What inspires us

April 3, 2014

We officially launched Significance Labs a few days ago, and what better way to start than to share a few ideas that have inspired us.

Follow me Home a program that Scott Cook, founder of Intuit, started. He would hang around the local Staples until someone bought an Intuit product, then ask if he could follow them home while they opened it and began using it. (apparently that’s not creepy). It’s a great idea – really getting to know one’s users. Intuit credits that for helping them develop many of their new products, and for a while it’s been company wide. American Express has a similar initiative called “Walk, Talk, Chalk”. Getting to know users is crucial and requires creativity and courage to do something a little different.  

Text4Baby” a free text message service to remind mothers-to-be about healthy practices and to check in on their health. It’s widespread, and something that crosses different organisations. It involves tech, and user understanding, and also expertise from doctors in designing the system. We’ve been asking – could there be something similar for other processes that people are going through – applying for financial aid, going through government sign up processes, others?

Providence Speaks. The research behind this suggests that the number of words a child hears spoken to them is crucial for their development, and that there can be huge word gaps. They’re trying to develop a device to count the number of words spoken – and incorporate that into wearable technology. We’re inspired to wonder how else can sensors be used to assess things that might seem impossible to measure – while being sensitive to the fact that this is a conceptual idea, not a product. And that building it while focusing on user needs is crucial.  

Pay Near Me“allows some of the 37 million people without access to bank accounts/credit cards to pay for things online or with a cheque, simply by taking a transaction number to a local 7-11, paying in cash, and having the system indicate that item has been paid for. It’s taking off in CA and seems like a great idea that solves a real need.

Any other ideas out there we should know about, that might be inspiring?  


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