In the ever-evolving landscape of innovation management, tools and methodologies arise that can amplify and streamline the process of generating and validating ideas. One such tool, which has garnered much attention recently, is the “idea tournament software”. Sometimes referred to as “innovation tournaments”, “idea contests”, or “innovation challenges”, these platforms offer a systematic approach to sift through and rank ideas. In this blog, we’ll delve into the concept of idea tournament software, its key features, benefits, and critical considerations before jumping in.

What is Idea Tournament Software?

Idea tournament software is essentially a platform or system that facilitates the organized submission, evaluation, and ranking of ideas. Much like a sports tournament brackets out teams to find the ultimate winner, an idea tournament narrows down a pool of ideas until the best ones rise to the top. Often employed by businesses, research institutions, and organizations, it’s a structured way to tap into collective intelligence and foster innovation.

Key Features of Idea Tournament Software

  1. Submission Portal: A user-friendly interface where individuals can submit their ideas with ease.
  2. Evaluation Mechanisms: Built-in algorithms or manual scoring systems that rank ideas based on predefined criteria.
  3. Collaborative Tools: Features that allow users to comment, vote, and collaboratively refine ideas.
  4. Bracketing and Progress Tracking: Visualization tools that depict the progression of ideas through various stages of the tournament.
  5. Feedback Loop: Mechanisms for providing feedback to participants, enhancing the learning and improvement process.
  6. Integration Abilities: Options to integrate with other enterprise software or third-party applications for enhanced functionality.
  7. Reporting and Analytics: Detailed insights and reports on idea performance, participation metrics, and other key indicators.

Unpacking the Submission Portal: Adapting to Various Innovation Access Levels

In the realm of innovation, the way ideas are sourced, evaluated, and progressed can vary significantly based on who has the right to access and contribute. A submission portal tailored to different innovation access levels, based on visibility and participation criteria, becomes paramount. When we talk about these access levels, we are referring to whether participation is internal, external, by invite only, or a mix of these. Let’s explore how a submission portal can effectively cater to these different visibility and access tiers.

Understanding Innovation Access Levels

Innovation Access or accessibility levels describe who can access the idea tournament at which moment. These access levels help you to get the right engagement at the right time. See also our post on open innovation to learn more about this topic.

  1. Internal: Restricted to members of a specific organization or group. This might include employees of a company or members of a particular department.
  2. External: Open to anyone outside the organization, such as the general public, clients, or industry peers.
  3. By Invite Only: Only certain individuals or groups, specifically invited, can access and participate.
  4. Hybrid: A combination, where some phases might be internal, and others might be opened up externally or by invitation.

Features of an Access-Tiered Submission Portal

  1. Role-Based Logins: Depending on the user’s role (internal member, external contributor, or invited participant), the login mechanism should be seamless, secure, and direct them to the appropriate submission environment.
  2. Customizable Submission Environments: For internal participants, there might be a focus on organizational objectives and terminology. In contrast, external environments might need to be more generalized, and ‘by invite only’ might require specialized instructions or guidance.
  3. Clear Guidelines and Instructions: Each access level might need different submission guidelines. For example, external participants might need more context about the organization’s innovation goals than internal members.
  4. Privacy and Confidentiality Settings: Especially crucial for internal and ‘by invite only’ settings, where sensitive data or proprietary ideas are being discussed.
  5. Collaboration and Networking Tools: ‘By invite only’ environments might benefit from collaboration tools, allowing invited experts to collaborate on specific ideas.
  6. Feedback Mechanisms: Internal members might receive feedback directly through organizational channels, while external or invited contributors might benefit from an integrated feedback system within the portal.
  7. Accessibility Options: For external participants, ensuring that the portal is easily accessible, with user-friendly interfaces and potentially multi-language support, can be beneficial.

Benefits of an Access-Tiered Submission Portal

  1. Targeted Engagement: By customizing the environment based on access levels, organizations can engage the right audience with the right messaging.
  2. Controlled Idea Flow: Especially in environments where proprietary or sensitive ideas are at play, having controlled access ensures security.
  3. Diverse Input: By occasionally opening up the portal externally or by invite, organizations can gather diverse perspectives, bringing fresh insights into the innovation process.

The success of an innovation process often hinges on the effective gathering of ideas from the right audience. A submission portal that adapts to various innovation access levels, ensuring the right balance between inclusivity and security, can play a pivotal role in this endeavor. For organizations or innovation managers looking to leverage the full spectrum of ideas, tailoring the submission portal based on visibility and participation criteria becomes not just beneficial but essential.

Overall Benefits of Idea Tournament Software

  1. Efficient Idea Screening: Streamline the process of sifting through myriad ideas to identify the most promising ones.
  2. Engagement and Participation: Foster a culture of innovation by actively involving employees, stakeholders, or even the public in the ideation process.
  3. Objective Evaluation: Reduce biases and ensure ideas are judged based on merit and alignment with predefined criteria.
  4. Accelerate Decision-making: Fast-track the process of idea validation and implementation by narrowing down top contenders quickly.
  5. Continuous Improvement: The feedback loops allow for refining ideas and enhancing the overall innovation process.

Things to Keep in Mind Before Getting Started

  1. Clear Objective: Be clear about the purpose of the tournament – is it to solve a specific problem, gather innovative product ideas, or something else?
  2. Defined Criteria: Establish clear, objective, and transparent evaluation criteria.
  3. Engage the Right Audience: Ensure that the right participants – those with relevant knowledge or interest – are engaged.
  4. Feedback is Key: Always provide feedback to participants, even if their ideas don’t progress. This promotes learning and future participation.
  5. Iterate: Like all processes, idea tournaments may need fine-tuning. Be prepared to iterate based on feedback and outcomes.


For the innovation manager or innovator reading this, the world of idea tournament software is undoubtedly enticing. It promises a structured, engaging, and efficient path to harnessing the best ideas. However, as with all tools, its effectiveness lies in its application. Approach it with a clear objective, ensure participation from the right audience, and remain committed to continuous improvement.

As you embark on this journey, may the best ideas always rise to the top!

Request a demo of our Idea Tournament Software Package.