With so many different idea management software systems available, finding the right one for your organization is tough. You know you want software to help you organize and evaluate ideas and spur creative innovation, but you need to figure out which system is best. In this post, I'll help you make your choice easier by sharing my insights on the best idea management software to facilitate collaboration and help you turn abstract concepts into actionable plans.
What is Idea Management Software?
Idea management software, sometimes called innovation management software, is a digital product that allows you to collect, assess, develop, and implement ideas within your business. This software enables you to create a data-backed system of identifying great ideas to ensure you’re not wasting potential opportunities. It achieves this through key features like idea submission and collaboration tools, evaluation mechanisms, and data analytics & insights.
Using idea management software offers numerous benefits to idea-driven organizations, including enhanced teamwork and collaboration, an increased flow of innovative ideas, more efficient idea selection, better progress tracking, and improved decision-making.
IdeaScale is a web-based idea management software that enables you to plan your ideas. The solution allows you to attach research data to your plans, estimate their cost and value, and create proposals to turn them into reality.
Why I picked IdeaScale: I included IdeaScale in my list because I enjoyed its project planning features. IdeaScale allows you to organize your ideas with Kanban boards, but it takes things further by enabling you and your team to attach cost and value estimates to each concept in order to spot the top contenders.
You can add multimedia attachments and social links to your ideas to flesh them out, and you can invite internal or external collaborators to build on a concept or validate it.
IdeaScale Standout Features and Integrations:
Standout features include custom approval workflows and community engagement. I like how easy IdeaScale makes it for users to create, submit, and share their ideas. Any number of users can build on the same concept. They can review it to provide feedback, add comments, and vote for their favorite, facilitating continuous improvement.
Integrations include business intelligence and communication apps, such as Google Analytics, Power BI, Tableau, Trello, Jira, Azure Boards, Intercom, Slack, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Microsoft Teams.
- Allows both public and anonymous interactions
- Responsive technical support
- Easy to set up and launch
- Customizing your platform can seem clunky
- You can’t use multiple reviewer groups for the same ideation phase
Brightidea is a cloud-based idea management system that allows you to manage your idea pipelines with automation. The software makes it easy to oversee your initiatives, allowing you to track and move them through the project pipeline based on specific rules.
Why I picked Brightidea: I included Brightidea in my top 10 list because I’m a fan of their pipeline management features. With Brightidea, you don’t need to manually check every initiative – you can create specific admission requirements and use automation to move initiatives through the project pipeline.
I also like the platform’s playbooks. Brightidea’s initiative playbooks can help you come up with new ways to engage your team and guide you through the process of motivating teammates to submit their ideas.
Brightidea Standout Features and Integrations:
The biggest standout feature for Brightidea, in my opinion, is their innovation ROI tracking. Their dashboard enables you to see the financial impact of your ideas, allowing you to present your results to stakeholders and organization leaders.
Integrations include project management and collaboration tools, such as Asana, Jira, Slack, Microsoft Teams, Airtable, Google Docs, Zendesk, monday.com, Unsplash, Power BI, and Vimeo. The software also offers a REST API and allows you to connect to more apps through Zapier.
- Proactive support team
- Pipeline management automation
- Clean and intuitive UI
- Inviting an outside jury could be easier
- Advanced features have a steep learning curve
Viima is an idea management platform that helps you create visual representations of your ideas. The platform helps you collect ideas, prioritize the best ones, and track your innovation process.
Why I picked Viima: I’m a fan of Viima’s idea visualization features. The platform has a playful UI that encourages team members, users, and collaborators to submit their ideas. You can see in real-time which features are public favorites and you can organize them in different boards for increased visibility. The visual representations are ideal for mind mapping, as they help you create relational structures between different concepts that branch off of your main idea.
Viima enables you to create your own idea approval processes. You can define an individual process for each idea, and you can assign ideas to specific team members and track them across their lifecycle.
Viima Standout Features and Integrations:
Standout features include in-app collaboration, automated idea scoring, and analytics. I like how Viima helps you make your idea collection process collaborative. You and your teammates can add attachments to each idea, tag one another, rank the ideas, and receive notifications when someone changes an idea so you can jump in and work together in real-time.
