Innovation is unpredictable. It can happen anywhere, and everyone could be an innovator.
In a large corporation, there are quite a number of employees around the world. It is very important as a company to motivate the employees to be innovative and brave enough to try their ideas which maybe even not their daily work-related. Benefiting from the synergy, employees are encouraged to try something new and the company may be able to keep vital.
In order to achieve this goal, a tool was built a few years ago. But at that time, the product was designed mainly as an information collecting tool which means users cannot really utilize this tool to share and develop their ideas, and the experience is very user-unfriendly.
This project focused mainly on re-defining the internal innovation process and designing a really useful tool for internal users to share and develop ideas. It’s also important for users to clearly see or feel the feeling that their ideas are taken care of after the submission. Build a tool and a mechanism that can benefit all employees, encourage them to try disruptive ideas, and motivate managers to support their people.
I spearheaded the UX UI design for the project to ensure a user-centric design approach was followed and a compelling UXUI was created to rebrand the product with an affinitive and delightful image.
I led the user research and leveraged the user insights to improve design decisions and evolve the product roadmap. Furthermore, I worked closely with developers to ensure the new design is brought to life in its smallest details. Another highlight spot in this project is the storytelling was adopted to ensure the story is presented to various stakeholders attractively.
In order to understand the pain points deeper and clearly, a few field research studies were run internally in the headquarters. Lots of user insights and feedback were gathered. For a better understanding and ideation, these user insights and pain points were transferred into user needs.
Wireframe & Initial Responsive Framework
With these findings, I translated the user needs into a UX direction and created a wireframe to describe the possible flow. In addition, I also added the initial simple UI design within the wireframe. Since one of the top findings is “flexibility”, a responsive design was also created in order to offer the possibility for the user to access the tool whenever there was an idea that popped up in mind.
Visual mood board to identify a proper visual language
Since at the current stage this tool was only designed for internal usage, it’s not necessary to follow the brand guideline. But a clean design with passion inside was very important to catch users’ eyes and also easily use but still feel being encouraged. In this case, I used a pre-set semantic cloud to define keywords for the visual language. And based on the keywords, a visual mood board was created to guide the visual design afterward.
Final Design & Specification
Using the wireframe as the main structure, a high-fidelity design was created following the visual mood board. I also used a very thorough set of specification systems to deliver the high-fidelity mock-ups and specs to engineering.
All layout surfaces were checked and aligned to the pixel to deliver the cleanest experience possible.
Constant Testing/User Research
User testing and research were still constantly run with different users. The iteration of the current design and new features will be adapted in the design refinement, reflecting user feedback and potential future needs.
Use Storytelling and Innovation Journey to more effectively communicate and gain buy-in
To make the tool really work as it is designed, an innovation process was also created to support several idea owners to develop their idea further. In order to communicate the process in a proper casual way, I created a storybook to describe the whole process from the very beginning “have an idea” to the end “product launched”.
Within one year, the number of ideas on the platform increased significantly to over 10000. Users are cross different regions and business units, such as R&D, sales & marketing, finance & controlling, etc. Every year around 9 million euros were funded for the new projects on the platform. As a result of the open innovation platform even change part of our company culture to be more open, agile, and customer-centric.
Within the testing, the new design could be obviously observed it provides a better emotional influence and forms a more user-friendly experience. A clear symbol is used to show visually the ideas are taken care of after users’ submission. And with the story, the new mechanism (Innovation Journey) is set up, aligned with managers, and at the end communicate through the entire company globally to ensure a human-centric innovation approach that both team leaders and individual contributors could benefit from.