Getting started with social innovation

Getting started with social innovation

Here’s the second of a small series of blog posts by Jeanne Bradford, a innovative leader with a track record at AOL, Cisco and Apple. Jeanne is a brilliant new product marketer and manager. She shares her wisdom and advice for accelerating innovation in today’s business environment.  B. 

How to get started using social innovation

When companies first applied social media to their enterprises, there was a big rush to implement a social strategy. Unfortunately, many companies stumbled because they jumped before they really understood the framework they needed to be successful. They needed new tools, processes, roles & responsibilities, and decision-making models for successful implementation. Getting the most out of social communities also requires changes in how organizations share information and make decisions. It’s critical to understand these nuances to optimize the effectiveness of this methodology.

We developed the Social Innovation Readiness Scorecard to quickly solve this problem and allow the management team to provide their organization with their best chance at success and ensure that you get the most out of increasing the quality of ideas while accelerating the rich collaboration that leads to groundbreaking innovation.

The Social Innovation Readiness Scorecard  is a decision-making tool that provides executives and teams with an objective view of their organizations’ capability to successfully implement social solutions to drive product innovation. The scorecard helps you determine whether or not the team is best prepared to launch a social solution by providing critical questions in ten areas. These include the current use of social technologies outside of product development, level of management commitment, social community resource expertise, maturity of tools, and organizational structure to support the requirements for best-in-class application of social communities. The Social Innovation Readiness Scorecard allows you to identify the critical areas that many organizations overlook and the weak areas that you need to address prior to launching a social development initiative.

The scorecard itself is a spreadsheet that you supplement with a group process. Typically, you would get a subset of your executive staff or senior directors together for a real-time meeting session (could be virtual) that would last one to two hours. To complete the scorecard, the team executes the following steps:

  • Instruct your group on the definition of the various dimensions of readiness
  • Each person in the group individually fills out their scorecards, ranking the readiness of your organization without discussion.
  • The facilitator collects all the scores and computes the average and the standard deviation.
  • In cases where the standard deviation is high, the facilitator asks some of the low-ranking individuals why they rated a dimension low and similarly why high-ranking individuals ranked it high.
  • After comparing differences, your facilitator asks if anyone would like to change their ranking. This gives everyone an opportunity to vote based on a common understanding.

Jeanne Bradford is co-author of Innovate Products Faster: Graphical Tools for Accelerating Product Development and is a Principal of TCGen. She has delivered products for some of the industry’s best technology companies, including Apple, Cisco, and Texas Instruments. For more information about the book, the scorecard or the above mentioned study, please visit


  • Jason Wright
    Posted at 11:31h, 26 May Reply

    Seeing someone who is so experienced to share the intricacies of the business was really a pleasure to read. It clearly states the true reason behind the failures of social endeavours of many businesses.

  • Lisa
    Posted at 17:01h, 29 May Reply

    Great posts – 1 & 2. What I like most and what I think is invaluable about the Social Innovation Readiness Scorecard is that is provides the framework for a company to really figure out if they are truly ready to set out on furthering the process of social innovation. It is the base or backbone in which a company can grow or begin to grow their ideas in order to make sure they have all their ducks in the water. Covering every base and making sure your 100% ready to go to the next level in this process can definitely help make or break a company when getting into the social innovation side of social media. Again great post and I look forward to what you post next!

  • Jeanne Bradford
    Posted at 23:16h, 12 June Reply

    Thanks Lisa & Jason for your comments. I’m glad that you found the information useful. If you have questions regarding the tools, or would like to receive the tool (xls file), please let me know.

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