A Friendly Filter

Nosco, Design Sprint, Filters, and Dashboard · 2019

Nosco is a social platform for innovation and ideas. Here employees can share and collaborate on ideas, experts can identify the best ones, and companies become more innovative.

As a result of our product strategy, we’ve seen an increase in clients running very large, often global, innovation challenges on the Nosco platform. With these challenges, we often engage more than 50% of a global organization in sharing and collaborating on ideas.

Thousands of users are active, and thousands of ideas, comments and assessments are being shared. However, clients told us that they lacked a way to track engagement and reach out to people who are less engaged to ensure as high a participation rate as possible.

Innovation chalenge
Watch this video from one of Nosco’s clients to really understand what a global innovation challenge is. Super corporate video, but it get’s the message across.

Research & Close Relationships

We’re really lucky that our innovation consultants have a very close relationship with our clients and key users of the Nosco platpform. This ensures a very short feedback cycle and easy access to valuable user insights. Initial research and talks with various project and innovation managers, learned us that they always need to follow up on different groups of participants and contributors during an innovation challenge.

Innovation Manager
Dorte is an innovation manager at VELUX, and manages all innovation initiatives on their Nosco platform. Dorte needs to engage their 10,000+ employees through the platform, so communication and overview are key factors for success.

For example: Dorte is an innovation manager at VELUX. She needs to reach out to the top 25 idea authors to inform them about next steps, inform the remaining idea authors that their ideas will unfortunately not be progressed any further, thank everyone that has contributed in the idea sharing for their effort, and follow up on experts that have not completed evaluation of ideas assigned to them.

This will help her to keep participants and stakeholders engaged and to reach the success criteria of the challenge, including participation, number and quality of ideas, etc.

We quickly realized that we had a huge opportunity to make life easier for the innovation managers users, improve our product and last but not least — reduce client churn.

Design Sprint

To approach this challenge, I planned our first real design sprint and got my good colleague and senior innovation consultant Kristian Bluff to facilitate it. Because of their user and business knowledge, I felt it was important to get the perspectives of our consultants in the process. Besides the consultants, we had a handful of developers and designers participating in the sprint. To help us test and validate our prototype at the end of the design sprint, we lined up innovation managers from our clients Ørsted, Wirecard and Linde (those from the video).

Day 01

  • Introduction, scope, goal and problem statement
  • Personas, insights,empathise and profiling
  • Jobs to be done
  • User journey mapping

Day 02

  • Recap
  • Confirm Point of View
  • Visit existing solutions and inspiration
  • Ideation

Day 03

  • Recap
  • Ideation review
  • Concept ideation

Day 04

  • Recap
  • Concept evaluation
  • Concepts for testing

Day 05

  • Testing
  • Beers

During first days of the design sprint, we identified two areas that we wanted to address:

1) Overview

How might we provide a better overview of a challenge’s performance in terms of KPIs and engagement? — What’s sexier and provides a better overview than a dashboard with KPIs and a cool chart? Right, so that’s what we decided to test and build.

For this we used real client data, made the chart in Excel (after all, half of the business are consultants) and added it to our prototype in Overflow. Quick and dirty, but it worked. For the KPIs, we learned that relative metrics such as 25% percent of visitors have submitted an idea are just as relevant than just the absolute number i.e. 200 ideas, so these numbers ended up getting a little more visual attention that what I normally would give them.

User testing were done remote by screensharing using join.me and Overflow.io for the prototype. Wireframes and mockups were done in Sketch.

2) User insights & Communication

The second area that we wanted to explore was about how we could create an easier and smarter way of finding the right people in a challenge. During the process of the design sprint and while testing the prototype, we learned that innovation managers have to communicate to groups of very specific people in order to keep the engagement going and achieve good results.

They will often need to filter a list of users in some quite complicated ways by using both “and” and “or” logic. For example: users that are from Denmark or Norway or Sweden and that have not logged in.

We tried various ways of designing this, but we ended up with an almost “descriptive” UI where the elements are based on the normal structure of a sentence. This way users can “read” the UI and quickly get an understanding of what results to expect from the filter. I like to think of it as a “human friendly filter” as it kinda speaks to you in a way that is easy to understand.

To make it easier to reach out to the right people, we identified six primary actions that the innovation managers often do. On the dashboard we therefore show six buttons, each taking you to a pre-filtered list of user based on a certain action or “non-action”.

Once the filter is applied and the right users are found, innovation managers can then take certain actions like assigning labels or easily sending the users a message on what to do next from the platform.

Rolling it out

3 months after the design sprint in February 2019, we were rolling the first versions of the new dashboard and filter out to clients. We do it in an agile fashion, so we can adjust to feedback and keep the scope. The immediate feedback has been great, but we have yet to see the real impact of the feature.

User list and filter
Once the filter is applied and the right users are found, innovation managers can then take certain actions like assigning labels or easily sending the users a message on what to do next from the platform.

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