How do businesses make the most of using Popplet? In the second part of our Popplet People Profile, we talk with Nicholas McGill from business consultancy Heroik Media about how his team uses Popplet to collaborate, innovate, and inspire.
In the first part of our latest Popplet People Profile, we learnt about how Nicholas and his team use Popplet to encourage businesses to create the organizational changes necessary to power new growth and opportunity.
Nicholas told us that one of the benefits of using Popplet with business clients is that it is easy-to-use and immediately allows business clients to start working on the real organizational challenges in a welcoming and intuitive interface.
More complex business tools can slow down initial discussions as participants first need to understand how to use the software before they can start collaborating to build a new organizational mission. Nicholas told us that by using Popplet, he is able to start recording group discussions and mapping ideas immediately. The colorful straight-forward design creates immediate buy-in and the simplicity of the tools mean that teams can start using tech to collaborate straight away, and can graduate on to more sophisticated business tools in future.
While Popplet has maintained a minimal aesthetic as part of our focus on effective, easy-to-use design, there are also a lot of features that can be leveraged by savvy power users.
In the second part of our interview, Nicholas shares some of the techniques that he uses with Popplet in his business.
Using color codes
Across Heroik Media, team members all use the same color codes to represent specific ideas.
“For the primary elements our color code stays the same,” says Nicholas. “Labeling critical issues, concerns, and what we believe are great ideas are common across every project. Simplicity is important. Every manager or client can remember 3 color codes.
“Beyond that, the rest of the colors are up for grabs, project to project. Our goal isn’t about making sure to use all the crayons in the box. It’s about using the minimal amount for the maximum effect. Creative/Detail oriented members of our team love details and nuance, but when we’re collaborating with other teams, the added complexity can create confusion. This is actually one of the primary reasons for using Popplet. The constraints and limitations provide simplicity, which allows for clarity and ensures that the team is focused on the project – not the tool or features. It is visually beautiful, unintimidating, and simple.”
“When we’re in the weeds, working on particular forks or items, it’s hard to constantly be mindful of the whole project. Time Warp is a cutting edge feature for the data-driven age. It provides a dimension to our work that expands our universe by providing a grand view of the past and present in fast forward. It’s like the connection between the streets view and the satellite view. When you watch how the ideas are born, how and where they are connected at the grand scale and big picture, you can gain insight into your team, direction, and project as a whole. Popplet provides these broad and focused views on a simple platform. And it adds another dimension to the mix: time.
“As you watch Time Warp of an extensive Popplet, it’s like watching the birth of stars and constellations. Our project managers review Time Warp to pinpoint just which ‘brilliant’ ideas took the team to where it wanted to go, or derailed it into a black hole or time suck. It helps us refine our process and determine how aggressively we need to facilitate the process or put in place a team-wide ‘pause and reflect’ moment. It also gives us an idea of who our rock star contributors and facilitators are.
“Internally at Heroik, this helps us identify the people we need to promote to lead or facilitate the Popplet stage of our work. Strategically, and externally, when a member of a client team is identified as a linchpin, it points out who we need to have lunch with. These people are usually excited about the direction of a project and full of good ideas. On the negative side, it also points out which team members are adding more distraction and less focus. This prompts conversations to reign in ideas, and to table unrelated notions or nuggets that are irrelevant to the project goals. In this way, it helps us stay focused on our goals and put simply, makes us better facilitators.
“Another aspect of Time Warp is that it allows newcomers to play catch up. Generally, they can see our creative history lesson, how these ideas came to be, and the latest branch we’re focused on.”
Nicholas has written an in-depth blog post that describes some of the Popplet features he takes advantage of in his day to day business client work. But there are even more than he could share!
“One thing I didn’t mention in my article is how we use Presenter mode,” Nicholas told us. “We guide our team and clients throughout every aspect of our creative process and create a video. These guided tours are powerful. When you explain the path to people, where you’ve been and the goals you’ve set as a group, the newcomers to the conversation are way more likely to add to the current conversation rather than reinvent the wheel.”
Using Popplet on a second screen
“We have a thrivalism culture at Heroik. We’re constantly creating better and this includes paying attention to what we lose when new digital trends take over. Many collaborators and remote teams forget all about the fundamentals about what makes us productive.
“Popplet returns to a spatial thinking and an uncommon simplicity in the digital space, as long as you leverage it correctly. The brain assigns meaning to what is visual, persistent and interactive. If it’s not on our wall, or in front of our face everyday, it probably doesn’t get used and doesn’t have meaning. This is where many companies are messing up and suffering HUGE productivity losses for it.
“Study after study has shown that from a productivity stand point, two screens are better than one. Not everybody has two gigantic monitors though. But these days, you can count on them having an under-utilized TV (Get a chromecast too), projector or an iPad. Having Popplet top of mind and present on a screen in a prominent place has guided our efforts and focus.
“You can’t get that with a laptop alone. Print out your Popplet if you have to (you cafe warriors).
“Let me make it personal for a bit. Maybe you remember the TV show The X Files and in that show Agent Moulder would often be staring at a huge poster on his wall that had a picture of a UFO and the word ‘I want to believe’ on it. This kept him passionate, focused, energized – even in the worst moments. Keeping your Popplet on a second screen is kind of like this.
“You need to be able to look with a blank stare at a project and allow it to soak into your subconscious. Quick glances will remind you to be considerate of various goals and inspire new ideas. You can’t be productive if it’s buried in a tab or window somewhere on the same screen you use for the rest of your work. It’s like a white board, in this respect.
“Being mindful of all of this has helped identify a lot of waste and opportunity, for me personally. We’ve got screens everywhere and barely use them in ways that truly serve us. My favorite tech is whiteboards, notebooks, index cards, and simple effective apps like Popplet. Why? Because they help you refine what matters, practice, process, purpose and play. They make it easy to be mindful and of course, they’re cheap, and effective. Many people and organizations are tool hungry and process poor. Why not get a tool that helps you become process rich? Popplet brings some of that opportunity — we bring the rest!”
Thanks to Nicholas for making the time available to share his Popplet techniques with us. You can see more of his work with Heroik Media on their website and keep up with more of Nicholas’ business techniques on the Heroik blog.
(X-Files image sourced from Famous Pictures.)