Napkin Labs | The Social Innovation Platform

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Napkin Labs, a web-based social innovation platform and is currently seeking all fields of Generation Y innovators to join its online community. Napkin Labs is a global community that enables talented people to engage in dynamic, collaborative, real-time conversations with companies to innovate products and services. Work together with engineers, graphic designers, software developers, consultants, and simply smart people from across the globe! Earn money for the ideas you contribute while interacting with other  Gen Y leaders in their fields. Speaking with Warren Ng, Co-Founder of Napkin Labs, left me absolutely fascinated at the wonderful work this team is currently doing in the innovation space. Recently, the team has launched an innovation platform (in beta) that allows for community-driven contributions to complex issues that major brands and organizations may face in today’s world.

The platform is easy to navigate and has a very user-friendly UI. Their concept of taking the collaboration of ideas and pumping community as the gasoline to the vehicle of innovation has certainly caught the attention of some major brands and organizations the SIP is currently working with. The founders were former employees of Sterling & Rice, an Advertising agency which focuses on brand building, management, and consulting as well as integrated marketing strategy and communications.

How did this all get started?

When we presented this idea to the group the idea wasn’t warmly received since they actually thought it would do more harm than good to the organization by actually taking away from their strategy and essentially cannibalizing the organization. We took this as a compliment and decided to take the leap of faith and create a business around this initiative.”

Calling on their friends and family the founders, Warren Ng and Riley Gibson raised over $200,000 in initial funding for their venture. The company has grown to over seven employees, (all of whom are Gen Y), and has plans to add more in their dev house as the platform evolves.

Tell us more about Napkin Labs

We essentially ran projects with lots of clients in the 2nd Gen platform. The projects were geared towards consumer electronics industry.

Why Gen Y? “Gen Y Understands Social Media and it exists because of Gen Y.”

Our ideal clients are those that want to see how quick the general marketplace wants the next iteration of the product.

On the platform, innovation is driven by the community members who are all hand-selected to participate on the boards.

What is the core value add of Napkin Labs to consumers and brands alike?

“At the end of it, the platform provides radical transparency – companies have to adapt to the information age. Companies need to react to what the consumer wants. The opportunity for companies (product life-cycle decreases.) Tapping into real-time consumer allows brands to be more proactive and not reactive. Through using our platform, companies keep the fingers on the pulse of generation Y and folks who utilize Social Media. So they can capture as much of the product life-cycle opportunity.”

Employee base: 100% Gen Y, Community Membership is the arm of the employee base. Everyone that is a community member is Gen Y or Gen Y minded.

What does the future hold for Napkin Labs?

“We will primarily look to evolve into a Saas based enterprise solution.”

Currently they run projects for a number of folks internally. Synthesizes data as an actionable deliverable that is quantified by their internal algorithm.

Enterprise solutions:We plan on selling to design agencies and advertising and marketing groups. Even large corporations! We see the future build out as a white label software for large organizations and helping them through internal implementation.”

Napkin Labs will provide brand realignment for various enterprise solutions. With their robust analytics tools the innovation platform will be able to quantify ideas and build upon crowd sourcing innovation.

“We are a web application that lives on a Cloud. Think of it as an Enterprise 2.0 coupled with a Web 2.0 model.”

Business model for growth:

Napkin Labs plans to expand in the next year and is currently seeking a technical lead/CTO level to help refine the beta platform.

We have a lot of features we can build it out, we would need this team member to  Help us to refine the technology and elevate it to the next level.”

Community: “We are really looking for folks who have opinions about products, services, etc., a diverse population of Gen Y Community members. The ethos of Napkin Labs is built upon the power of diverse thinking. Diverse backgrounds that have breakthrough ideas.”

How do you keep the community from being over saturated?

We’ve put out an open call to anyone who wants to participate. We want lead users and lead innovators in the product space as we continue to develop our beta platform and on board new clients and brands.

Here’s a glimpse of the HQ in Boulder, CO and what they are all about:

What about competition?

What they are seeing with tools providers work differently with their communities. Current communities like theirs are more “winner takes all” models.

“…and that is horribly unsustainable. If there are a thousand people participating and only one person wins that one person will be happy, but the other 99.9% would be unhappy.  A byproduct  of our platform are evangelists themselves and they are rewarded fairly. Our robust algorithm measures community member’s level of participation and quality of contributions and rewards them equally for it.”

There is more to come from this innovative group, they have already been featured in the New York Times for the innovative ways their firm taps into the wisdom of the crowd. Talk about getting our voices heard. Napkin Labs continues to foster their environment and beta platform with leading product mavens and Gen Y innovators a like. If you are interested in contributing and seeing what the buzz is all about you can reach them directly at:

Another great thing was Luna, the company dog, who kept running in and out of the office during my conversation with Warren. I did forget to ask him if Luna was contributing to the platform as well. Would make for interesting discussions I am sure!

2 Responses to “Napkin Labs | The Social Innovation Platform”
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  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by AJ Thomas, AJ Thomas. AJ Thomas said: Napkin Labs | The Social Innovation Platform « […]

  2. […] for us, AJ was also kind enough to take the time to interview our co-founder Warren Ng to write a post about Napkin Labs on her own site, The Gen Y Blogger. Check it out to find out more about Napkin Labs and show AJ some love! Share and […]

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