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End2End Innovation | Frameworks & Methods | Gartner Insights

Key Capabilities of Innovation Management Tools to Look For

Innovation management tools help companies to streamline their innovation processes, facilitate collaboration, and enable effective communication across teams and departments. Understanding the key capabilities of innovation management tools can help businesses to identify the right tools for their needs and maximize their innovation potential. 

In this article, we unpack the capabilities we recommend you look for when choosing an innovation management software as well as the driving forces influencing the adoption of innovation tools in global organizations, according to the 2023 Gartner® Market Guide for Innovation Management Tools.

The capabilities of innovation management tools

One of the critical functions of application leaders, CTOs, and innovation managers is to stay aware of the latest tools that may disrupt their industry and will aid in fulfilling their strategic objectives. A framework on how to utilize these technologies, as well as how to communicate their capabilities, is imperative to the success of any innovation strategy.

The Gartner Market Guide for Innovation Management Tools “helps [applications and software engineering leaders] understand current trends and make effective technology choices for their innovation programs.”

According to Gartner, innovation management tools can “help organizations manage the flow of ideas from initial concept generation to final value realization or commercial exploitation. They  support diverse methods to generate ideas, both internally or externally; to prioritize and select ideas; to act on selected ideas; to observe and measure activity and impact; and to operate innovation programs at scale.”

Innovation Management Tool Capabilities by Gartner®The Gartner Market Guide spotlights five capabilities that innovation management tools offer organizations:

  1. Generate ideas through events, campaigns, hackathons, trendspotting, brainstorming or focus groups.
  2. Prioritize and select ideas through voting, discussions, stage-gate workflows, and structured decision-making with approvals based on definable criteria.
  3. Act on selected ideas through planning, task and project management, new product development, active idea portfolios, and IP commercialization support.
  4. Observe and measure continuously the work activity to guide decisions by providing dynamic, customizable, operational, and management reports and dashboards both for team members and different levels of management.
  5. Operate at scale through templates for common ideation activities, batch operations to provision preconfigured hubs with appropriate permissions, data management controls, and integration with other workplace and business applications.

Beyond ideation: The importance of foresight and strategic portfolio management capabilities

We agree that the capabilities above are essential for good innovation management tools. However, we think there is more to it. At ITONICS, we believe in an end-to-end innovation management approach, from strategy to execution. In addition to ideation, organizations should also look for foresight and strategic portfolio management capabilities to have the best chance of deriving tangible value from their innovation activities. We would add the following capabilities to the above list:

  • Detect and understand drivers of change in your business environment that have the potential to disrupt your industry through weak signal scanning and scouting and monitoring of trends, technologies, startups, competitors, etc.
  • Identify and prioritize opportunities and risks for your organization by evaluating, connecting, and mapping trends, technologies, and other drivers of change, creating future scenarios, and centralizing collective intelligence.
  • Act on opportunities through strategic planning, task and project management, and agile innovation portfolios.
  • Monitor projects and portfolios to ensure agility through dynamic, customizable, operational and management reports and dashboards for team members and different levels of management.

The market analysis and direction of innovation management tools

In analyzing the current industrial state of innovation management tools, the Gartner report provide analysis and detail of some common use cases that innovation management tools are used for. This data was obtained by surveying a series of vendors and assigning “numerical values to answers by the vendors mentioned in this report to the question “What are the main ways in which your product is used?” given in briefings and interviews during 3Q22.”

The Gartner research findings highlight the most common use cases for innovation management tools, including:

  1. Events and campaigns: 54.2%
  2. Idea assessment and stage gates: 54.62%
  3. New product development: 40.77%
  4. Open innovation with external participants: 26.92%
  5. Project portfolio management: 26.92%

As part of their analysis in the report, Gartner outlines some of the key “obstacles in adoption and successful deployment of innovation management tools”. These include, but are not limited to:

  • Lack of preparedness: Is your organization equipped with the necessary resources to execute created ideas?
  • Lack of participation: Can you keep employees and key stakeholders engaged to participate in the entire innovation process?
  • Technology overlap: Can your organization effectively delineate and integrate the use of innovation management tools with the other IT infrastructures currently in use?

ITONICS mentioned as a representative vendor for innovation management tools

ITONICS is mentioned as a representative vendor in the Gartner Market Guide for Innovation Management Tools for the fifth time in a row. The ITONICS Innovation OS is the ideal home for all your innovation management needs.

Our innovation management software provides end-to-end innovation capabilities, helping organizations to systemize all activities from strategy to execution, at scale.

The following selection of features in the ITONICS Innovation OS can upgrade organizations' ideation, foresight, and strategic portfolio management:

  • Real-time signals feed from patents, news, scientific publications, and reports to stay on top of change and disruption
  • Collaborative rating of trends, technologies, risks, startups, and other drivers of change 
  • A customizable Radar view to analyze the potential impact of drivers of change at a glance
  • Analyst-curated, industry-specific trend and technology content to kick-start your foresight journey
  • Customizable ideation campaign templates suited to your ideation challenge 
  • Collect, evaluate, and prioritize ideas from employees, suppliers, startups, and other external experts
  • Manage innovation projects, portfolios, and roadmaps
  • Monitor and track project progress and performance
  • Reports on innovation metrics and KPIs

See it for yourself and learn more about the features and functionalities of the ITONICS Innovation OS in a free demo.



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Gartner, Market Guide for Innovation Management Tools, Nikos Drakos, Marty Resnick, 14 February 2023

GARTNER is a registered trademark and service mark of Gartner, Inc. and/or its affiliates in the U.S. and internationally and is used herein with permission. All rights reserved. This graphic was published by Gartner, Inc. as part of a larger research document and should be evaluated in the context of the entire document. The Gartner document is available upon request from ITONICS.

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