How Design Can Unleash Innovation for Distributed Workers


Tom Kelly of Moxie Software and Doug Solomon of IDEO at Net:Work 2010Updated: How do companies get their massive distributive work forces to innovate and collaborate when they’re thousands of miles apart? For social enterprise company Moxie Software and design firm IDEO, the answer was merging their ideas into a product called Spaces, which Moxie CEO Tom Kelly described at Net:Work on Thursday as delivering a brain dump that collectively ends up being our shared base of knowledge.

Spaces is an employee-profile-focused social network that uses tools like blogs, wikis, and messaging to merge employee ideas around groups, work flow and projects. As beret-wearing interviewer Stowe Boyd put it: the tool “is not a magic wand, it’s a lever” for innovation.

The target customer is a company that is asking for help in “making us small again,” said Kelly, and the profiles help collaborators be “engaged and fired up.”

Doug Solomon, CTO of IDEO, said that after IDEO used the tool itself, the company saw “profound differences,” in terms of the quality of collaboration and work flow with its employees. Spaces has also helped IDEO’s employees figure out more similarities in personal likes, and has led to the development of new business around social impact, for example, said Solomon. (Update: Spaces was the result of an internal project from IDEO called the Tube.)

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