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Winter innovation week at LaunchNotes kicks off a December to remember

AUTHOR: Team LaunchNotes

Last week, we unleashed the entire LaunchNotes team to focus on some ideas they’ve been dying to bring to life. We’re over the moon to share the highlights from LaunchNotes’ second innovation week of 2022 and hope you’re as excited as we are in the potential of these ideas.

We hosted our inaugural innovation week this past July. For a week we brought everyone together to jam on ideas they were passionate about developing. Between R&D, marketing, customer success, sales, and operations we fielded six teams with six promising ideas. Those teams then dedicated the week to designing and building a prototype and then presenting an MVP at the end of the week. Of those six opportunities, we’re very proud to say five shipped in the following two weeks. 

Based in large part on how successful our first innovation week was, last week we got back at it with another week of doing what we love most: innovating to make LaunchNotes an even more powerful product success platform that continues to delight product teams everywhere!

The ground rules:

At LaunchNotes we’re firm believers that great ideas can come from anywhere across the organization. That's why every member of our team—from founder to intern—is encouraged to submit innovation week ideas they're particularly passionate about and excited to solve.

Once the ideas are in, each team member presents their idea in an effort to get others across the company fired-up about partnering with them to tackle the idea together. The ideas submitted largely fall into one of three general themes: internal improvements, customer feedback and usage patterns, and industry best practices.

Once teams have formed, everyone is given a full week to fully focus on their project. Then, on Friday afternoon, after a week of heads down focus time to work on their idea, each team presents their work to the rest of the organization. And everyone across the business gets to vote on which project was their favorite. The teams evaluated each group’s work using these criteria:

  • Does the idea solve an existing customer need?

  • Does that idea deliver delight to the customer experience?

  • Is the presentation both informative and creative?

We’re pleased to announce the following four ideas to kick off the new year with a bang! There are a few additional ideas in the hopper, but we’ve decided to keep those under wraps for now. They’re big and beautiful and we don’t want to spoil the impact of those launches by announcing them prematurely.

Enough wind-up. Let’s get to the good stuff…

Roadmap v2

Teddy and Viv partnered to deliver the foundation for a huge level-up to our shareable roadmaps, setting the stage for an improved end user experience and an upgraded admin experience. The goal? Designs to make it a snap to stay connected on the roadmap items users are most interested in.

There were a slew of capabilities the team proposed and designed. Here’s a highlight reel:

  1. The first major upgrade was a mobile-first approach that prioritizes a first-tier experiences across all devices, and will pave the way for embedding the experience in the embeddable widget

  2. Next, add voting on roadmap items to provide a lightweight way for subscribers to let product teams know they’re excited for a feature that’s in development without having to write a long-form feedback

  3. Next, lay the groundwork for product teams to easily field Early Access Programs with LaunchNotes, including making it easy for subscribers to opt into said EAP programs 

  4. Next, an upgrade UI that replaces the current scrolling column experience with single direction scrolling, making the navigation of a project list more elegant and easier to use

  5. Finally, the addition of a “celebration station” – when a new feature is launched, a user can click the celebration button to show support

  6. This celebration button plays an important role in how we see the “Done” status of work items changing in the future and a new setting for project users so that they can control how many items are displayed in the “Done” column

Many of these suggested updates are based on feedback and requests from our subscribers, so we’re pretty sure we’re sure you’ll be just as jazzed as we are when they’re shipped! 

Product demos V1

Adam, Blake, Steve, and Jake set out to create a series of short, eye-catching video shorts that quickly explain the value LaunchNotes brings to product teams. Each video focuses on one key feature of the platform, and specifically connects the function to the customer benefit. The goal? To 1) invite prospective customers to give LaunchNotes a try while 2) helping existing customers best leverage the features that can help them accelerate their product development momentum.

These videos are short, sweet, and they pack a punch. In less than two minutes of run time, they state the problem, detail how LaunchNotes addresses the pain of that problem, and provide a sneak peek into the immediate customer benefits. All in one easily digestible format. And with a new split screen format that we’re trying out with a LaunchNotes presented on one side and supporting visuals on the other side. Let us know what you think.

Here’s one of the many videos we created this week. In this one our very own Blake Thorne dials in on how easy it is with LaunchNotes to customize product development tools and comms–changelog, release notes, roadmap– to seamlessly integrate with a company’s homepage and brand guidelines for an outstanding customer experience.

