The Betterific Blog

Connecting consumers with brands to crowdsource and innovate on product ideas.


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Owner vs Employee Mentality

Every business tries to teach its employees how to think like an owner.  So they create processes, systems, guides, trainings and incentives around it.  But there are just some things you can’t teach.

We are looking at use a survey platform for an upcoming project, and one of the requirements is somewhat abnormal.  We need to base the last question of the survey on the user’s generated answer to the previous question.

I reached out to two survey/form providers to see how we should approach this conundrum.

In one, I received a really welcoming, engaging, and helpful response, from a customer service representative.  You could tell the the representative wished they could help.  That he believes in his brand and that he believes that one day they will build a feature to solve my design challenge.  But at the end of the day the answer was, “No.”

The second email I received, from a different provider, explained to me that, although the tool wasn’t built to do that,  but if you ask the question in a different way, we could arrive at the outcome we were looking for.  Ultimately, she found a creative way to say yes.

That’s what owners do. They think outside the box, stretch boundaries and create new realities.

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Credit Card Innovation – What themes emerged, what were our member’s great ideas?!

We just wrapped up a fascinating private innovation challenge around ways credit card companies can WOW their cardholders.

(We updated this blog post to include our winners!)

Over 190 unique ideas were submitted.  Which was way over our estimates!  Thanks for participating.  Since we just returned from the credit card company, we thought we’d report back some of the findings.

The most interesting theme that popped up was around subscription services – and how credit card companies can help surface them, manage them and make it easier to end them.

Another interesting area of interest was around how to make it easier for small businesses to easily track and manage expenses.  And with AI on its way, people were looking for ways the credit card company could bring AI into product recommendations, savings and notifications.

So what’s the next step for the brand?  Concept development.  Which requires some massaging from the first phase of idea generation.  Taking a step back – surfacing themes, pairing ideas together, combining ideas and coming up with new ideas.  Understanding the need states of card holders and matching them up with the ideas (and brainstorming new ones when necessary).  And looking at ideas that can have the largest impact.

The overriding question they’ll be asking is – Will a cardholder switch over for this benefit?  Or, how can we combine a few ideas to make this a “must-have” benefit.

The next phase will be concept validation.  Then testing and roll out.

Thanks for participating!  We hope this was helpful and shed some lights on “the day after the challenge.”

Congratulations to our innovation challenge winners!  The grand prize winner is Dennis Pitcock!  Runner Ups were: Eric Cronert, Karen Hold, Luc Michaud, Luke Bornheimer and Thomas Williams.


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Credit Card Innovation Challenge

We just launched a new crowdsourcing innovation challenge with a financial institution to help dream up brilliant new ideas for a credit card company to wow its cardholders.

What’s your idea? http://credit.betterific.com

Already close to 150 ideas.  Lots of creativity brewing.  Sometimes you just need to engage your stakeholders! Kudos to this brand for going out to the crowd, to our memberbase of design thinkers, idea enthusiasts and brainstormers.


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New Innovation products we’re working on

Betterific Nation,

Just wanted to give you a bit of a sneak peak on a new innovation product we’re working on.

The Betterific platform helps brands co-create new concepts with our memberbase of design thinkers and ideation enthusiasts.  Our first product was our ideation and brainstorming product, which connects our members with each other over new and innovative ideas.  We then added a layer on top – the innovation challenge, where brands can sponsor ideation sessions.  Our second product was concept refinement.  We added an illustrator to the team and are helping bring the ideas to life.  These concepts are sketched up and then brought to the Betterific community for refinement.  Along the way, we’ve added design thinking services, to help brands better navigate the process and guide them through the user-centered approach to launching new products and services.

Brands have continued to ask us a simple question – once the ideas are generated, where/how can I collaborate with my team over the evaluation and execution of these ideas?  We’ve spent the last three months thinking through, prototyping, co-creating with our customers, and building a place for this collaboration to happen.  We call it Workflow.  See below for some screenshots.  We’d love your feedback.  Our goal is to roll this out by the end of May.  Thanks!

 

In this dynamic screenshot, we show the main list view.  Purpose =Make sense of all the ideas, by adding themes, and move them through  the innovation process by assigning statuses.  Routing of ideas

The purpose of this stage is to quickly evaluate ideas – each company can change the criteria to whatever they like, but the concept is the same.  Collaboratively evaluate the feasibility (cost, difficulty…) and impact of an idea, and flag your favorites, so you can determine as a team which ideas should move through.

Quick Evaluations

For a more in depth view of an idea, you click into the idea page itself.  Each expert invited to evaluate the idea can rate the idea, add their own notes and collaborate in the private comments section.  Any individual can then click through the evaluations to see both aggregate and criteria-level evaluations.

Idea Page


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Guest Blog Post: How to plan for creativity; The power of divergent and convergent ideation

We are excited to bring you Joyce Wycoff, an author and expert on gratitude and creativity.  She is a thinker and a doer.  She started an innovation conference in the mid 90s, before innovation was a buzzword.

