IM: Christian, thank you for joining us! Let’s begin with a few words about yourself and your experience within the innovation management service industry.
CH: I appreciate the invitation. I have been working for HYPE for about 8 years now, always in the space of innovation management. I initially handled client projects for companies with vastly different backgrounds, e.g. BASF, Siemens, and PwC, and gradually got more involved in project management and implementation consulting as well as in integrating the custom enhancements to our core software at that time. In time, I created and headed our newly defined product management department and it was at this point that I realized it will become essential to have an SaaS-based (“Software as a Service”) offering as well – especially for smaller companies, due to the rise in standardization of innovation management tools.
IM: Speaking of standardization, how does this trend shape the state of the art in innovation management tools & software? How did it affect you?
“There are two extremes in the market: completely standardized solutions and tools that can be adapted to an individual process”
CH: To name the two prominent extremes in the market: on the one hand, you have completely standardized solutions which allow quick implementation, on the other hand, you have tools which can be adapted to an individual process. In the last 12 years, we have worked on many individual projects and learned about the complete range of innovation managers’ needs. This enabled us to address the other end of the scale: a standardized SaaS-based tool called HYPE GO! which contains the key features to run a highly effective innovation program.
Companies who are coming from the opposite direction – having started with standardized solutions and now need to learn about the complex issues of flexibility – have not been so successful. However, the journey towards standardization has just begun and there is, of course, still much room for improvement. In my view, one big challenge in the future will be to solve more complex innovation management processes and challenges with standardized solutions. We intend to remain at the forefront of this.
IM: So your previous experience with innovation management software helped greatly when devising this new SaaS-based tool.
“(…) we often pushed the boundaries of things that could be achieved with our flexible solution.”
CH: The experience certainly helped, yes. In the past we’ve used our flexible core software HYPE Enterprise to handle lots of specialized and completely different projects. This allowed us to learn lots of detailed and important aspects over time and we often pushed the boundaries of things that could be achieved with our flexible solution. We tried to take this knowledge to the next step when developing HYPE GO!
IM: Please tell us more about HYPE GO! When and how was this project started and what is the current stage of development?
CH: We had been discussing such a solution for quite some time, but it was only last summer that we finally decided to opt for a new product that specifically addressed the SME market, believing the market was mature enough now. I was assigned to coordinate all efforts in this direction – from design to implementation and marketing.
Looking back, I can say we focused on the three most important aspects right from the beginning. First, we developed a straight-forward methodology which, on the one hand, defines process steps and features crucial for innovation success and, on the other hand, is flexible enough for a broad range of applications. Then we developed an outstanding user interface in terms of modern design principles and intuitive usability – up-to-date technologies in this area helped us to solve the challenges that arose during this journey. Finally, we successfully solved the key SaaS-based problem from a technological standpoint: how to handle multiple clients in one system. Our specialized development team in Berlin tackled this question for over half a year and found a solution that was safe and efficient, yet easy to implement and stable. Thus, we became capable of handling large user numbers and heavy usage.
We have been working on this product for quite some time now with support from all relevant areas like marketing, sales, design, and development. It has been a steady progress and we never had any doubt that this will result in a great software solution.
IM: What about the business side? Did you encounter any challenges there?
“SMEs will love this since the need for additional consulting services will be much lower allowing them to focus even more on their businesses”
CH: With respect to our business model, the shift into the SaaS direction required us to infuse a lot of knowledge and process guidance, which we also offer as consulting and training services, right into the tool itself. We wanted it to be extremely selfcontained and we are still optimizing this in the current stage, but I am already very happy with what we have achieved so far. Our prospective small and medium clients will love this, since the need for additional consulting services will be much lower and thus they will be able to focus even more on their businesses.
IM: What do you think the innovation community will value most?
CH: You can certainly argue that those companies that do only want to collect ideas are adequately served by generic crowd-sourcing tools. But when it comes to real innovation management and not just collecting ideas, HYPE GO! is the ideal solution. For example, it not only promotes the usage of campaigns, but it centrally focuses on that structural element. Due to this element, companies are able to strategically focus their innovation activities in the direction they want to.
Another aspect that will be key to HYPE GO! and unique to the market is the back end of innovation: we will start with a flexible review phase that is tied to the different campaigns in the tool, which is easy to use due to the great deal of guidance during this phase.
We are already working on the next valuable updates, expanding the features that increase the value of ideas generated on the platform.
IM: What happens next?
“this will be the first tool, that solves all business challenges of innovation management and not only the obvious part of idea collection”
CH: In the next weeks, we will take the next big step into the aforementioned direction. The innovation management tools from HYPE have always been directed towards concepts and projects, which cover the part where ideas turn into implementable plans. The reason? All clients eventually realize they need proven value from their innovations and thus need this kind of integration. We will have an easy-to-use implementation with additional benefits (outstanding UI, great guidance and usability) for the front end as well as for the back end of innovation.
In addition, just as I stated earlier, this will be the first tool, that solves all business challenges of innovation management and not only the obvious part of idea collection together with some unstructured aspects of so-called campaigns.
I really look forward to the next months and thus the real life usage of HYPE GO! The feedback from your community will be very important for us on the way to further improve HYPE GO! and enable it to solve the real innovation challenges in the SME market.
IM: So do we! Thank you so much for sharing all this.
Oana-Maria is a marketing and branding professional with special interest in growth through innovation, the lean start-up methodology, online learning, and futures studies.
She is the former VP of Marketing at InnovationManagemet.se. Her track record of collaborations includes organizations in the innovation management service industry, both from Europe and the US such as Apollo Group Ltd., FutureThink, HYPE Innovation Gmbh, Ninesigma, Planview and Stanford Education.
Oana is currently based in Copenhagen, Denmark.