More heads are always better than one, especially when it comes to making critical business decisions.

Unfortunately, tapping into the collective knowledge of stakeholders inside and outside of a company isn’t that simple This is particularly true for large-scale enterprises. You need to implement a structured process that engages contributors and optimizes how ideas are collected, refined, and implemented.

Major companies worldwide are increasingly implementing dedicated software to manage and streamline innovation initiatives. This is a testament to the enormous potential this kind of software has when it comes to garnering insightful ideas, incubating them, and ensuring they are implemented for optimal effect. Thanks to innovation management platforms, business enterprises can also easily crowdsource ideas from a pool of stakeholders — ranging from their customer base to their board of directors.

This naturally raises the question, “What innovation management platform best suits the needs of my enterprise?”

To answer this, you need to focus on three important factors that determine the value of an innovation management platform to your business: usability, features, and affordability.

With these factors in mind, here are 5 of the top innovation management platforms you should consider:

1. Qmarkets

Founded in 2006, Qmarkets is one of the most acclaimed innovation management platforms on the market. Qmarkets’ Q-360 suite of collective intelligence products are tailored to address specific use-cases. The various Qmarkets products are available in three editions, each tailored to enterprises at different stages of the innovation process.


  • Easy Deployment
    With Qmarkets, stakeholders are seamlessly added to the platform via a back-end integration that only requires a one-time setup. Deployment is also kickstarted thanks to pre-packaged solutions designed for specific innovation needs.
  • Intuitive Self-Admin Capabilities
    In addition to offering a selection of best-practice workflow templates, Qmarkets has recently launched a flexible self-admin tool, which offers greater control over specific workflows, as well as a selection of customization capabilities.


  • Screening and Evaluation Tools
    The Qmarkets platform offers intelligent crowd-voting tools, and other features designed to evaluate and incubate ideas within the pipeline. ROI and analytical capabilities are also included.
  • Intelligent Automation Tools
    Qmarkets offers a variety of automation tools, including automated user selection and idea graduation. These utilize predefined criteria to trigger activity and progression within the system.
  • Gamification for Employee Engagement.

The platform also offers a raft of gamification capabilities -allowing users to work towards designated rewards via a slick, responsive, and intuitive interface.

  • SaaS or On-Prem Deployment


The total cost of ownership of Qmarkets sits between $15,000 and $150,000 over 3 years, depending on the needs of your business.

2. IdeaScale

IdeaScale represents the emerging platforms in the innovation management niche. Founded recently in 2009, IdeaScale places heavy emphasis on features like gamification and mobile-responsiveness.


  • Simplified Interface
    IdeaScale’s has an easy-to-use basic interface, deriving concepts from social media networking sites. New users can be brought on board via invitations to a portal where they can submit and vote on ideas.
  • Manual Idea Pipeline Movement
    IdeaScale requires a degree of manual effort to move ideas from conception all the way to implementation. On the flip side, the platform gives businesses more control over the quality of ideas being pushed through the pipeline.


  • Mobile Optimized
    While most innovation management software solutions utilize mobile app interfaces, IdeaScale’s solution is 100% built with responsive elements. This makes the user experience streamlined across all devices.
  • Open Customization
    With IdeaScale, companies can modify every image, language, and interface structure within the platform. Alternatively, they can have a dedicated UX team modify the interface according to their needs.
  • SaaS Deployment


Affordability is where IdeaScale really shines. First off, it’s the only innovation management platform with a free solution. For paid accounts, the total cost of ownership ranges from $25,000 to $50,000 over 3 years.

3. Imaginatik

Imaginatik is a time-tested platform, offering consulting services on top of its innovation management software. What’s more, it’s one of the most comprehensive end-to-end platforms made available on the cloud.


  • Minimalistic Interface
    The clean, minimalistic interface of the Imaginatik platform is the result of years of fine tuning.
  • Functional Data Visualizations
    Imaginatik’s flagship software, “Innovation Central,” makes data more readable and actionable for participating stakeholders.


