Most innovation management software (a.k.a. innovation software) is focused on generating and curating ideas. Ideas are explicit. They’ve been articulated, inside your head at the very least. Implicit knowledge, the context of an idea, is where many big opportunities reside.
Revealing Hidden Context Creates an Opportunity in Public Health
A global health research foundation is trying to eliminate dengue fever. One team is experimenting with a bacteria, Wolbachia, that sterilizes mosquitos. Another team is researching the effectiveness of administering oral contraceptives for dengue to mosquitos.
Those are two explicit solutions, two ideas. Implicit in those ideas is a hidden but essential fact. Those solutions use the same delivery system.
Once those teams discovered what their projects had in common, they could collaborate by sharing information and experiment with joint implementation.
Methodology is a Highly Transferable Form of Context
A climate scientist may be analyzing time-series data about global temperatures. The subject is temperatures. The methodology is time-series data analysis. Knowing that, the climate scientist can look to other fields that have advanced techniques for analyzing time-series data, e.g. finance or logistics, that might have complementary differences.
A geneticist was using a specialized data visualization to study brain disease. A religious studies professor was able to visualize ancient islamic text in similar visualization. DNA is letters, just like words. When the two researchers got together, they were able to exchange insight that led to further funding for the religious studies professor.
Mining Context is What Software Can do Well
Us humans can only maintain our focus on so many things at once. With data visualization, metadata, social network analysis, and the science of team science, innovation management software can reveal implicit knowledge that leads us to adjacent solutions.
The best innovation management software captures the context of an idea, i.e. the metadata. By making context visible, smart people can intermingle ideas and find ways to amplify the efficacy of their resources. They capture not just the ideas on their minds but the solution space in between.