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Innovation Management Software: Walking the Talk

Do Apple and Microsoft really help you to innovate?


Innovation has become a marketing buzzword for all kinds of organizations, especially technology leaders such as Apple and Microsoft. However, Ventana Research wonders whether these vendors really walk the talk when it comes to delivering innovation management software that can really make a difference in terms of innovation performance management (IPM).


Apple and Microsoft regularly figure in the top ten in polls highlighting innovative organizations. Apple is anecdotally associated with a “creative” user base and is widely regarded as delivering “cool” hardware. Microsoft promises us that our potential is their passion. Surprisingly, neither delivers anything much in the way of innovation management software.

Apart from a handful of electronic notepads, visual thinking and Mindmapping tools, the Mac platform will do little to help any business with innovation management. And while it’s true that almost all innovation management applications that help improve innovation performance do run on the Microsoft platform, Microsoft itself offers only one of its own (maybe) – OneNote.

It’s really a shame that the Mac platform can’t support the process of innovation management, given the creative profile of the people who use Macs (myself included). Still, it’s notable that the winners of the 2004 Mac OS X Innovators contest included ZenGobi’s Curio, a kind of idea-shaping tool. It’s also a wonder why Microsoft’s Office team have not provided some kind of innovation accelerator as part of its recently renamed Solution Showcase of the Microsoft Office system. After all, a great deal of innovation-related content is stored in Excel, Word, PowerPoint and Visio and could be made more visible via the Sharepoint portal.


Ventana Research believes it would be helpful if technology leaders like Apple and Microsoft that talk-the-talk about innovation also walked-the-walk by providing their customers with innovation management applications that better leverage their application platforms. Apple would do well to reconsider how its “lagging” status as an innovation management platform might damage it’s perception as an innovator long term. Microsoft could do a lot more to help its customers realize their potential by providing more innovation management applications to do it with.

Stewart McKie is European Analyst Director at Ventana Research.

Ventana Research is the preeminent research and advisory services firm helping our clients maximize stakeholder value with Performance Management throughout their organizations. Putting research in a business and IT context we provide insight and education on the best practices, methodologies and technologies that enable our clients to leverage assets to understand, optimize, and align strategies and processes to meet their goals and objectives.

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