Be on the lookout for some of our new “window dressing” videos in a social feed near you!

Onboarding V3

Onboarding is a process that evolves through continual testing and optimization. There are always things that need to be tweaked, and always room for further refinement and improvement. So, for this innovation week Ashley, Michael, and Michele took a big swing at improving what the team had implemented last July, enhancing the onboarding experience for evaluators and existing customers alike.

Almost all customers are aware of a product’s value during the time of purchase, but spending the necessary cycles to ensure they’re actually maximizing that value to the fullest isn’t always easy. It takes time to master any product, and along the way it’s easy to get lost, distracted, or even overwhelmed by a product’s flexibility. 

To help with these issues, the team tackled a series of onboarding improvements from a number of different angles:

  1. An improved sign-on experience - to take you exactly where you prefer to start

  2. A new series of how-to-videos - to get you up and running fast

  3. New tooltips - to support your learning journey on the platform

  4. Last, but certainly not least, a brand new sandbox experience we’re calling ChitChat

Our new ChitChat environment is a fully provisioned project with announcements, feedback, roadmap items, and ideas. It provides admins, contributors, and evaluators–essentially anyone who enters the product–a fully featured and low risk testing ground where they can take LaunchNotes for a test drive and stress test every component of the platform.

With these onboarding improvements, product teams will be up and running in LaunchNotes and on a path to mastering the product in days, rather than weeks or months.

MacOS app for feedback

And the grand prize winner for this innovation week goes to Brian and Blake Z,  who prototyped a native MacOS app based on the simple but profound insight: because feedback is everywhere, users need a way to submit it into LaunchNotes from anywhere. Our new MacOS app will allow any client facing teams–customer success, account management, solutions engineering, and sales–to quickly and easily collect and submit feedback on behalf of customers. This is not only a streamlined experience for customer-facing teams, but also provides product teams with more, higher quality, and more actionable feedback within LaunchNotes.

Whether feedback comes through Gmail, Outlook, Intercom, HelpScout, Slack, or your company uses Zendesk, Salesforce, or HubSpot and feedback is regularly arriving there—our new MacOS app will allow client-facing teams to snip entire threads and conversations from anywhere. Notably, it also works with any web browser, giving you the freedom to not have to worry about any browser plugins. And whoever is collecting the feedback can achieve all of this without ever having to enter LaunchNotes themselves! 

Feedback from customers is essential to any business, and this app will let you collect it and deliver it from anywhere. A big hug and congratulations to Brian and Blake for taking a big swing at a huge pain point for many product teams and delivering an elegant prototype that we’re excited to ship in 2023.

…there’s more, but it’s currently confidential

If you thought the above list of innovation projects looked a little light compared to our first innovation week, you’d be… partially correct.

Last week we actually developed several more ideas than the four outlined here. However, for a number of reasons we’ve decided to keep these other projects under wraps. At least for now.

We know you’re going to love what we’re up to and you can rest assured that, when the time is right, you’ll be the first to receive additional details, have the opportunity to opt into EAPs, and provide your feedback. In the meantime: feel free to use your imagination!

What else we’re working on

As mentioned above, our innovation projects will be rolling out in 2023. In the meantime, we’re focused on getting a few final things shipped before the end of the year: namely our CRM integrations and new conversations functionality, both of which you can find on our roadmap.

Salesforce and HubSpot CRM integrations

Beginning with Salesforce and Hubspot CRM, we’re building new integrations that bring revenue data from your preferred CRM directly into LaunchNotes. These CRM integrations are some of our most requested, and we can’t wait to show you what the team is developing.

Interested in following our work on conversations? Subscribe to the roadmap item to be the first to know when it’s shipping.

Conversations for feedback

Conversations will enrich the product team’s understanding of what their customers are asking for by providing the opportunity to unearth additional context and dig in for more details–all with a few clicks. And customers will enjoy the benefit of being alerted when their feedback has been addressed, how it’s being addressed, and even who on the product team is responsible for addressing it. The ultimate win/win!

Interested in following our work on conversations? Subscribe to the roadmap item to be the first to know when it’s shipping.

Your feedback is the best possible Christmas gift!

As always, we greatly value your input on what we’re innovating on and building. Love the ideas we developed in our second innovation week? Have strong thoughts on what should be on our 2023 roadmap? Let us know! Please and thank you.

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