Scott Raskin, the CEO of Mindjet, is bullish about the future of his company, especially after its recently-announced merger with Spigit, a leading developer of enterprise innovation management software. In this exclusive e-mail interview, he outlines the thinking behind the merger, how the combined company will support agile, repeatable innovation and its commitment to MindManager.
Mindjet + Spigit: An opportunity to “do something bigger”
Chuck Frey: How did the idea for this merger come about? Who approached whom? What synergies were apparent as you talked?
Scott Raskin: At the recommendation of a colleague I met with Paul Pluschkell to discuss the possibilities of partnering. Within the first 10 minutes of our meeting, we both recognized the massive opportunity of doing something bigger. Combining the companies would be a huge win for all of us, our employees, shareholders and most importantly our customers.
The impact of the Mindjet-Spigit merger on customers
Frey: How does being joined with Spigit change Mindjet’s ability to have an impact on the success and growth of your customers?
Raskin: It’s a net positive that enables all our customers to better innovate. With the combined offering our customers can effectively manage innovation from idea creation to opportunity selection to project completion – like never before.
Companies need to have that level of visibility and accountability in their innovation programs in order to claim true success – and Mindjet and Spigit are now able to offer that.
Frey: What has been the initial reaction to the merger from Mindjet’s enterprise customers?
Raskin: It’s been great. Our customers know that there’s an innovation deficit and that they aren’t innovating fast enough. Mindjet can be a big driver for their business by helping them turn their best ideas into completed projects.
Frey: What about Mindjet’s small to medium-sized customers, who may not necessarily benefit from an enterprise solution like Spigit. How does the merger benefit them?
Raskin: We’ve always been about helping companies generate better ideas, create actionable plans while increasing productivity at all levels. The newest version of MindManager with enhanced planning and usability features is an example of our continued commitment to ensure that Mindjet products benefits businesses of all sizes. We will also continue to invest in Mindjet’s ProjectDirector which works incredibly well in medium-sized businesses as standalone or a compliment to MindManager.
Frey: Obviously, Mindjet also has many individual users of your mind mapping program as customers. One of their concerns with the merger is likely to be the future of MindManager. What do you have to say to your loyal individual users of it? What do they have to look forward to?
Raskin: One of the things that we’ve had reinforced is how important MindManager software is to our customers. MindManager is and will remain important to our ongoing business plans. Last week’s update to MindManager was a big leap forward with added quantitative and usability features. We’re committed to delivering the world’s number one mind mapping software with even more quality and features in future releases.
Frey: How does this merger bring greater value to Spigit’s existing customers? What have they been saying about the merger, and how it makes their world a better place?
Raskin: Spigit’s Enterprise Innovation Platform is used by the world’s leading brands to invent new products and services, reduce costs and increase employee and customer engagement. It enables them to see their innovation efforts all the way through to completion. With more plans in action they will see greater success and that makes their world a better place.
What Mindjet brings to the table is the ability to make innovation efforts more repeatable. A huge problem in business, improved innovation is already top-of-mind for most executives, and bridging the gap between ideas and outcomes is a core strength of Mindjet. Spigit adds value on top of this so that companies can cast a wider net in their ideation efforts and then use big data and gaming to surface the best ideas.
MindManager helps clients at the very front end of the innovation process to organize their thoughts to create stronger ideas. Spigit then activates the broader crowd to build those ideas into a stronger concept. MindManager can be used in developing concepts into fuller solutions – and the new quantitative features allow us to build full featured concepts with business cases, financial projections and more all attached. Finally ProjectDirector drives it all home with its unique social task management capabilities that help customers take the idea through to execution.
Wrap all of that up with the world-class Innovation Services capability that Spigit brings with it, and you’ve got software and services that help companies be more successful.
Supporting agile innovation
Frey: How do you see innovation fitting in with your long-term vision for Mindjet?
Raskin: Ideas and innovation have always been a core part of our vision through our brainstorming and visual whiteboarding capabilities. The goal of project-based collaboration which we introduced two years ago is to enable teams to be more productive and get more work done. The combination of Mindjet and Spigit broadens the value Mindjet can deliver to customers by creating the first software platform that drives repeatable business innovation for real business results.
Frey: I know you’re a big believer in agile approaches to business. How will a combined Mindjet-Spigit solution help your customers to increase their agility?
Raskin: It’s all about accelerating the best ideas through to completion, which is completely consistent with Agile principles.
An end-to-end innovation solution
Frey: Your whitepaper talks about enterprises being faced with a “fractured software landscape where social integration happens in one system; idea generation and selection happen in another and project execution in a third.” How will the integration of Mindjet’s and Spigit’s platforms specifically change this?
Raskin: At a high level, the expanded company will support the full Vision to Action Lifecycle™, allowing businesses to effectively manage innovation from idea creation to opportunity selection to project completion.
While integration efforts are still being developed, Spigit’s Innovation Management and Mindjet’s project-based collaboration software will provide customers with the combined ability to collect, prioritize and select the best ideas for development. By collecting ideas across the enterprise and beyond, and then seamlessly developing projects based on those ideas, companies complete more and achieve greater success. This completes the Vision to Action Lifecycle™, a process designed to successfully generate the best ideas and those turns those ideas into completed projects.
- Spigit helps organizations unleash the creativity of employees, customers and partners to generate and refine innovative ideas through its crowdsourcing and game mechanics technologies.
- Spigit’s big data analytics surface the best ideas for impactful business outcomes.
- Once ideas and their business impact are identified then Mindjet solutions can provide a visual plan for successful execution.
- Mindjet’s powerful virtual whiteboards help teams aggregate ideas, analyze information, and organize project details in context, within a single view. Real time co-editing of project plans ensures critical alignment and commitment on resources, schedules and budgets.
- Mindjet’s purpose-driven content and project management suite keeps everyone up-to-date and in sync for successful project completion.
- Spigit’s Innovation Services capabilities can help you build a world class innovation program that leverages all of the above to create a truly repeatable and sustainable innovation process.
Frey: How does this change who you will be selling to? It appears that it will give you greater access to the C-suite, where the ability to use mind mapping for strategic planning and visioning can really make a difference. Is that the case?
Raskin: Mindjet’s success has been through internal champions, which have been at all levels inside the organization. The addition of Spigit provides additional strength and recognition with the C-Suite who know that to grow revenues they will need to innovate more successfully. Spigit adds to our “bottom up” efforts by providing additional enterprise expertise.
The impact of the merger on development of MindManager
Frey: What impact will this merger have on your product development efforts for MindManager and your ProjectDirector collaboration platform, beyond the obvious steps of integrating your platforms with those of Spigit?
Raskin: It’s good news for our customers. We have an expanded product team which means more and faster product development.
Frey: Is there anything else you think that readers of the Mind Mapping Software Blog ought to know about the Mindjet-Spigit merger?
Raskin: The merger is additive to the products and services that are presently available. It is all about adding customer value, which provides returns for everyone: our customers, our employees, and our shareholders.