What Is Full Stack Innovation?

what-is-full-stack-innovation (2)Everyone has heard the term “full stack developer”. According to SitePoint:

The term full-stack means developers who are comfortable working with both back-end and front-end technologies. To be more specific, it means that the developer can work with databases, PHP, HTML, CSS, JavaScript and everything in between, also, venturing as far as converting Photoshop designs to front-end code.

Which, if you ask me, can be literally translated to a developer who can build an entire product. This kind of developer is perfectly suited for startups – alone, as the only technical founder or as part of a small team, they have the ability to take an idea from concept to reality. They can take a napkin or Evernote sketch, developed jointly by the founders of the startup, and pull together all of the frameworks and code required to not only prototype the product, but also put it on a scalable platform and launch it. They are the jack-of-all-trades of the programming world – they may have deep knowledge in a specific area, say back end or web site development, but they also have the ability to quickly learn all other new technologies required in order to bring the idea to fruition.

If the idea needs a website, they use Rails and Bootstrap to ramp one up quickly. If the idea needs a mobile app, they use a rapid application development tool, or learn Swift and/or Java in order to develop the app natively. And if the app requires a quick design, they have no problem rolling up their sleeves and whipping up a quick, workable, if sometimes in-elegant design in Photoshop.

I’ve been a full-stack developer for two of my startups, and its a great learning experience. The ability to rapidly take an idea from concept to reality, however, is not something that necessarily needs to be restricted to the startup world. Now mid-size to major corporates can use these same techniques to develop innovative new products and services out of the great ideas of their employees. This is the key service we offer.

Full-stack innovation is the process we employ to capture valuable new ideas from your employees, run them though a well-defined filtering process to determine their viability, select the best ideas, rapidly prototype a few, then move them into your product pipeline. In the same way a full-stack developer can take startup founders concept and turn it into a working product, full-stack innovation starts with ideas, and results in product.

Of course, within a startup, the technical co-founder or his team are 100% focused on developing the concept. They have nothing else to focus on – they have no other lines of business to support – no revenues to make sure that  are rolling in – no sales to make – other than pre-sales. The startup can be laser focused on developing the idea into product, and by necessity, must do it quickly, due to likely limited funds. They are constantly racing against their burn rate, and need to get a minimum viable product out the door as soon as possible.

You might not have a burn rate – but your resources are just as tied up – in keeping the business moving forward. If you’ve done things well, you have the right amount of resources in order to keep your operations going at an optimal rate – you don’t have the spare resources to get those great ideas in the pipeline. That’s where we come in.

Our full stack innovation process has the following components:

  1. Complete end-to-end innovation program: we determine the size and scope of an internal innovation program which can capture as many of your employees ideas as possible, then crowdsource the submission and voting process and initial filtering of the ideas. We develop, launch and monitor the program, then harvest the ideas from the program, providing your inventors with proper feedback, results and rewards
  2. Filtering & Review : we review all ideas to see if they have met criteria set, then determine if the idea will either a) be developed as a prototype or b) a business model will be developed to support the idea. Once the ideas have been through either of these processes, each idea will receive a go/no go decision to move forward
  3. Build and Launch: strategies will be developed to move the prototype into the build phase, or develop a prototype from the business model. Once developed, the support system will be enabled and the product will be launched.

Step 1 requires some of your resources to envision and describe the ideas, then we take them the rest of the way, thus freeing up your employees to focus on operations. Our approach will minimize the time spent by your people in ideation and development, allowing them to the time and space to ideate, but then get back to their jobs, letting us take the reins of their ideas and move them forward.

Unlike some of our competitors, whose services only extend to the end of the ideation process, we help you take the ideas all the way to product – our team has invented, developed, managed and launched hundreds of products.

And we can do the same for you.

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