Interview with Charlie de Rusett
Innovation could have a powerful impact on your business, increasing revenue, making your customers happy and bringing new products to market. Usually the best ideas come directly from your employees but it is really hard for them to share them with top management.
In fact, most companies are relying on a top-down innovation structure that makes it hard to innovate, especially if the management is a bit "seasoned".
Our FOUNDER of the week may have the solution for this problem. Charlie de Rusett founded Idea Drop, a cloud-based software and a mobile app, with the goal of helping organisations and companies generate and capture new ideas. In addition, it provides features to help decide which of those ideas get put into action.
Here our exclusive Q&A session:
You and Owen Hunnam are known to be serial entrepreneurs. Are you already working on your next venture?
We took a decision about five years ago of having lessons with businesses that are trying to run more than one thing at once. On a whole, it’s a challenge and you have relatively success in two rather than incredible success in one, so we took the decision to fully focus on IdeaDrop this time around and moving forward is the right way for us to go. The other thing that we both still do is to spend a lot of time reading about tech and about different ways of doing business, learning about other things that are going on in the wide world. We are both very fascinated by blockchain, bitcoins and cryptocurrency at the moment.
Besides using tools such as IdeaDrop: what advice would you give to entrepreneurs who are trying to create a work environment in which their employees feel comfortable enough to share their own ideas?
Some of the things we've seen in our journey working with enterprises are mannerism and behaviours that employees can adopt to become true entrepreneurs within their organization. One of my biggest tip is based on things I've seen done successfully so far and is to understand what your organization's goals are. When you understand what goal that your area manager is trying to achieve then you think of an idea that can help to foster that goal or gain a bigger and more exciting metric towards it, then you will have what we called "aligned innovation": innovation that strategically helps your organization and achieves its goal quicker. The other thing I would do as well is looking at the future of your market looks like.
IdeaDrop helps companies to capture, curate and action their employees best ideas. First of all, how did you come up with this idea?
We came up with the idea because in our business at the time we wanted to foster a culture of entrepreneurship and yet we had this very real problem of the disconnect between us and our staff. We've realized that there was mainly due to not being able to hear what ideas they had in order to improve the business in somewhere. That improvement might be from process improvement right the way to a complete disruptive new product that we could offer customers. So we looked out on Google.
Among other features, users can hide their identity by hitting the ‘cloak’ button, because sharing ideas can sometimes be an intimidating thing to do in a top-down organisation. In the past, did you personally have any troubles or inhibitions proposing your own ideas?
Cloaking is a really cool feature of Idea Drop and the reason why we developed that is that people who usually don't have voice in a meeting situation or among the team, can cloak their identity when they come on the platform and hide their ID. There are many reasons why a user may want to use that. When we were doing our Market-Fit Research.
As far as we know, you and your business partner Owen Hunnam have known each other ever since you were children. What are the advantages of working with such a close friend?
Owen and I worked together literally since we were 11 years old. I think that there is a lot of advantages to come with that. In most part of our lives we spent our time working on our dream and vision that is IdeaDrop and when you can share with someone that is also your best friend, that means you can rely on them to help you through the many emotions you gonna feel in a journey like this.