Chad Reynolds is an idea man. The DAAP graduate specialized in branding and design strategies as owner of design innovation agency Crush Republic, which is just one of many start-ups he’s been behind. If your company needed an infusion of creativity, he was the guy you’d hire.
Soon enough, he realized that what companies needed most wasn’t an innovation consultant, but a way to harness their employees’ creativity. Reynolds launched Batterii
two years ago and the company which started as “just me in a room,” soon drew in co-founder and programmer Nick Franceschina.
The company’s first client was Nike Inc., and Batterii now employees 18 staffers and has raised $800,000 in seed funding from CincyTech
, company executives and an undisclosed investor. Mike Venerable, CincyTech’s managing director of digital, information and health technology, explains, “Batterii’s approach gives companies wanting to innovate an entirely new tool for broad engagement in the development of new products, new markets and improved internal processes.”
Batterii, in short, is a web-based, social-media-like, software as a service offered to businesses small and large. Having already tapped Silicon Valley executive Kevin Cummins to serve as CEO earlier this year – Cummins invested $250,000 of his own money into the venture – Reynolds says he also hopes to lure companies from Cincinnati’s burgeoning portfolio of tech start-ups.
“What we’re doing is taking the creative energy of employees and giving them an opportunity to build their passion and personal interest into something that helps the company succeed,” Reynolds says.
The platform is also a way of conserving employees’ creative energy. Instead of locking a designated creative team in a conference room, companies can sign up all of their employees, create measurable, goal-driven challenges and pull points of interest and inspiration from staff and consumers (think social-media charged focus groups).
So, if a company’s goal is to develop a new product, it can present this as a challenge, and use employee-gathered points of interest (which can be loaded as photos or tagged online) to define its next steps using a community-driven approach.
By Robin Donovan