A space for ideas
“Let’s make a killer app!”, said George on our way back to the office after dinner, eager to flesh out the functions of an Idea Management System we were creating. George was my mentor and business partner at BeeBuilt.
Whenever we ideated on projects at BeeBuilt, we felt the lack of a good Idea Management System. We used post-it notes but needed a software that could record our ideas and let us know what worked based on actual user feedback.
The app we were creating was for this purpose — enabling companies to ideate with a tool that not only let them store ideas easily, but also had a unique voting mechanism to provide feedback and help good ideas get noticed by decision makers in the organisation.
There were a few such softwares in the market but they were poorly designed and ideas would get lost in the clutter without stakeholders ever seeing them. Factors such as office politics, zero collaboration between departments and a lack of proactiveness would often lead to the death of potentially good ideas.
The right answer
Figuring out the best way for users to record their ideas was a tricky task. We started out with a form that required users to share their idea, describe it, add tags and maybe an image/video before they could click submit. When we tested it out, we saw that it took at least a couple of minutes to get through. This was too long — ideas come and go so fast!
In trying to simplify the process we realised the key component was the idea itself. Following the concept of an elevator pitch, we introduced a character limit and created a prominent form field that asked users, “What’s your idea?”. We then added an autosave function.
Once it went into the idea pool, users could add more details if they wanted to. People could also collaborate on ideas by sharing resources and information. We had created a system not just to jot down ideas, but to take them to the next level.
Making it work
We wanted to create an ecosystem where employees could ideate without a fear of judgement and help each other realise these ideas. Adding collaboration and gamifying the idea management process introduced a new level of engagement between users.
We decided to keep the user interface fluid so that it would let users on mobile devices access the application with ease. We used a RAD approach — swiftly creating prototypes, then iterating after testing. Since this was a fluid layout, we made sure to keep various device resolutions in mind while designing.
After a few months of RAD, we finally had a product that worked! We pitched Innopool to PepsiCo and they were more than happy to try it out for a contest they were hosting where it proved to be a success. We went on to organise workshops centred around Innopool, showing companies how they could enable ideation within their offices using our software.
My failure to map out the entire user journey right at the start was an issue I did not anticipate. It created confusion and caused us to lose track at times. The key is to learn from ones mistakes. I now ensure every single interaction is mapped out before proceeding further and I’ve realised how crucial this is to good usability.
You can check out Innopool here.