Integrations include project management tools, communication solutions, and social media platforms, such as Jira, Google Docs, Microsoft 365, Meta for Business, Twitter, LinkedIn, Okta, and Ping Identity.
- Enables you to present your ideas in a unique way
- Makes ideation a social activity
- Exceptional visual effects
- The statistics page could benefit from more filters
- You can’t customize all the idea fields
Qmarkets is an idea management solution that helps you identify and manage your team’s ideas. The software enables you to automate most of the steps involved in the idea-generation process, allowing you to focus on generating engagement.
Why I picked Qmarkets: Qmarkets made my list thanks to its automation features. The platform allows you to automate all recurring tasks, such as sending e-mail reminders, moving the idea from one phase to another, and following up with stakeholders. With Qmarkets, you can prepare multi-step ideation campaigns in advance and focus on generating engagement with your team.
Qmarkets Standout Features and Integrations:
Standout features include multiple workspaces and custom workflows. Combined, these features enable you to create different innovation challenges for your organization’s teams or departments, allowing you to use specific methodologies for each challenge.
Integrations include social media platforms, project management, and business intelligence tools, such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Wrike, Asana, monday.com, Jira, Microsoft Project, Power BI, Tableau, and Oracle Netsuite. The software also offers a REST API and allows you to connect with other solutions through Zapier.
- Advanced permissions control
- Great branding and customization options
- Helpful onboarding tutorials
- UI can seem clunky on specific pages
- Automating all recurring tasks can be time-consuming
Ideawake is an idea management solution that helps you incentivize your team to submit their ideas with gamification. The software allows you to reward top participants through public recognition and cash or non-monetary prizes.
Why I picked Ideawake: I selected Ideawake for my list because its gamification features encourage user participation. All participants can earn points by submitting or contributing to ideas, and they can access leaderboards to see how they compare with other users.
Ideawake enables you to create custom scorecards based on your own criteria. You can allow your users to vote on ideas so you can identify in-demand features, and you can create time-based challenges to uncover ideas in determined time frames.
Ideawake Standout Features and Integrations:
Standout features include real-time collaboration, mentions and notifications, and customizable submission forms. I also really enjoy Ideawake’s review groups feature. This feature enables you to create dedicated groups to assess an idea according to your custom criteria.
Integrations include CRMs, collaboration, and social media software, such as Airtable, Trello, Asana, monday.com, Jira, Google Workplace, Box, Miro, Microsoft Teams, and LinkedIn.
- Good variety of idea creation and competition templates
- Rich library of educational materials
- Proactive support team
- Reporting could be more detailed
- UI requires you to click multiple times to access a specific feature
Canny is an idea management and project management software that enables you to collect ideas and feedback from your users. The solution’s design encourages your prospects and customers to vote on feature requests so you can gather valuable insights.
Why I picked Canny: Even though most idea management software allows you to collect user feedback in one way or another, few do it as well as Canny. The platform makes your feedback collection process a real social experience, allowing users to upvote proposals, leave comments and reviews, and communicate with your team as well.
Administrators can filter their views to spot new suggestions, ideas that are trending, or popular proposals. They can also move ideas directly to their roadmap and share release updates with community members.
Canny Standout Features and Integrations:
Standout features include user segmentation, mind mapping, and the smart idea submission feature. The smart idea submission feature automatically recommends existing ideas when customers start typing so they can join the existing discussion rather than create duplicates.
Integrations include project management tools and communication tools, such as ClickUp, Jira, Salesforce, Asana, GitHub, HubSpot, Slack, Microsoft Teams, Intercom, and Segment. The software also allows you to connect to more apps through Zapier.
- Allows you to attach customer feedback to your stakeholder presentations
- Makes it easy to spot in-demand proposals
- Enables you to capture ideas at scale
- Search engine could be more specific
- Changing the category settings could be easier
Idea Drop is an idea management platform that allows you to collect ideas on your favorite devices. The solution enables you to create public challenges on your communication channels, making it easy for your team and users to share and assess ideas.
