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Ideas to Decisions: Project Helium

Today, we are opening the beta of Project Helium, a software tool we have been building internally. Simply put, Project Helium is a design thinking tool that enables creative teams and entrepreneurs to explore ideas and generate insights from them in order to make confident decisions. It is the synthesis of our expertise and experience in innovation initiatives — both internal ideas and client projects. You can sign up to join our Beta program here.

These are some of the deeply held beliefs that led us to embark on Project Helium:

Ideas are the lifeblood of business. They’re the difference between being successful, and being forgotten. That is why design thinking is becoming part of the business vernacular and CEOs are rushing to create and empower innovation teams and initiatives.

However, finding the right idea to nurture and grow, rather than sinking time and energy into ideas whose time has not come, remains a challenge. With Project Helium, our ultimate goal is to provide creative teams with a way to explore, refine and decide on the ideas worth pursuing. Powered by design thinking, the tool provides users not only with a way to capture ideas from any source, but with a digitally authentic way to enhance them by adding, sharing and deepening insights. Prompting team members to record why an idea is relevant and enabling comments and conversations with others builds a shared point of view on priorities and opportunities, making it easier to reach consensus and more effective to make decisions.

Born out of Artefact’s innovation expertise. We know how important it is to have a shared point of view, to collaborate and to reach consensus quickly. Each of our client engagements starts with a broad immersion phase when we try to be as open as possible to inspirations and ideas, so we do not overlook the opportunity that would turn into something outstanding. After all, that is one of the most basic design thinking principles. At the same time, project realities like timelines and budgets are constantly pushing us towards focus and decisions. It is that tension that Project Helium aims to alleviate — it gives you the freedom to explore as many ideas as possible, analyze them through design thinking methods that deepen insights and augment thinking, and decide on a path, quickly, with confidence and together.

The push and pull between exploration and focus is inevitable even in internal innovation initiatives, like our own incubation program, Startefact. In many ways, the program was a huge success: it resulted in something we built (Purple), something we launched (Civic IQ), something we experimented with (Token), some things that we discarded. Yet, we are still putting the finishing touches on one or two of the winning ideas. With the right insights and contribution from team members, we definitely could have reached decisions about what we should focus on more quickly.

Moore’s Law is a designer’s dream (and our biggest challenge). There is hardly a technology principle more frequently quoted than Moore’s Law. His prediction of an exponentially growing technological evolution has proven true and reached every industry — from healthcare to retail, government to education. Design has benefited from that as our outcome-focused approach and commitment to creating user-centered experiences allows us to incorporate technology in a way that sustains and enhances our humanism. That is why demand for designers is growing, companies rush to build (or acquire) internal design teams, and proclaim their commitment to becoming design-driven organizations. But accelerated change is forcing creative teams to evolve faster than anyone else. We need to be able to give our ideas shape and form quickly and bravely discard them if they are not strong enough, or invest in them when they show promise. This is what Project Helium is all about — helping design firms like ours, internal creative teams and entrepreneurs turn ideas into decisions, quickly and with confidence. In the fast-paced world of ideas, Project Helium augments our creativity and helps us focus on the right path in a way that is authentic to how we work, to how we collaborate, to how we use technology.

User-centered and user-refined design leads to success. We believe that a successful product requires a problem to solve. That is what user-centered design is all about. But when the problem is something you personally experience every day, then designing a solution for it makes even more business sense: it helps you get better at what you do, while creating something that others would use as well. We discovered that with 10,000ft, which it was born out of our own frustration with existing resource management tools and now boasts more than 800 customers. We believe Project Helium could be as valuable to the creative process as 10,000ft has been to the resourcing process.

But to get there we need your help. If you are passionate about design thinking, user-centered design and creativity, this is your chance to help refine Project Helium.

Join us on this journey. Sign up for the Beta program.

Artefact is a responsible strategy + design firm. We help you harness the power of design to make change + do good.

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