Moving toward the future of work.
“Time is the greatest innovator.” Sir Fancis Bacon.
Deb was leading an extremely challenging strategic project for a large technology company involving senior executives from multiple divisions based across the globe. She needed to get these people together in the same room for two days to develop strategies and make decisions. After two months of trying to corral everyone in the same place at the same time, her frustration level was hitting new highs. Then things got worse, although from adversity would come determination to overcome these obstacles once and for all.
Day One: Thwarted
It was Christmas 2009 and Deb contracted H1N1 Influenza. Those who know her recognize that a 104 degree fever and confinement to bed was not going to stop Deb; she was going to use that time to her advantage. She spent a full day online, searching for software that would allow her to bring the executives together virtually so they wouldn’t have to physically meet. It had to be accessible to attendees based around the world, it had to function on different time zones, it had to have a provision that allowed stakeholders to openly discuss contentious issues, it had to allow people to get work done between teleconference calls, it had to be cost effective and it had to offer good ROI. The problem was, after searching she realized the product she wanted didn’t exist.
Day Two: Epiphany
Deb designed Powernoodle, drawing on all of her experience to create the ideal platform to facilitate decision making that was faster, more creative, inclusive and reduced risk. She’d worked for IBM and was part of that company’s change management team as it transitioned from a product-aligned to industry-aligned business strategy. She’d overseen the first collaborations of pharmaceutical organizations and patients in highly successful online communities. As a cofounder of Digital Opportunity Trust, she’d grappled with the difficulties in getting officials and community organizations from countries such as Kenya, Lebanon and Jordan to work toward common goals to achieve new economic opportunities through technology. She witnessed the internal struggles teachers had in expressing their challenges and discomfort as they adapted to new technologies, and how this impeded the way forward on school reform.
Deb had seen firsthand how valuable having a diverse group of people engaged as part of a decision-making team is, but also how difficult that ideal was to achieve.
Powernoodle was conceived to leverage the diversity within an organization and to encourage the creative solutions that are only possible when everyone involved in the project feels comfortable in actively participating. At the same time that cultural, societal and personal barriers were removed, Deb also designed Powernoodle to eliminate the issues that come with physical distance between participants —a growing problem with globalization and outsourcing. And while Powernoodle incorporates a step-by-step approach that effectively guides those who are new to leading team interactions (keeping the project on track to completion with a repeatable process), it’s also a powerful platform that supports professional facilitators and consultants.
Day Three: Verify
Deb wrote up the business plan. Knowing that every organization, company and group faced (or would soon face) the same challenges she had, a platform like Powernoodle would have widespread application.
Day Four: Beginnings
She was at the bank withdrawing money to launch Powernoodle. We hope that her story inspires you to change the way you interact, innovate, collaborate and meet.
“Man is a creature of hope and invention, both of which belie the idea that things cannot be changed.” Tom Clancy.