20 Thousand Leagues Under The Sea — Welcome To The PlayTank Pilot

95% of the world’s oceans have still yet to be discovered

Larry Page famously uses the word ‘moonshots’ (in reference to the wild adventures and progress in technology and humanities during the late 60s) to describe the focus on progress at Google — ‘to be measured in units of 10-times-better not 10-percent-better’.

This focus on massive radical improvement across all product sectors has seen Google become market leaders in many different categories, aside from search, including mobile operating systems, browsers, mapping technology, email, collaboration tools, and document storage. Google is currently working on several advanced technologies such as Artificial Intelligence, Robotics, Life Elongation and Quantum Computing. While these are all extremely admirable endeavours, that kind of constantly bounding forward culture is not a fit for every organisation. Even for Google, this focus on ‘doing things big’ has seen massively hyped products enter the market that have failed to take off at all. Google+ is currently the companies forth foray into social networking, having previously launched Google Buzz in 2010, Google Friend Connect in 2008 and Orkut in 2004. Google x (its moonshot lab) has been struggling to commercialise and bring many of its projects to life. People who work there or have since left have said the issues at X aren’t technical hurdles, but a combination of red tape and knotty internal politics.

That’s not to say radical innovations should not be sought after. However rather than being pursued at all costs, organisations should focus on building a culture of mutual understanding for how that company operates. By creating an environment where people are incentivised to constantly think about how things could be improved (from an incremental process change to a new market approach for an existing product to something they heard on the radio that gave them a good idea) and come forward with those ideas and insights. The more people have an understanding of how the rest of the company operates and the more they feel like they’re collectively a part of something, the more likely they are to figure out how to improve their environment. This concept of ‘continuous improvement’ allows an organisation to constantly reinvent itself through small incremental changes. This can help position the company as an agile and highly- adaptable player in the market, but also, creates the best conditions for where more radical innovations can naturally occur.

A company that practices continuous innovation is in effect creating the perfect environment for larger breakthroughs to emerge. With a greater collective understanding of their supply chain, operational structure, customer interactions, the ideas and insights that exist across their organisation, as well as the intellectual capital at their disposal, organisations are better equipped to identify real radical solutions that align fully with their current (or near-future) business objectives. Things do (or should) change a lot during the development lifecycle of a radical innovation. A team used to continuously improving their personal and collective work structure has a lot less trouble when dealing with the constantly shifting conditions surrounding a radical innovation.

So while some companies may be willing to shoot for the moon, there’s still a lot to be discovered closer to home.

With that, I’d like to welcome you all the launch of the PlayTank pilot program. We’ve spent the last 18 months trying to figure out how best to build a platform that could help ‘any’ business practice innovation in a way that makes sense to the company’s everyday operations. Today the platform goes out to its first pilot customers. To say we’re excited is an understatement.

Our vision is to help enhance organisations cultures, processes and behaviours surrounding change, improvement and innovation by providing a platform where users can frictionlessly capture and store their ideas and insights, teams can collaboratively plan, strategise, design and explore potential value propositions using those insights, and ultimately the organisation can build a ‘system of record’ or ‘knowledge bank’ for intellectual capital, constantly growing and available on-demand for all future projects.

We hope you join us during the pilot program to help us realise this vision. If you have any ideas or feedback, are interested in our platform, or would like to be a part of our innovation spotlight series, we’d love to hear from you!

Alongside the launch of the pilot comes our new website, whose visual communications theme has been heavily influenced by the imagery of PlayTank as a giant aquarium, full of vibrant and diverse activity.

We’ve set up a simple guide to help with getting started on the platform, as well as contact information and an FAQ. All this information, and more, can be found in the documentation section of our site.

We’re also currently in the process of building out challenge templates for everything from project scoping, operational transformation, cultural programs, continuous improvement programs, product/service concepting, hackathons to good old fashioned idea generation challenges.

Every Monday starting 10th of October at 5PM GTM/1PM EST/10AM PST, we will be running a live demonstration of the PlayTank platform (via Adobe Connect — a link will be sent to all those signed up each week shortly before it begins). Viewers will be able to join in the conversation and discuss the platform and innovation in general.

If you’d like to contact me personally, my email is toby.farren@playtank.net

Happy Innovating,

Toby!