I wrote a research paper recently on the History of Idea Central, our software product that embodies all we know on small group and large group Idea Management initiatives. Over the coming months, I am going to use the blog to back-fill some of the details that got cut from the published paper, just for fun.
In the autumn of 1998, Imaginatik was primarily focusing on executive level reporting systems, using computers to capture soft, non-financial data to support hierarchical reporting to the CEO and the leadership team. We had been invited by IBM, our business partner and early client, to present our solution to leading Spanish firms, and so Jon Aristi and I jumped on a plane and headed to Madrid.
Jon is a brilliant, thoughtful, and creative guy. Many of the deep insights that drive 100+ Idea Management implementations today are grateful for his work. Not that we knew it at the time. In fact, when we got to Madrid, we found that the companies we were speaking to were intrigued by our reporting offering, but were not going to give us any money. A disappointing result.
Jon, a Basque, had lived in Madrid before, and he played tour guide that night so that we could drown our sorrows with the locals. Dinner was superb – and highly necessary as the movida we experienced till 5am required stamina (bar hopping, only with night clubs as well).
Fortunately we had no meetings the following day, and an early evening flight to wait for. We got up late, had breakfast, and then spent the next 3 hours wandering around Madrid, laying out the foundations for what was to become Idea Central.
Jon had been secretly working on a way for Imaginatik employees to develop ideas to help our company grow. He felt, rightly, that I had not been open to his suggestions, and the ideas from the Cass Business School MBAs I had just hired (I hired 6 en masse for some project work). We covered Madrid as we explored what needed to be done, the business drivers behind it, the personal and personnel issues that would have to be addressed. In short, we mapped out what our own Idea Central would look like.
Jon and I are both CREATORS (see the Orchid model for a description), and so we got on the plane, went back to the office, wrote some thinking documents, and then got distracted by other things. However the seed had been planted, and it would only be a couple of months before work started in earnest.
To be continued!