So my company is doing this cool thing: they’re giving every employee a tablet.

The idea is that we’re a tech company and can probably figure how to use them to improve efficiency or blah blah blah, and they’re cool and will make us happy. Yay!

So aside from making our existing tools work well on mobile and surfing the top apps/games lists in the AppStore, here’s a problem I want an app for:

Unproductive meetings

I’m talking about meetings where people keep talking in circles, refusing to converge to a decision. Or meetings where the chit chat is getting out of hand and some of us have actual work to do.

I’m guilty of this, too. Really.

Most people are too polite or non-confrontational to do anything so we need something that allows people to say, “hey let’s refocus here because this is all an epic waste of time” without actually saying it.

Imagine everyone sitting around the conference room table with their tablets blathering on. Now suppose everyone had an app running with the following features:

  • the meeting agenda
  • a place for minutes/action items
  • a timer showing how much time is left
  • a timer indicating how much money has been spent (labor) since the meeting began
  • a reminder tone very 25% of the duration of the meeting

Those are all highly collaborative with shared workspaces, etc. But these features are really just an excuse to deploy this:

  • anonymous voting buttons that allow anyone to make a statement

Maybe votes only activate something if two people vote…not sure. (It’s really just like voting to close questions on Stack Overflow.) I want to be able, with one or two taps, notify the group that things need to move on for some canned reason.

Reasons are simple things like:

  • off topic
  • not relevant to the group (i.e. you two go figure it out later and report back)
  • conclusion needed (i.e. what’s the action item from this thread of discussion)
  • other voices needed (i.e. share the podium, pal)

Does this exist? Thoughts?

(Apologies for any formatting issues or typos…I’m posting this from my phone.)


Brad Griffith said on 2011-12-04

Amazing idea, Michael. Are you going to develop the app? There are so many companies who could potentially invest or buy your technology. Let me know if you want a collaborator or a design & development team.

phixed said on 2011-12-08

That is an awesome idea. As a fellow developer, I can certainly relate on the “actual work to do” part. I too would be interested in hearing how serious you are about building something and wanting some help/collaboration.

Michael Haren said on 2012-02-06

On the topic of meetings, this book from the Domino Project is pretty great:

Read This Before Our Next Meeting by Al Pittampalli

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