By Luke Hohmann
We're just a few days away from releasing Idea Engine 2.0, the most significant release ever for our platform that supports visual collaboration frameworks like Speed Boat, Prune the Product Tree, and many other agile and Gamestorming games. Our development team has rewritten the entire user interface, and over the next few weeks we're going to have a lot of fun introducing its many improvements.
The experience of creating Idea Engine 2.0 has me reflecting on a mountain of important management thinking, ranging from Lean Startup and Minimum Viable Products to Value Proposition Design and Crossing the Chasm. And because I'm a dad with two teenage boys and two soon-to-be teenage girls, I'm also reflecting on that awkward-to-awesome stage known as adolescence.
The Early Years
When we first introduced Idea Engine in 2009, it was with one framework, Prune the Product Tree and a very limited set of functionality. So limited that I often referred to Idea Engine 1.0 as the best example ever of a Minimum Viable Product. However, we continued to enhance the product, and with care it grew from infancy to childhood, helping more than 50,000 teams solve problems in new ways.
And while Idea Engine 1.0’s growth was really awesome, Alexander Osterwalder's brilliant work, Value Proposition Design*, shows us that even when you have a growing product and a product-market fit, changing needs, competitive forces and maturing customers can create new demands. What was once "great" becomes "not good enough". And if you're not more than good enough, you're just not going to cross the chasm.
The Awkward Phase
In the case of Idea Engine 2.0, it was as if my kids’ dentist noticed that their teeth weren't growing in quite as straight as needed and that corrective action was needed. In a word, Idea Engine needed braces to get back on track.
Idea Engine’s braces weren't entirely visible. But they were needed, because under the covers, Idea Engine needed a complete overhaul to take advantage of modern Web standards and touch-first devices like iPads. So, bending a few metaphors, and hopefully a few smiles, our Development team went to work, adding braces to Idea Engine 1.0, overhauling and aligning, rewriting, testing and rewriting again.
Next week, we get to take our braces off, and share with you all of the ways in which Idea Engine 2.0 is making us smile. We suspect that once you experience Idea Engine 2.0, you'll be smiling too!
You can begin to experience the new Idea Engine next week with our soft launch. We’ll cast off the retainers (Couldn’t resist!) and officially launch Idea Engine 2.0 at the Collaboration Confab on February 19. In the meantime, we will be capturing all of the ways Idea Engine 2.0 makes you and us smile and share them at the launch event.
* The Value Proposition Design book (Wiley) includes and recommends using Innovation Games as part of its recommended process.
**Photo credits: Monica Y. Garza, Unsplash.com, Helen Bae