OpenIDEO is an open innovation platform. Join our global community to solve big challenges for social good. Sign up, Login or Learn more


Recent contributions


Contribution list

Recent comments

(3) View all

Alec commented on Brighten - Make Someone's Freakin Day!

Hi Naman! Thanks so much for your questions. Very insightful :)

My thinking behind the idea that the app would do best in larger organizations is based on learning from the past 2 years developing the app. Although we originally created brighten to be used with close friends, we've found that while it's great initially for saying things you've always felt too awkward to say, you quickly run out of things to say and use the app less and less. On the opposite end of the spectrum, the app is pretty ineffective for strangers- there's only so much you can compliment a stranger on, and those compliments will be superficial at best. The sweet spot are those weak social ties- people whose name you know but not much else. The mechanisms of brighten- sending an anonymous compliment and then revealing yourself, are perfect for people who already kind of know each other to get to know each other better and develop a deeper relationship.

A user story I could easily imagine is Mary on the design team getting some great specs from Lisa on the engineering team. They don't know each other well enough to talk much, but a brighten is the perfect way to get her foot in the door for a more meaningful conversation- The compliment is just as much a conversation starter as an expressions of gratitude.

To your second question, I don't want to give away the secret sauce, but basically, we use a natural language processor that has been fine tuned by our team in order to detect what is a compliment and what isn't. We moderate all the content on the app and delete/hide anything we deem negative or hurtful, and although messages are anonymous to users, everyone's account is attached to their posts on our backend. The app really isn't an anonymous messaging app- it's more of a positivity app that uses anonymity as one of many tools.

Again, thank you for your questions, I hope I answered them well!



Alec commented on Brighten - Make Someone's Freakin Day!

Hi Julian! Thanks for the nice message. You would definitely do well on brighten :)

As of now, you add friends through phone contacts, friends of friends, or by username. I agree that that mechanism would need to be tweaked a little. Perhaps all the employees could join the same group for the company, and find each other that way? Our plan would be to pick a hypothesis based on intuition / user interviews, and then run a pilot program and tweak it based on feedback.

To your second question, I'm proud to say that we have solved the problem of bullying on our app. We've integrated a really smart natural language processor that helps us flag negative messages before the damage is done. I also don't really see bullying as a problem among older, more mature users- the most bullying we've seen is with middle and high schoolers.

Lastly, there are a few reasons why using our app is better than exchanging private messages via their mail. First off, that process sounds like a nightmare. Our view is that the purpose of technology is to make actions that people are already doing easier. People are already giving compliments to friends, or maybe they want to but something stops them (anxiety, fear, whatever). Brighten is the easiest way to make someone smile. So even if people are mailing each other anonymous compliments, this app makes that process WAY easier.
Secondly, on brighten you can send an anonymous compliment and then reveal yourself. That process feels really magical on the app.
Third, we have a 'smile' feature, where once you receive a brighten, you can take a selfie to show the sender that you smiled.
And lastly, I think our feed is really unique- i don't know where else you can go to read a feed of compliments about your friends / coworkers. We've done a really good job at keeping the culture on the app really positive and upbeat; it's like an instant pick-me-up. I don't know anywhere else I can go to get that feeling.

Thanks so much for all your questions Julian I really appreciate your interest. I passed on you UX compliment to our CEO / designer and it made his day to hear that! Happy to answer any questions you may have. Have a nice day!



Alec commented on Brighten - Make Someone's Freakin Day!

We are constantly talking to our users directly in the app- we have a "team brighten" account that everyone is friends with, so we can talk to our users that way. We also do phone interviews almost every day. From there, we take notes on what the best users have in common, why they use the app, what they don't like about it, etc and create user personas based on their answers about who they are and why they use brighten.

The next steps are to find a company or two willing to test out the app and tell us how we can tweak it to be ideal in a business setting- we built it originally to be used only with close friends, so it would need to be tweaked a little.