The main theme at the IFS World Conference is innovation and how to invent the future of ERP. But innovation doesn’t come easy. Good ideas are often hampered by thoughts like “this is not unique” or “it’s just an idea, I don’t know how to build it”. But why not reward interesting concepts just for being good ideas and leave practical worries for the experts? That was IFS’s idea when launching the IFS Innovation Award a few months ago. The challenge: give IFS an idea for how to apply technology in an innovative way and we’ll give the winner a cash prize and the opportunity to see their idea made into a product prototype. The winning idea turned out to be a smart way of integrating ERP customers using social media and an app.
IFS World Conference keynote speaker and lead singer of Iron Maiden, Bruce Dickinson shared his ideas on how to be truly innovative. Being an entrepreneur himself with a background as company owner in the airline industry, Bruce stressed the importance of not having to reinvent the world in order to call yourself innovative. In fact, many of the most successful business ideas are based on relatively small changes of an existing business model, or by taking an idea from one area into another, rather than some crazy invention. Bruce also told us that he believes that good ideas come from letting someone from the outside take a look at your business, someone uninfluenced by how things are normally done in your industry.
The IFS Innovation Award is based on these very ideas. Before the summer, IFS invited anyone with an idea on “how to apply technology in a new and innovative way to increase business value” to submit a brief description of their idea. The winning idea was submitted by Martin Kvapilik of the Czech Republic. He wanted to create an Innovation Club, a kind of online suggestion box for innovative customers that can challenge and develop each other’s ideas in a way that stimulate true creativity. The Innovation Club recruits members “by invitation only”, a strategy that has previously been used for launching services as Gmail and Spotify. Members interact with the community through a smart phone app, but anyone curious can view the ideas discussed in the club.
Martin’s idea is a great example of true innovation, where an existing idea (the suggestion box) is extended using new technology (social media/apps) and with a twist (limited membership). The prototype will hopefully be an enabler for new, creative ideas to surface in the IFS community. I’m hoping to contribute with some ideas myself. How about a “smart box” in your IFS Applications view, where you receive ideas for what step other users commonly do next? Or how they do what you did but faster, sort of like the “others also bought” suggestions displayed on many online shopping sites today?