Here at Myplanet, we’ve always focused on solving big-picture problems for our customers. We pride ourselves on trying to do the right thing instead of the easy thing, and on finding the best solution to the problem at hand. But in the ever-accelerating world of technology, new tools for problem solving pop-up every day.
How, then, might we arm ourselves for the challenges to come? How can we prepare to answer questions that no-one is asking today, with solutions that don’t yet exist? Enter: the Myplanet Concepts Team.
Why? The Concept Behind Concepts
The Myplanet Concepts Team is an interdisciplinary crew — design, development, and product folks working in tandem — focused on applying cutting-edge technologies and tools to workplace challenges. We’re dedicated to exploring big-picture problem spaces and dreaming up innovative solutions, which will then work their way into Myplanet’s products and services.
But why a dedicated team? After all, our professional services and product development teams already produce some highly innovative work.
Since most of our production work is focused on delighting our existing customer base and mastering our current toolset, we have limited opportunities to branch out and explore challenges further afield. The goal of the concepts team will be to push the boundaries of what we, as a company, can do.
So, Is This A Labs Team?
In many respects, yes. But this labs team has some Myplanet secret sauce. As a technology company with an entrenched culture of design thinking, we’ve always put users first. We’re still going to do that.
Our team is going to build up two separate backlogs: the first is a list of strategic problem spaces that we’re going to explore. What will the workplace of tomorrow look like? How can we increase employee engagement in an increasingly distributed workforce? How might we create personalized experiences for customers?
The other list we’ll be maintaining is a backlog of emerging technologies that we feel have the potential to effect positive change. We’ll do some background research and experimentation to familiarize ourselves with these new tools, so that we can then use them for conceptual prototyping. Some current front-runners include machine learning platforms, personalization engines, and new forms of interfaces.
Because these two lists will dictate the work we do, we’ll spend a fair amount of our time researching and curating them. Once we have a good understanding of both the problems we want to solve and the new tools we want to try out for problem solving, we’ll go about connecting the dots, and building out conceptual prototypes that aim to solve workplace problems in novel and innovative ways.
Everybody Needs Validation
A lab is only as valuable as its experiments. So once we lovingly cobble together a concept, we toss on our lab coats and test, test, test.
Our goal is to validate at least one concept a month using two kinds of validation: technical validation and utility validation.
For our technical validation concepts, we’ll be aiming to see if a certain solution is feasible. This will involve attempting to apply a new technology to a problem space, and seeing if we can solve the problem at hand. This will help us answer the question “can we do this”?
Utility validation is the process of determining whether or not our proposed solution is useful. This is the user-focused workflow where we’ll attempt to measure the value of our newly proposed solution to a specific user group. The question at hand when we’re validating utility is the all important “should we do this?”
Every concept we build will be aimed at evaluating the feasibility and utility of a given solution. We’ll then roll those learnings into our future workplace products, as well as the services we offer to our clients.
Then we’ll share what we’ve learned. We’ll share our learnings with our co-workers, with our clients, and with our partners. Also, we’re going to share what we’ve learned with you! Why? Because we like you. But also, because we know that innovation does not — cannot, in fact — occur in a vacuum. Our goal is to collaborate with both the local and global communities to build better products and services.
Expect plenty of interesting blog posts about our successes — and our failures. We’ll have live demonstrations that will be publicly accessible where possible. For the technically inclined, we’ll do our best to share how we implemented our concepts in addition to what we’ve learned.
How Can I Help?
Are you a futurist with ideas that you want to see put into action? Or maybe you love testing out cool new things? We’ll be constantly on the lookout for people to collaborate with the team, for both the ideation and validation processes. Leave us a comment below or get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or reach out through your favourite social-media channel.