Kindling Revamps User Interface, Offers SharePoint, Office Integration
Kindling (news, site) is focused on making innovation management simple and the company who created it -- Arc90, Inc. -- has made a number of changes to their SaaS-based solution to do just that.

A Spanking New User Interface

A chat with Tim Meaney, Partner, Arc90 and Product Manager, Kindling filled us in on all the new things changing in the Kindling Innovation Management Solution.

The overall premise of offering a simple user experience that let's the user focus on the task at hand hasn't changed, but it has improved:

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Kindling's New User Interface

Meaney told us that this is a significant redesign of the the application -- it took them six weeks to redesign the UI. This new interface streamlines content and makes room for new capabilities.

The goal was to enable the content -- the ideas and discussion -- to stand forward and not have the software overwhelm the experience.

To Go With Some Spanking New Functionality

To go along with this new interface, comes some new functionality:

  • Public and Internal Discussion: Now you have both public and private discussions around an idea. Internal discussion may be necessary by management to discuss topics such as ROI. Discussions are formatted in a wiki style, something many users will find easy to get a handle on.
  • Approval Workflow on Internal Discussions: Users can now edit other user's ideas. The change however, must be approved by the original creator of the idea. There's even a revision history, so you know who made what changes.
  • Reputation System: A new reputation management system let's users win points by actively engaging in Kindling. Ways to earn points include: get an idea approved, participate in an implementation, get an idea assigned. There's a leader board to show who has the most reputation points. Of course this functionality isn't for everyone and you can turn it off.

There's a pattern for what gets people motivated to participate says Meaney and Kindling offers things to do just that:

  • Reputation
  • Email Digests
  • Mobile Access
  • Campaigns

A Mobile Version

And speaking of mobile access, Kindling now offers a mobile optimized version for those on the go:

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Access Kindling via your Smartphone

Note that there are no mobile applications, but rather an optimized version of the Kindling website for any phone that has a browser.

A Little SharePoint Integration

Also new is integration with SharePoint -- 2007 and 2010. Integration includes centralized authorization and single sign on with SharePoint, and a few webparts for viewing Kindling content and search integration.

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Kindling/SharePoint integration

The key here right now is that this is a view only of Kindling content within SharePoint. Something Meaney told us will change. Right now though it was important to bring Kindling and ideas closer to people. More engaged users will interact natively with Kindling (clicking an idea in SharePoint will open Kindling in a new browser window). The next phase of integration will benefit the casual user.

And A Little Outlook Integration

And finally, there's Outlook integration for those that live and breathe in their email. This is deeper integration than found with SharePoint. From Outlook, you can add ideas, vote and comment inline.

Meaney called Outlook, the "undisputed king of attention" and it only made sense to bring a little bit of Kindling to it.

Get A First Hand View

Kindling is being demoed at the Front End of Innovation US this week in Boston. If you are looking for an Innovation Management solution then you might want to drop by or sign up for a free trial on the Kindling website.

The improvements are great, the user interface much cleaner and streamlined, the new functionality a strong enhancement. Kindling may not be the most well known solution in the market, but these changes are sure to grab some attention.