Innovation around the Internet of Things is coming from many places.
Now a major agency is working to institutionalize the process by identifying topics to tackle and then assigning agency employees to rapidly create a concept and take it to prototype stage almost overnight.
During a visit to the Boston offices of SapientNitro last year, I saw this rather interesting development method using an automated, random topic generator used to select various topics within two areas, audience and technology.
At the annual FutureM conference in Boston this week, I caught up with Mo Morales, innovation design manager at SappientNitro, and the person behind the idea.
Morales hosted Sapient’s major display of the process at the marketing conference and attendees waited in line to see how the concept of rapid prototyping teams at an agency could work.
The overall idea is to push the boundaries of storytelling through emerging technology.
Morales said the SapientNitro Accelerated Prototyping (SNAP) goes from multidisciplinary group ideation to fully-functional prototype in two weeks.
“It takes one creative and one tech person a total of two weeks,” Morales said. “It’s about two hours, two days and two weeks.”
At the start of the process, two agency employees are identified and freed to work on the project for two weeks.
The automated idea machine is used to randomly select an audience and then a technology.
Included in the list of 10 audiences are pet lovers, travelers, artists, new home buyers, new parents and coffee lovers. The 10 technologies include beacons, robotics, gesture, speech recognition and virtual reality.
Each of the two are randomly selected and then merged, so that one pairing might be pet lovers and beacons, for example.
The two-person team has a two-hour idea discussion session followed by two days to refine the concepts and then pitch them to a leadership committee. After approval, the team has two weeks to develop a fully-functional prototype, several of which Morales displayed at the event.
The prototype has to be made within two weeks and cost under $500.
The interesting twist here is that the projects are not client driven and there is no major expenditure for a large-scale innovation lab.
However, the learning may later be used to deal with client needs or requests in the future, since “90 of it is IoT related,” Morales said.
Morales said he is now expanding the system beyond Boston, starting with Sapient offices in New York and Washington.
At the very least, more agency employees are getting involved in IoT creativity at the street level.
And with so many prototypes focused on identifying potential problems and opportunities in the market and matching them with appropriate technologies for solution, there likely will be an eventual client fit. Even if they don’t yet know it.