Twice a year at Globoforce we have a GloboInnovation day. Everyone in the company is invited to contribute an idea. These are then shortlisted to ten and each innovator is tasked with forming a four-person team to realise their idea during one day. Two days later they have to present their ideas to the whole company. A team of judges then decide on the three winning teams.
For the first Innovation Day I came up with the idea of building a plugin for Google Chrome that would allow people to see their company's recognition activity without having to log in to our site. After discussing the idea with a few colleagues, it seemed that we'd be able to engineer some existing code which would enable us to build a working prototype within one day.
We spent a lot of time on subtle animations that were lost in the final Webex presentation.
I chose a range of skills for the team. Myself on UX, a developer, architect and front-end developer. The architect planned out what we all needed to do and on the day we all got straight into our tasks.
My goal for the day was to have something working with static content just to prove out the concept. The guys had this working by 10:00! By 11:00 they had it working with real data. Amazing. I couldn't believe how much we had achieved so quickly. The rest of the day was spent finalising the UI and working on the security.
By the end we had a fully working prototype that not only proved out the concept but was also fully usable. The day was really enjoyable. It was hectic but being able to see things taking shape before your eyes; being able to make quick decisions and see those decisions bear fruit within minutes was incredibly gratifying.
The two lessons I learned from the day were: 1. When selecting your team, make sure each person is available on the day. Unfortunately, a number of my team weren't, which meant our productivity wasn't all it could have been. 2. Prepare a presentation that's appropriate to the audience. We spent a lot of time on subtle animations that were lost in the final Webex presentation. We'd have been better off putting more energy into the security.
Unfortunately we didn't win. The judges loved the idea, but were concerned with some of the security issues it presented. To be honest we didn't really mind. Everyone involved on the team had a great time and it remains one of the highlights of my time at GF.