Why I picked Idea Drop: Idea Drop secured its position in my top 10 list thanks to its mobile-friendly build. The platform enables you to create challenges and share them on your communication channels, and allows your users and teammates to submit and vote on ideas directly from their mobile devices.
Idea Drop adds external ideas directly to your feed, reducing your chances of missing them. The solution allows both public and anonymous submissions, so you get a wide variety of ideas and insights.
Idea Drop Standout Features and Integrations:
Standout features include gamification, deadlines, rewards, and anonymous submissions. I also really like Idea Drop’s intelligent duplicate check feature. This feature flags similar ideas before submission, so your users can build on existing ideas rather than submitting duplicates.
Integrations include communication apps, such as Slack, Yammer, Blissfully, and Microsoft Teams.
- Can organize ideas based on category
- Makes it easy for people to participate via your communication channels
- Helpful mobile app
- Being able to submit anonymous ideas can lead to low-quality requests
- The platform could offer more administrative tools
Planbox is an idea management platform that helps you keep your team focused and engaged in innovation with daily challenges. The software enables you to create custom workflows and make idea collection fun with gamification.
Why I picked Planbox: Planbox made it into my top 10 thanks to its engagement features. The solution enables you to boost your team’s engagement with daily challenges, levels and badges, rewards, and recognition.
With Planbox, you can create custom rules for idea approvals. Contributors can see their stats and badges, and access specific rewards based on their efforts. This makes the ideation process fun and somewhat competitive, increasing your team’s engagement.
Planbox Standout Features and Integrations:
Standout features include continuous improvement, AI idea scouting, crowdsourcing, and self-service analytics. I like the platform’s AI idea scouting feature because it pulls information from your data sources to uncover trends and potential opportunities.
Integrations include collaboration and project management solutions, such as Slack, Asana, Dropbox, Zendesk, Salesforce, Trello, Google Workplace, Microsoft Teams, Twitter, Power BI, and Jira.
- Clean, straightforward interface
- Great support department
- Plenty of customization options available
- Advanced features have a learning curve
- Reporting could be more detailed
InnovationCast is an idea management tool that enables you to build a culture of innovation by rewarding your key contributors. The solution boosts contributor engagement, increasing your chances of collecting valuable ideas.
Why I picked InnovationCast: I selected InnovationCast because I was impressed with its contributor recognition features. People want to be acknowledged for their hard work, and InnovationCast allows you to publicly show your recognition in the form of financial and non-financial rewards.
The solution also helps you gamify the idea collection process. You can create custom user badges, each with its specific criteria so your users have something to strive towards.
InnovationCast Standout Features and Integrations:
Standout features include idea planning, project tracking, and innovation radars that help you break down information silos. I like InnovationCast’s idea planning feature. It allows you to define tasks and milestones that would allow you to validate your concept, estimate the resources you’d need to take an idea to the finish line, and plan for potential bottlenecks.
Integrations include common SSO configurations. InnovationCast also allows you to develop integrations through their REST API.
- Good branding options
- Gamification features increase engagement
- Radar feature helps you create visual representations of customer insights
- Can be expensive for small teams and early-age startups
- Integrating the tool with other apps in your ecosystem can be difficult
Aha Ideas is an idea management and project management tool designed to speed up the product development process. The software enables you to democratize your idea collection by allowing your team members to share ideas and vote on which of them should end up on your roadmap and become new products.
Why I picked Aha Ideas: Aha Ideas made my list thanks to its idea collection dashboard. This dashboard turns your idea management process into a collective experience by allowing team members to vote on which ideas they find most valuable. Users can also comment on every idea, so you can get in-depth info about its potential impact.
Aha Ideas also offers a great crowdsourcing feature. The platform enables you to embed an in-app feedback widget in your product so you can capture your audience’s ideas and see what they’d like you to build next.
Aha Ideas Standout Features and Integrations:
Features that make Aha Ideas stand out include community engagement and request management. These features enables you to collect quantitative and qualitative insights from your users and then use the data to organize and score your ideas. This enables you to uncover the most valuable ideas for your customers.
