Customers often ask about how large of an audience should they invite to a particular innovation challenge or topic. While there’s no right answer, there is an important consideration to think through when selecting an audience—how size impacts the potential for serendipity as well as the potential for noise for your participants:
As an example, picture your Kindling Campaign where you’re trying to solve a problem that’s been plaguing your business. As you increase the audience size, you increase the likelihood that people’s different perspectives will combine to help inform a potential solution (see this described by Rick Michelman in our Michelman customer video). This is represented by the serendipity axis, where a larger audience increases the opportunities for interactions and creative outcomes.
At Kindling we use the Kindling application to discuss and evaluate potential product features, to address engineering issues, to develop strategic goals,—we’ve even opened up a Category to our customers so that they can contribute their ideas to the development of the Kindling application. Nice. And we use Kindling to cultivate our brand and develop marketing ideas, including social media content.
Every organization can use Kindling to develop a workflow of ideas for social media which the entire company can participate in. This is how we did it.
Beginning earlier this year one of our key efforts in marketing has been to systematically generate meaningful content that could be useful to people concerned with innovation and tasked with running an innovation program, for which our software is elegantly useful. In this interest I wanted to simplify and make our Twitter content more coherent while providing clear channels for our people to contribute to. I identified 3 hashtags (for these channels) for us to use:
#kindlingapp, about the company and product, including writings about Kindling in relation to innovation best practices;
#kindlingtips, for tips on how to use Kindling, especially in relation to an innovation program, culled from Kindling Academy and our Best Practices guides;
Our mission is to make software that people enjoy using. Historically, we’ve focused much of our energies on the participant of Kindling, making it fun and easy—no training required easy—to submit, discuss, and vote on ideas. This emphasis has been very much by design, as the more powerful and complex features useful for evaluating large quantities of ideas are only useful if you first have a large quantity of ideas. And you’ll only ever have a large quantity of ideas to deal with if your community is actively engaged.
(Our approach stands in contrast to our competitors, who have chosen to build advanced features with the associated complexity for evaluating large quantities of ideas, and now are trying to backfill simplicity and usability into their applications. This is a difficult, if not impossible, knot to untie.)
Companies often come to us looking to solve a particular challenge in their organization or for help with their innovation program as a whole. We enjoy working with them, and they find that Kindling provides a structured approach toward innovation and problem solving, while integrating throughout their organization, increasing communication, and reducing organizational barriers. We’d like to offer some ways in which Kindling can help with innovation in your organization.
1. Find out what your company can be doing better
Ask your employees where they see room to improve. What are the biggest inefficiencies in your company? Where is there room to cut costs? Everyone in your organization has ideas—listen to them.
2. Organize conversations around ideas
Eliminate the email CC problem. Not on an email chain? Getting too many emails? Include all participants from the beginning and reduce the risk of missing someone who might have shared a game changing idea.
It’s an incredible time to be building an enterprise software company. So many of the old problems and frustrations with this market are changing fast: purchasing gatekeepers are losing their power, buyers are valuing elegant interfaces, design is coming into play in the sales cycle (which is shrinking), people are expecting applications that require no training, previously complicated requirements such as authentication are being commoditized—the entire landscape is changing.
We’ve been predicting this massive disruption in the enterprise market and have been building a company in anticipation of a new order of enterprise software. We think we’re not alone. Slack had a great launch last month, and we’ll start seeing many more endeavors like this: a thoughtfully designed app attacking a specific portion of the enterprise market with consumer software sensibilities and an eye for design. It’s about time.
The topic of regulatory compliance may not exactly be exciting, but when one of our financial services customers came to us with the requirement of secure messaging of all user communication to a message vault, it became clear that the need to store electronic communications for business related purposes doesn’t just stop at email anymore. Many organizations have already started injecting other types of communications—ESNs like Salesforce Chatter or Yammer, for example—into their infrastructure and day-to-day business. Because of the regulations that govern certain industries, the obligation to store and archive these new types of message channels is just as important as more legacy types of communications, like email.
At Kindling, we love challenges and building tools and features to better serve the needs of our customers. When one of our financial services customers came to us with this requirement, I thought “Ah, I know how we can do that.” And we have an excellent platform to build from. Designing and implementing what we call our Vault Message Notification Service was pretty straightforward: we already had an extensive event architecture through which all messages flow, and we had a lot of experience with secure and redundant systems.
You’ve probably noticed the rapid growth and proliferation of video content on the Web over the last few years. Here are some interesting supporting stats:
- Video content comprised 59% of all global internet traffic in 2012.
- The share of video is projected to rise to 86% by 2016.
- Netflix, accounts for 33% of all night-time Internet traffic in the US (wow!).
- As with most things online, mobile/tablet consumption of video is growing fast, and now accounts for 10% of all plays.
- The younger the person, the more likely they are to consume content in video form.
This last point is extremely significant. Granted, this is a very small sample size, but I’ve observed that my kids (around age 10) and their friends are interacting with significantly more video content than my (40ish) friends are. When they want to learn a new dance move, see what roller coasters are at Hersey Park or check out a Minecraft mod, they naturally turn to a video instead of looking for a blog post to scan. When they have friends over, they make funny Vine and Instagram videos. Email and writing online are as archaic to them as writing letters was to my generation. Texting? They turn to FaceTime.
Video consumption is growing, fast, internationally, on all devices, and among all age groups. This trend is real and lasting.
How will you overcome the biggest challenges facing your business today? How will you identify your next product or pursue the the most lucrative opportunities? With Kindling, you can establish challenges and opportunities as Campaigns that guide your organization towards a desired outcome.
Campaigns are a great way to engage participants in innovating around a particular initiative. Like Kindling Categories, Campaigns are used for organizing ideas, however, they differ in that they are time-limited, with a specific start and end date. Campaigns provide structure for quick bursts of activity and fast follow-through on ideas. Because of the speed with which Campaigns happen, getting things right every step of the way is crucial. The following are some best practices for running a successful Campaign, one which generates enthusiasm among your users and gets you the rapid return on investment you’re looking for:
Get the timing right. Keep campaigns short to keep excitement high. Limiting Campaigns to a two-week time period gives users enough of a chance to innovate without the risk of creative energy petering out. Running Campaigns one-at-a-time enables participants to devote their time and creativity to that initiative alone.
One of our core beliefs at Kindling is that we need to provide our users with a way to navigate through the large amounts of content that an innovation program generates. People are busy — and we recognize the need to continually work to deliver relevant information to our users with the least amount of noise and intrusion.
We’re happy to announce that with tonight’s release, we’ve taken an important, foundational step towards this goal. Kindling now supports in-app notifications for key activities in the system. You’re likely familiar with in-app notifications, perhaps from Facebook or the other services you use. They are a means of raising your attention to key activities — in Kindling, the approval or completion of one of your ideas, that someone shared an idea with you, or that your expert feedback is required to help assess an idea — directly in the application.