bos, who serves as CEO of the ATDC Select company. “Unfortunately, most companies don’t have an efficient or focused way to capture and encourage employees to collaborate and build on these ideas, which is where the breakthrough results happen. So when I saw what Jake was working on and the kind of value and ROI that internal innovation delivers, my heart leapt. It was a gut reaction quickly backed-up by a few months of intense market research that solidified what a huge market need there is. As executives want to keep their employees accountable for innovation, they need a platform that goes way beyond instant mess.”

IdeaString’s web-based platform enables mass-scale digital curation of knowledge, insights, ideas and experience. How? By providing a place and incentives for employees to share ideas, as well as real-time analysis of the ideas as they are generated. Dynamic analytics and visualization including graphs and deep data help enhance participation and increase engagement. Administrators can measure everything from which ideas, themes and people receive the most interest, as well as the level of engagement, location, participation by job functions, industry sectors, departments and more. Gamification and notification are both built-in, meaning you can be rewarded for your ideas and alerted when someone you are following just commented on an idea you posted, or an idea you are following is being further refined. This makes it easier and more fun to build on each other’s ideas and track the value being created.

A member of Georgia Tech’s inaugural Flashpoint accelerator program, IdeaString began marketing the business last December. It now counts multiple Fortune 500 companies – including GE and Ultimate Software – among its loyal customer base. Within the next year or two, IdeaString hopes to have between 35 and 50 multinational companies using the product – which Bos thinks is an achievable goal when looking at the technology’s results.   

“In three days, our platform saved a company $45 million dollars,” said Bos. “If you really want to create an environment where you’re fostering ideas, you need to make it fun. Successful leaders today value authentic communication and a robust pipeline of competitive breakthrough ideas. Our mission is to provide the platform and process for your organization to turn valuable ideas from employees and customers into profits for your business.”

Genevieve Bos

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