We have just released Nosco App, our brand-new idea management software. These are the ideas, thoughts and considerations we struggled with when designing Nosco App.
Our vision was to make the best idea management software in the world. But what is that?
We knew that we could not make something to everyone’s taste. If you try, you end up tasteless and not attractive to anyone. So we started with defining the boundaries of the space Nosco App should work within. We want to be world class in a narrow field rather than average in a large one. That’s why Nosco App is a software to collect and select ideas. Next we formulated what we believe are the most important elements in (idea management) software. This is what we came up
A schizophrenic app
Collecting and selecting ideas are two very different disciplines. Collecting ideas is about motivating people to share ideas, but also about making people collaborate to enrich ideas. Basically, you want people to log in and participate.
Selecting ideas is a different game. It’s about finding the right ideas as efficiently as possible. This usually involves evaluating and maturing ideas during several phases and choosing which ideas to advance through to the next phase.
We quickly realised that Nosco App had to be schizophrenic. The front-end had to optimised towards the average user, it had to focus on the conversation and incorporate all the best elements from social networks, whereas the administration would be optimised towards the super user. The administrators who spends hours working with Nosco App should be able to replicate work processes to make their life easier.
That’s why Nosco App has a super-intuitive front with with few but essential features, whereas the administration is packed with features to filter, sort, compare and evaluate ideas, as well as analytics and reporting functions.
Years of consulting customers on idea management has give us a deep insight into the different work processes around idea management and has been an invaluable ressource in designing the administration part.
Made with love and customers
We wanted Nosco App to solve real problems faced by real people, so we knew that we needed to develop Nosco App in close cooperation with practioners. We asked some of our best customers for help, and luckily they all raised their hands. We have had the privilege to pick their brains and test our prototypes and we have received invaluable feedback. Thank you all for that.
A social network portal!
When users generate content continously it becomes difficult to curate. That’s why you don’t have an editor on Facebook, Youtube or Digg. With dynamic and user-generated content the best is to let the user become their own editor-in-chief and let the application provide features to find and subscribe to content that the user finds interesting.
That’s why we believe the next generation idea management software is a hybrid between a decentralised social network like Twitter and a classic portal such as an intranet. The administrators need good ways to communicate and guide users but it’s the user who generates the content.
Simple Simple Simple
We are very strong believers in simple and intuitive software. Who isn’t? But there’s a huge trade-off: features. Our focus is to have people use our software, but the more features you fit in the more complex it becomes to use.
In June 2003, Steve Jobs gave a small private presentation about the iTunes Music Store to some independent record label people. People kept raising their hand saying, “Does it do X?”, “Do you plan to add Y?”. Finally, Jobs said, “Wait, wait – put your hands down. Listen: I know you have a thousand ideas for all the cool features iTunes could have. So do we. But we don’t want a thousand features. That would be ugly. Innovation is not about saying yes to everything. It’s about saying NO to all but the most crucial features.”
We agree with Steve Jobs and see our most important task as deciding which features to include and which to leave out. That’s why we spend a lot of time on understanding the reason, function and implications of each feature. We confer with clients and software developers with a similar approach to software to determine the importance of a feature and how to execute it best.
We have made Nosco App as simple and intuitive as possible without leaving out any essential features. We hope you agree.
It is also in the name of simplicity that we chose to make whole new idea management software instead of adding a whole lot of new features to Idea Exchange. You can read about our motivation for this here.