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Idea Lab - FAQ

Enhancements Update: Idea Lab

Q. How do I access Idea Lab?

A. Follow these steps to create an account:

1.     Visit Idea Lab at http://idealab.iii.com

2.     On the “Sign In” page, scroll to the bottom where it says “New to Idea Lab?  Please register by clicking on this LINK” and click on the LINK to create your account.

3.     You must use your complete Innovative library or consortium email address as both your “Username” and your “Email”.

4.     Create a password that is at least six characters and contains at least one number and one letter – no special characters will be accepted.

5.     Once you have created an account, you should see open challenges on the “Activity” tab or “Challenge” tab.  Just click on the challenge to get started!

Q. What’s happening with the enhancements process?

A. IUG is collaborating with Innovative on a new process to manage user-driven development and enhancements using a shared space called Idea Lab.

Idea Lab is an innovation environment, designed for users to submit, discuss, and vote on ideas to improve solutions for libraries. Customers using any Innovative product portfolio – Sierra/Millennium, Polaris, Virtua, Vital, or Innovative Resource Sharing – are all welcome to participate.

The new process allows the IUG community to provide input regarding priorities for new areas of development as well as enhancements to existing Innovative products. It also enables Innovative to take more timely action on user-contributed ideas.

Q. Why are we making this change?

A. Our goal is to improve coordination between Innovative and the user community regarding innovation. The previous model limited submissions to incremental enhancements for existing products, and the ballot process was cumbersome and not inclusive. With voting limited to one vote per IUG (or PUG) member library, it was difficult to gather meaningful feedback from all users of the systems. The annual ballot process did not align with Innovative’s quarterly development cycle, nor did it include a mechanism for conversations between users and Innovative about the context for requests.

Idea Lab will foster communication and get your winning ideas into the development cycle faster.

Q. Who will participate in Idea Lab?

A. All Innovative users. Idea Lab will be open to all staff at Innovative libraries, not just system administrators. We welcome the perspectives of all users, from front-line staff to directors.

Idea Lab will allow all IUG members to have direct input into Innovative product development, and we encourage Innovative libraries of all types across the globe to take advantage of Innovative’s commitment to this new process.

IUG Functional Experts, who previously vetted items for annual ballots, will continue to play a role in reviewing and shaping suggestions in Idea Lab. If you are interested in participating as a Functional Expert, please email us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

Q. How does it work?

A. Idea Lab uses “challenges” to collect ideas. A challenge is a time-bound event that is focused on a specific opportunity that could be a topic, a functional area, a product, or a theme. Each challenge is designed to solicit actionable ideas from the participants, with a clear path to implement one or more winning ideas. All users can comment and vote on your own and your colleagues’ ideas, and moderators and subject matter experts may solicit more information about your idea to ensure folks understand the problem you are trying to solve. Idea Lab uses automated algorithms and an expert review process to promote the best ideas for prioritization by the group before winning ideas are selected.

Our first challenge will be “Leveraging Data.” We want to hear your thoughts on “How might we use data to improve library operations and services?” We expect to launch this challenge before the end of May, so you will be receiving mail with instructions on how you can participate in the “Leveraging Data” challenge on Idea Lab within the next week or so.

Q. What will happen with winning ideas?

A. When the challenge ends, Innovative will announce which winning ideas have been selected, and what users can expect regarding how those ideas will be implemented (e.g. development plans, target timeline, etc). The details will remain accessible for viewing in Idea Lab even after the challenge ends.

For this first challenge, “Leveraging Data,” winning ideas will be incorporated into the new analytics roadmap for development. The analytics initiative is funded for development, and Innovative is eager to address user priorities for using data to improve library operations and services. Winning ideas from this challenge will be included in the analytics roadmap that will be published in Q3; depending on the scope of each idea, it may be listed explicitly on the PPOR, or represented by a description of a broader capability that includes the winning feature.

Q. Can I use my Supportal or CSDirect login to access Idea Lab?

A. Not at this time. We hope to enable integration between Supportal and Idea Lab in the future, but we did not want to hold up the introduction of the platform in the meantime.  

Q. What if I have an idea that doesn’t fit this current challenge?

A. Hold that thought! We are still working on all the options and features for Idea Lab. The first challenge will help us shape the site going forward. We plan to pose additional challenges focused on other opportunities for libraries after the first challenge is complete. Additionally, we expect to create a space for you to submit ideas that may not fit an open time-bound challenge. Please stay tuned as we refine and expand the program later this year.

Q. What about enhancements I’ve submitted in the past?

A. We’re still considering how best to handle enhancements that were submitted in the past. As we learn more about the capabilities of Idea Lab and continue to engage with the entire IUG community regarding current priorities, we will update this FAQ with additional details.

Q. I have more questions.

A. Please email us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Joe Montibello, Dartmouth College, Enhancements Co-Coordinator
Beth Juhl, University of Arkansas, Enhancements Co-Coordinator
Kathie Brown, Farmington Community Library, IUG Enhancements, Special Projects