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Startefact: Experiences in Innovation

For every brilliant invention in an inventor’s portfolio, there are tens of ideas that never mature or take off. Just look at what the Smithsonian calls Thomas Edison’s “epic failures.” Yet these sparks often inspire others down the road. They bring the adjacent possible, that just-around-the-corner possibility, ever so closer.

Shortage of ideas has never been a problem for us at Artefact. That is why Startefact, our innovation program, took off to a great start. Our first pitch fest featured 40+ ideas – from Civic IQ to a photo-sharing app, from a medical wearable device to a home automation system, the range of ideas was staggering. But we didn’t stop there. Startefact became not only an annual program and a platform (more on that soon) but a playpen for ideas, for exploration and experimentation.

At the same time, we have always been obsessed with quality. Whether working on a client project or an internal initiative, we have to be confident that we have reached the highest level of thinking and best possible design crafting before we show our work. And while we have always believed in openness and have happily shared insights, tools, and resources that have made us the innovation consultancy we are today, up till now we have been reluctant to show projects in their early stages.

But what about the other ideas whose time may not have come yet? Or that require more resources than we can dedicate to them at the moment? Do we hoard them in our “archives” waiting for the right moment to release them? Or do we allow ourselves to become a bit vulnerable and show them early, even if there is no immediate application or outcome for these early stage ideas yet?

We are ready to accept a little vulnerability and share some of the Startefact ideas here on our blog. Unlike the projects on our Work page, some of these ideas will be less polished and finished. But whether we show a napkin sketch or a full rendering, we believe these ideas are worth sharing because they have the spark that can start a fire.

Why now?

  • Because innovation is becoming a priority for companies across industries and sectors. In the most recent PwC CEO survey, the consulting firm reports that product and service innovation is considered the top business growth opportunity. We have a thing or two to teach about how to channel creativity into innovation or build the culture and tools to support it.
  • Because we believe in the power of collaboration and crowdsourcing to make ideas better. The research is there to prove it but perhaps Seth Godin said it best when he proclaimed “Ideas get better when shared.” We hope our Startefact ideas and the process behind them inspire others to seek us out and work with us to make them happen or even build on top of them on their own.
  • Because we believe that our human-centered approach to problem-solving results in more meaningful products and services. Building off the right foundation is likely to lead to a more lasting positive impact. And that is what our philosophy is all about: applying design, technology and innovation for a better future.