How we turned a Distill side project into a prototype for IDEO.org
As consultants we regularly meet customers who want help with design but hiring an agency or consulting firm doesn’t make sense for their budget. We felt there was a way to help these people with bite sized advice, so in the fall of 2014 we set out to test these assumptions and we built Talkshop.
Talkshop’s aim was to connect startups and entrepreneurs with expert designers to help move their projects forward in short video chat consulting sessions. We developed the concept, conducted dozens of research and customer development interviews, recruited creative experts, designed, and built the application from the ground up.
With the Talkshop prototype we had more than 100 experts from companies like IDEO, Google, AirBnb, Goodby Silverstein, Frog, Microsoft, and others join the network, but we struggled to find customers. Ultimately, we were not able to get traction for Talkshop, but it did lead to an interesting experience when a team from IDEO.org contacted us and asked us to support three projects spread out across the world in New York, The Netherlands, and Uganda.
The IDEO.org team was exploring how they could provide scalable design support to the organizations they were working with. They learned about Talk Shop and saw an opportunity to leverage the network to support their scaling efforts.
Using the infrastructure we built with Talkshop, we quickly ran a live prototype with the IDEO.org team, sourcing design experts in Australia, and Europe to assist. For this prototype we facilitated a series of mentoring sessions for OpenIDEO participants. The prototype served two primary purposes: to support the Open IDEO teams and to test new ways for IDEO.org to provide support to their partners.
The needs for these users were somewhat different than the startups we had been serving previously so we created a quick journey map that outlined how things would work.
Each of the three team members met with a design mentor. Lauren Currie, and Janna DeVylder and Jo Hill of Meld Studios provided support for the three projects. In the end, we helped three unique projects and yielded insights for the IDEO.org team.