Integrations include communication and development platforms, such as Slack, Microsoft Teams, Zendesk, Salesforce, Dropbox, Box, Google Drive, Okta, OneLogin, and Flowdock. The software also allows you to connect to more apps through Zapier.
- Effective crowdsourcing features
- Great customer support
- Offers a good variety of customization options
- UI can be confusing at times
- Extensive list of features may seem overwhelming to new users
Best for customizable rating scale
Best for real-time collaboration
Best for brainstorming sessions
Best for startups
Best for storyboards
Best for small businesses
Best for ease of use
Best for Microsoft 365 users
Best for Agile planning
Best for pipeline tracking
Selection Criteria for Idea Management Software
Here’s a short summary of the main selection and evaluation criteria I used to develop my list of the best idea management software for this article:
Every tool I included in my review enables you to identify winning ideas so you can develop products and features your customers actually want to use. Other core functionalities include:
- Idea collection: The solutions enable you to collect ideas from users, team members, and stakeholders.
- Idea evaluation: Not every idea that comes your way is going to be a good one, so the tools enable you to assess the idea’s potential and long-term impact.
While idea management platforms offer a variety of features, the following are crucial:
- Idea submission or capture: Your users and team members have to be able to mention their ideas so you can capture them or submit their ideas directly through dedicated forms.
- Idea evaluation: You should be able to assess and rank ideas based on pre-defined or custom criteria.
- Collaboration: Some ideas that have tremendous potential may be unusable in their initial form. Being able to collaborate with team members enables you to refine the ideas and show their real impact.
The platforms I included in my review offer multiple features, but I only included solutions that enable you to gather ideas with ease. Being able to collect ideas from a variety of sources can be crucial in your innovation process.
I picked solutions that offer native integrations with other tools in your app ecosystem, such as communication tools, CRMs, and project management solutions.
Ideas are not valuable if they don’t lead to updates, or new features and products. And managing ideas through your pipeline without dedicated tools can be difficult, so I included tools that help you manage your ideas and move them through your ideation funnels.
Your team might be full of ideas, but the ideas you collect from your users are often the most valuable. I selected tools that enable you to include your target audience in the idea selection process so you can understand what your target audience is looking for.
While idea management solutions come at different prices, I included only tools that offer a good variety of features in my list so you can make the most out of your investment.
How does idea management software work?
Idea management solutions create a central location for you to collect, assess, and refine ideas with your collaborators. They also provide the tools you need to accomplish all these tasks.
What are the three main elements of idea management?
The three main elements of idea management are:
- Idea generation: In the forms of idea collection and/or brainstorming.
- Idea assessment: Evaluating their potential impact, which may involve voting and collaboration.
- Idea implementation: Taking your idea from concept to reality, which may involve prototyping or product development.
How can idea management software benefit my business?
Idea management software can help you identify in-demand features. By collecting feedback and ideas from your users and team members, you can see which feature or update requests align with your core values and long-term goals so you can improve your solution and create phygital experiences – experiences so good they transcend the digital space.
Other Core Software Reviews For CX Professionals
If you want to improve your product, here are some other reviews from CX Lead experts you might be interested in:
- Best Customer Service Software
- Best Customer Journey Mapping Tools
- Best Customer Messaging Platforms for Teams
- Best Design Thinking Tools
- Best Digital Experience Platforms (DXP)
- Best Helpdesk Knowledge Bases for Customer Service
Idea management software helps you develop a purpose-driven strategy for your organization. It enables you to listen to your customers and improve your product based on user demand, so you can enhance the customer experience you offer.
As Joey Wat, CEO of Yum China, said: “Customer preferences are constantly evolving, while new technologies transform the way we interact. I have always believed that the companies that survive and prosper in dynamic, competitive markets are not necessarily the strongest or the smartest; they’re the ones that can respond quickly and adapt effectively to changing circumstances.
[...] Another key part of our innovation culture is making sure that our decision-making is fast, while still of high quality. We have worked hard to reduce the layers of bureaucracy that can slow the process and the speed at which we respond to changing customer preferences. [...] Innovation is the lifeblood of our business—as it is or should be for every organization trying to be successful today.”
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