  • Multiple Integrations
    Imaginatik can be considered somewhat of a market veteran – having been founded as far back as 1994. As such, it can be easily integrated with external platforms like Yammer, SharePoint, and Facebook Workplace, to name just a few.
  • Extensive Consulting Offering
    To enable companies to embrace a culture of innovation, Imaginatik delivers extensive consulting services. These are offered a la carte or as an add-on to their software.
  • Saas Deployment


The three-year total cost of ownership for Imaginatik can be anywhere from $100,000 to $250,000. The price is bumped up due to the cost of the consultation services and the company’s impressive history of reliability.

4. Brightidea

Brightidea is another veteran in the innovation market, offering a robust feature set for businesses of all sizes. Its products focus on empowering the workforce, measuring the potential of new ideas, and consolidating insights for the resolution of company-wide problems.


  • Flexible Modular Interface
    The user-friendly and customizable interface of the platform offers simplified ideation monitoring. This makes it readily applicable to a variety of business models.
  • Intuitive Project Management Screens
    Brightidea makes the process of managing and tracking multiple innovation projects from a single hub extremely simple. The platform’s transparent evaluation capabilities also take the guesswork out of shortlisting the best ideas.


  • Innovation Apps
    Brightidea sells 15 separate innovation apps designed to address specific objectives, such as initiating employee engagement, tracking trends, and developing opportunities.
  • Engagement Metrics
    To gauge the effectiveness of your innovation campaign, Brightidea comes equipped with built-in engagement metrics that track employee engagement and collaboration.
  • SaaS Deployment


Due largely to the wide array of features offered, the three-year total cost of ownership of Brightidea ranges from $250,000 to $500,000.

5. Spigit

Spigit is driven largely by a primary goal: to enable enterprises to leverage the collective intelligence of their stakeholders. Founded in 2007, the Spigit platform is recognized for its user-friendliness, scalability, and extensive employee-engagement capabilities.


  • Minimalistic Interface
    Spigit’s simple and sleek interface can facilitate the management of several idea challenges simultaneously.
  • Idea Feed
    The idea feed makes it easy to stay ahead of new and ongoing ideas in your innovation campaign. Valuable metrics, such as star ratings and incubation progress bars, let you spot high-priority ideas rapidly.


  • Open Idea Marketplace
    With Spigit, employees are put in the driver’s seat when it comes to innovation management. They can pitch ideas, provide feedback, submit projections, and more via an interface modeled on popular social media platforms.
  • Predictions
    As employees push new ideas into the workflow, Spigit’s algorithm works in the background to highlight the most lucrative ideas.
  • Tracking and Visibility
    Spigit offers a raft of reporting and analytics capabilities, both for internal ideation and external crowdsourcing projects.
  • SaaS or On-Prem Deployment


Spigit is a robust, end-to-end idea management platform designed for mid-to-large enterprises. As such, its TCO ranges from $100,000 to $250,000.

The Verdict

There you have it! The top five innovation management platforms for crowdsourcing ideas from stakeholders.

As far as usability is concerned, going with any of the platforms above should cause minimal friction during deployment. After all, these companies constantly update both back and front ends to boost adoption across enterprises of all sizes.

Features-wise, the top contenders are Qmarkets, Imaginatik, and Brightidea. Qmarkets, however, has a slight edge. This is largely thanks to its versatile evaluation tools, streamlined automation capabilities, and recently-added self-admin features – delivering a broad degree of flexibility when crafting innovation challenges. The fact that Qmarkets also offers on-premises deployment is an additional bonus.

When it comes to affordability, it’s not easy to evaluate an innovation management platform that reigns supreme. This is because there is primarily because the requirements and varying complexity of different systems affect the overall price significantly. For example, because Ideascale offers a free option, it’s often the go-to choice for smaller organizations. However, for larger companies, the kinds of products Qmarkets offers in its three different editions may offer greater benefits – as well as greater potential for scalability.

The impressive consulting capabilities of Imaginatik – as well as its simple, distraction-free – make it well suited for getting innovation projects off the ground quickly. Brightidea, Spigit, and IdeaScale also offer a robust array of features and tracking capabilities. However, in terms of achieving a good balance between usability, scalability, flexibility, and automation, Qmarkets is certainly the main contender.

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