The Betterific memberbase is comprised of design thinkers, product developers, and smart creatives.  So we like to bring content that helps expand the mind around creativity and brainstorming.  Below is Joyce’s version of breaking down the science of creativity.  It is reposted with her permission.

At Betterific, we faciliatate both convergent (thru our crowdsourced innovation challenges) and divergent thinking (thru our concept refinement and crowdselect challenges). Read below to get smart; reach out to us if you’re interested in learning more about tapping into Betterific’s crowd of design thinkers to rethink your products and services.

Creativity can seem like magic — and it is — but it can also be clarified by understanding the underlying phases and principles plus one very important rule. Read on to learn more!

Creativity can seem like magic — and it is — but it can also be clarified by understanding the underlying phases and principles plus one very important rule.
There are two phases of creativity:

  1. Divergence: Stimulating new thinking by diversifying and exploring; and
  2. Convergence: Refining and choosing the best possibilities.

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Each phase has a series of five operating principles which happen to fit neatly into the acronym Swami Soars! (If you hate acronyms, feel free to ignore it.)

There is one over-riding rule of creativity:

Separate the two phases. Trying to diverge and converge at the same time makes people crazy and sucks the juice out of the creative process, leaving you with pale, lifeless ideas.

Divergence principles – SWAMI

While there are hundreds of divergence techniques, they basically relate to five simple principles. Once you understand these principles, you can easily add to your Divergence toolkit without feeling overwhelmed.

The job of all divergence tools is to stimulate new thinking. Here are the five basic action principles (stated as verbs) inherent in all these tools:

Suppose: Putting yourself in imaginary situations switches on new ways of thinking. Suppose you were from Mars, what would this problem look like? Suppose you were six years old or three feet tall, what would the future look like to you? Suppose you could smash all the assumptions around this issue?

Wander: Wandering through new territory with an open mind vacuums up new connections and linkages. For instance, you can wander through hardware or antique stores, new magazines or conferences, random images or analogies from nature.

Associate: Deliberately create new linkages between objects, ideas, events, people, or processes. As you link things together that normally are not connected, you begin to see new relationships and new possibilities.

Morph: Change various aspects of the situation, make the familiar strange and the strange familiar.

Inquire: Questions create openings. A great question can unravel a mystery like a kitten batting a ball of twine. Finding those great questions that open minds and the secrets of the universe is a learned skill based on some simple principles and practice.

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Convergence Principles – SOARS!

There are almost as many convergence techniques as there are divergence ones. However, again they relate to five basic principles. The job of convergence tools is to make sense of what is often an overwhelming number of possibilities, to narrow down the choices in order to make an intelligent decision. Here are the five action principles (again stated as a verb) all convergence tools relate to:

Sort: In order to make sense of what is often hundreds of possibilities, they need to be grouped into meaningful categories. Categories might be related to time, feasibility, market demand, availability of resources, type of possibility or any other category that would bring order out of the chaos.

Order: Possibilities within a viable categories can be ranked against pre-established criteria to create an order of preference.

Adapt: Once likely possibilities have been identified, they can be expanded and adapted to create even better ideas.

Refine: Likely possibilities need to be bullet proofed to find the weak spots and possible failure points.

Select: Ideas are only ideas until they are implemented and to be implemented, they need to be “owned.” Getting the right people to take ownership in the idea is a critical piece of the process.

 


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Non monetary incentives

We just received a wonderful email from one of our members.  She loves the Betterific community, finds tremendous value in the brainstorming and connection with other members and companies.

In the spirit of Betterific, She has some innovative suggestions!  And we’re implementing her ideas immediately (see below).  She’s encouraging us to think through rewards beyond our current roster of incentives.

With our crowdsourcing, design-thinking innovation challenges, here is the rewards that winners get:

-(1) Grand prize wins between $350-500. (4-5) Runners Up win between $25-50

-We inform the winners which of their ideas performed best and why.  We let them know how the clients reacted and why.

-The grand prize winner gets featured our blog, in an interview where they talk about where they find their creative genius.

The Betterific member suggested we endorse them on LinkedIn for Design thinking, ideation and brainstorming. Great idea!  We are implementing that idea immediately.  If you have other ideas for incentives, we’re listening.


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Betterific 2016 Year in Review

betterific-infographic-2016

Congrats on 2016. We all deserve a pat on the back.

Our mission is to connect design thinking enthusiasts (aka Betterific members) with brands to help make better products better.  And this year was a giant leap of progress.

To celebrate all that the Betterific community has accomplished this year… we created an infographic!  Products were named, created and will hit store shelves in 2017.  Marketing and packaging concepts were hatched. We engaged countless brainstormers and connected with brands willing to venture out into the crowd!

Happy 2016 and we look forward to brainstorming with you in 2017.

P.S. If you’re interested in running an innovation challenge – to generate product ideas, marketing concepts, or product names – or if you’re interested in refining and validating concepts in 2017, please reach reach out.