Vendors in the innovation management tools market offer technologies that help organizations manage the flow of ideas from initial concept generation to final realization or commercial exploitation. They support different ways to generate ideas, internally or externally, through trendspotting, crowdsourcing, brainstorming or hackathons; stage-gate automation for idea evaluation and selection; and ways to manage a portfolio of active ideas (including idea execution to bring ideas to realization via project or product management).
Strategy and innovation roadmapping tools allow EA and technology innovation leaders to visually depict the relationship between strategy, innovation and the state of execution over time. The graphical nature of the interface and its ability to dynamically illustrate complex interrelationships and interdependencies — given supporting analytical lenses — make the use of strategy and innovation roadmapping tools powerful. "Roadmapping" is a term that describes the activities of developing a roadmap. The combination of time across strategic layers (e.g., market, products and services, technology) distinguishes roadmapping from innovation management alone, which targets idea generation, and the various selection, planning and execution stages of those ideas. Strategy and innovation roadmapping tools not only support the creation of roadmaps, but also incorporate different levels of analysis for each. Strategy and innovation analysis techniques may look both outward and inward.