How does a company convert today's idea into tomorrow's big growth opportunity?
One way to begin is to brainstorm, and Intuit Inc. is offering an innovative way for people to collaborate and shape new ideas with an aptly named product: Intuit Brainstorm®.
Initially developed to spur innovation within Intuit, Brainstorm sparks employees' creativity by giving them a way to share, experiment and collaborate on new ideas through online crowdsourcing. Other businesses grew interested and Intuit is now offering the product to the public with a 30-day free trial.
How It Works
Intuit Brainstorm connects employees through a simple, organized, Web-based tool, inspiring them to interact and collaborate, and increase innovation opportunities. The process is simple.
• Sign In - A brainstorm starts when an employee signs in and posts an idea for others in the organization to see.
• Get Connected - Brainstorm then connects that idea with like-minded people who can spur the idea forward.
• Add Perspective - Other employees can add their perspective and build on the idea. The process continues as ideas are refined and often become a new product or service. Brainstorm allows users to vote on and track ideas to increase collaboration.
• Rise to the Challenge - Business leaders can challenge innovators to harness their collective brainpower to solve specific customer problems.
Brainstorm quickly attracted outside attention, earning a 2010 Forrester Groundswell Award. Meanwhile, innovators at Intuit have used it to introduce more than 200 new ideas in three years. An example of a Brainstorm innovation that has benefited Intuit customers is ViewMyPaycheck, a service that gives employees easy access to their payroll information online, including pay stubs and W-2s.
Outside firms, both large and small, have also found it a valuable way to spark innovation.
Vistaprint, a leading online provider of professional marketing products and services to micro businesses, located in Lexington, MA, used it to grow and refine ideas from employees at all levels of the company.
"Brainstorm turns ideas into reality much faster and with a lot more thought behind them!" said Toon Van Buylaere, senior specialist of product marketing at Vistaprint.
On a larger scale, Brainstorm helped General Electric to connect employees across the world to solve a customer opportunity.
"Brainstorm had an immediate effect. Within a few weeks, we had seven significant ideas, two of which are driving rapid prototyping that will lead to positive customer impact," said Todd Dunn, General Electric operations director.
How it Started
Brainstorm was the brainchild of two insightful Intuit employees, Tad Milbourn and Vlad Magdalin. Fresh out of college, they saw the need to take ideas to the next level.
"When I joined Intuit, I saw many employees across the company bursting with passion and ideas but unsure of how to turn them into action," said Milbourn, now a senior product manager.
Collaborating together, the pair created a prototype for Brainstorm, which immediately captured the company's attention.
"We created Brainstorm to encourage connections between employees, open the door for feedback and collaboration, drive innovation and ultimately help Intuit grow," Milbourn said. "It exceeded our wildest dreams."
To date, Brainstorm has helped Intuit generate a 1,000 percent increase in new ideas and increase participation in innovation by 500 percent. Brainstorm is now an Intuit business unit, with Milbourn and Magdalin still leading the Brainstorm team.
Pricing and Availability
Brainstorm is available today with a 30-day free trial at brainstorm.intuit.com. After the trial, monthly pricing starts at $5 per user, with a $500 per month minimum.
About Intuit, Inc.
Intuit, Inc. (intuit.com) is a leading provider of business and financial management solutions for small and mid-sized businesses; financial institutions, including banks and credit unions; consumers and accounting professionals. Its flagship products and services, including QuickBooks®, Quicken® and TurboTax®, simplify small business management and payroll processing, personal finance, and tax preparation and filing. ProSeries® and Lacerte® are Intuit's leading tax preparation offerings for professional accountants. Intuit Financial Services helps banks and credit unions grow by providing on-demand solutions and services that make it easier for consumers and businesses to manage their money.
Founded in 1983, Intuit had annual revenue of $3.5 billion in its fiscal year 2010. The company has approximately 7,700 employees with major offices in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, India and other locations.