If you remember Who Wants to be a Millionaire? you’ll remember when a contestant gets stuck on a question they could use the ‘ask the audience’ hint to help them out. Lights go up, the audience vote on the answer they think is correct, and then the contestant will choose the answer having been informed of the crowd’s decision. Imagine if you had this in real life?

Harnessing the knowledge of the crowd to quickly get answers is the idea behind one Bristol-based startup. Newly accepted onto business accelerator programme Entrepreneurial Spark, iDeeter is an idea crowd-sourcing platform for businesses and communities.

“We like to think of it like supercharged brainstorming or problem solving on steroids”

 

niall-jones-ideeter-profile-shotTechSPARK caught up with Niall Jones (pictured left), founder of iDeeter, who tells us, “It’s a creative ideation and ideas management platform that has been described as a cross between a human-powered Google and Twitter for ideas. We like to think of it like supercharged brainstorming or problem solving on steroids. We also call it ‘crowdstorming’.”

iDeeter promises to be, “A quick and easy (some say ‘clever’) way to source great ‘tweeted ideas’ from everyone around anyone’s problem.”

“It’s a bit for people who have lots of ideas but don’t have the opportunity to get them out there”

 

Driven by the thought that, “Innovation is critical for business success, and to innovate, you need ideas,” Niall explains, “iDeeter harnesses the collective ingenuity of the crowd to rapidly generate large volumes of high-quality ideas and insights, bypassing geographical and organisational constraints. It’s a bit for people who have lots of ideas but don’t have the opportunity to get them out there.”

So how does this work, what does it look like, and how do you use it? Well…

ideeter-challenge-view

There’s only one way to find out!

First, you start with a question, for example, “How can TechSPARK better serve the Bristol and Bath tech community?” Then you make the question into an event. There are three types of events: Storm, Rally and Flow based on how long in time you want people to be able to contribute answers, from half an hour to over a year.

The crowd picks a winner by rating iDeets with a thumbs up (like) or a star (love).

Have you got an idea or answer to our question? Let us know!

[NB: We’d love any suggestions that help us to let you get the most out of the tech and digital cluster in the Bristol and Bath region, however, remember we are a not-for-profit community-led organisation, so please bear that in mind when contributing your suggestions!]

This is just one example of a type of question that can be posed. For example, Niall ran a trial doing market research with Bristol University students which showed the range of responses for using this tool could range from the serious to the trivial: “We got 8 Bristol Uni students to generate about 80 ideas in 40 minutes and there were really clever ideas, but the winning suggestion was: ‘Why do you call it taking a poo when you actually leave it behind?’.”

“People enjoy it and it’s fun, but it impacts on something serious”

 

Niall explains, “We do often get laughter, even though the topics are usually dead serious! Because some ideas are inevitably funny. That is kind of what we’re gunning for, people enjoy it and it’s fun but it impacts on something serious.”

What SPARKed the idea?

Having spent 7 years in as an events facilitator, Niall integrated some of the techniques used by leading innovative companies to inspire creation and focused on the idea of single-purpose meetings to create iDeeter. After collaborating with creative design agency Ralph Media they were able to turn these techniques into an online social problem-solving platform.

“I’ve found it easy to find creative and other partners prepared to have a go at something new”

 

It’s collaboration like this that Niall attributes to some of their success, he says, “I’ve found it easy to find creative and other partners prepared to have a go at something new. I’m doing what I truly want to be doing, and I have a feeling I would have just slid into a job if I’d gone straight back to London.”

In particular, it was branding consultancy Coconut Group and web design business Epic Fox from the Cotswolds who took an early punt in iDeeter’s startup journey and have partnered on the building of iDeeter.

“Without any money we got a full team together, got it incorporated and enough funding”

 

Since then, successes have been storming in, with user reviews saying, “It made me think, it made me feel very ‘part of something’ – it was good.” Niall tells us, “I consider it a success that without any money we got a full team together, got it incorporated and enough funding together to get the minimum viable product built and tested with great user feedback last Autumn.

ideeter-launch-party“Also that we got a second round of angel funding, enough for a public launch night and to greatly improve the product so you can surf between smart looking challenges and have your own private iDeeter running in your organisation with challenges embedded for ‘iDeeting’ from wherever you want them, and so on.”

Storming forward

In order to grow the company, Niall tells us some of the things he is looking for: organisations interested in discussing the issues around creativity, innovation, employee and stakeholder engagement, iDeeter can even offer demo events for this. Also, Niall adds, “Investors who like the sound of what we’re up to and are prepared to talk to us. From angels to institutional, we’d love to ramp things up!”

You can create your own iDeeter and find out more information on the iDeeter website. Keep up with them on social media, on Twitter @ideeter_com and on Facebook @iDeeterLtd where you can expect to see more public domain challenges and events over time.

Natasha Baer