Innovative Users Drive Product Innovation in Idea Lab Challenge


This blog post comes from Sarah Hickman Auger, Director, Library Product Strategy at Innovative.

After the successful launch of Idea Lab, we’re excited to share the results of our first innovation challenge and announce what’s next!

Our initial challenge “Leveraging Data” was a huge success! We know Innovative users are the most engaged and creative in the library industry, but we did not anticipate they would exceed every established benchmark for activity during this first challenge. Here’s what we’re talking about:

  • 683 Registered Users
  • 584 Challenge Participants
  • 316 Users Creating or Submitting Feedback on Ideas
  • 83 Unique Ideas
  • 453 Comments & Replies
  • 1386 Likes or “Up Votes”
  • 7833 Pairwise Votes to Prioritize Best Ideas

These counts reflect a representative cross-section of all types of Innovative libraries and consortia from more than 30 countries around the world.

Nine separate ideas about Leveraging Data were selected as “winners” – that’s more than 10% of the total ideas submitted during the challenge! And every single winning idea has been incorporated into Innovative’s roadmap for analytics development.

The initial release of our new analytics product is scheduled for the first half of 2018, so it won’t be long before you see some of these capabilities in production! Others are planned as part of the longer-term product direction.

Amanda Schukle, Product Manager for Analytics and Sponsor of our Leveraging Data Challenge, expressed how pleased she was with the feedback we received, “This was an ideal way to validate with a broad cross-section of users that we are on the right path with our Analytics initiative and to understand the priorities libraries place on various capabilities. I cannot overstate the value of this type of structured conversation among users in driving innovation for libraries.”

What’s Next for Idea Lab?

The next Idea Lab challenge opens on Tuesday, November 28! This time, it’s a product-specific challenge concentrated on Sierra.  The challenge question is:

“How might we simplify public services workflows by enhancing Sierra?”

With just a few weeks between holidays for many of our users, we are counting on intense focus from everyone to help us select and announce winning ideas before the end of the year. Start thinking about the possibilities now, so you’ll be ready to submit your ideas when the challenge opens!

Our Polaris users should get ready, too, as we have a Polaris-specific challenge planned for January 2018.

We’ve also been working with the IUG Enhancements Committee on how users might share ideas that are outside the scope of an active challenge. We plan to open an Always Open space in Idea Lab for this purpose. Unlike timed challenges that are designed to solicit ideas for a specific development initiative or product release, the Always Open space will be a place in Idea Lab where you can share any ideas at any time, even if they are not related to an area that we are prepared to act on right away.

The Always Open space is scheduled to open in February 2018.

In the meantime, please look for communications on November 28 to kick off our next challenge.

Thanks again to every one of our users for your part in a successful launch!  Please spread the word to colleagues and other Innovative users about how to get involved in the Idea Lab collaboration.  At Innovative, we are committed to user-driven innovation that will benefit all our library clients, and we can’t wait to dive into the next Challenge with you.

Happy Innovating!


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