Only a month has passed since our initial release of the Innovation Portal, our unique tool our clients use to request, collect and compare innovative ideas from their supply chains, outside of any formal sourcing or tendering exercise. Call it a ‘Request for Ideas’ if you will, helping to unite Research & Development and procurement.
We’ve heard frequent complaints over the years that rigid sourcing exercises penalise suppliers who offer novel ways of solving the problem. Indeed we’ve been the victim of this on numerous occasions! Well, this is where our Innovation Portal comes into its own.
As an example a client of ours, a housing association, is looking for new garden designs. They don’t want to run this as a formal tendering exercise that would be to begin with a standard ‘request for information’, or even a ‘request for proposal’, since it is far more conceptual at this early stage. However, the Innovation Portal is perfect, as it allows them to understand what the supply market can offer by way of previously unconsidered ideas. This is helping them gauge their next steps, who to approach and how to approach them. In other words it is an excellent way for them to build a strategy and create interesting opportunities for everyone involved.
It is a highly encouraging start and so we have rapidly followed up our initial product release with some fantastic enhancements. In no particular order, here they are:
Improvements for suppliers raising their own topics
One of the key differentiators between the Innovation Portal and an online questionnaire is that suppliers can create their own ideas as and when they want to, and not just when the procurement team runs an exercise. This gives companies their own portal into which their supply chain can openly collaborate with them. We’ve made improvements to this process to add more robustness and security around it, as well as making the topic creation process for suppliers extremely simple and intuitive.
Quick and easy scoring of ideas
Once the suppliers have submitted their ideas, we have two types of scoring; a simple rating system or a more complex scorecard. In both cases we’ve made the process of scoring the ideas actually quite enjoyable and very straightforward to do by adopting sliders. They even work on mobile devices to ensure all our tools can be used on the go.
Better topic and process management
A clear advantage that the Innovation Portal offers over a simple email-based ‘ideas box’ is that Hosts can manage the whole activity from a central area, including what documents have been sent/received, which suppliers are involved and what they’ve done so far, what messages have been sent/received, what ideas have been generated and how they are ranked, and so on. We’ve made some important improvements to this process, helping to point the Host in the right direction on what they should do next to reach their goals.
General user interface upgrades
The key to any useful software product is to make it easy to use. We’ve made some excellent investments in this area to help our new users make the most of the tool.
Coming soon….Innovation Dojo!
Currently our Innovation Portal is fully integrated within the Market Dojo eSourcing tool. However, as we branch our product range out into unheard of territory within eProcurement, we would like to develop the Innovation Portal further so send us your ideas. Hence keep a lookout for Innovation Dojo !