One of our team members did an undergraduate team building workshop, where she learned a parallel and anonymous idea generation exercise. It was one of the most efficient and effective idea generation sessions she had, and she loved how much it allowed for everyone to contribute ideas. The user interface was difficult, however, which she wanted to change.
What it does
Our Floor web application allows for team members to anonymously submit ideas in live time. This allows for team members to quietly and thoughtfully think of ideas, while being inspired by other team member's ideas. After everyone is done submitting (which is controlled by the person who creates the floor), team members are prompted to go through a series of brainstorming exercises, in which they use different "hats" or perspectives to comment on each other's (anonymous) ideas. The first is the yellow hat, which is when team members can provide positive feedback on each other's ideas. The second is the black hat, which is when team members can provide negative feedack, and the final is the blue hat, which is when team members share strong emotional reactions to certain ideas. After they are all done doing this, team members have a total of 10 votes to vote on ideas they find the most promising. They can use however many or little votes as they want per idea. This ultimately creates a "heat map" that represents how popular each idea is to team members.
Our Floor aims to help quieter individuals have their opinions and thoughts heard, in a safe and anonymous environment.
How we built it
We built a React web tool, using Node.js backend. We utilized a skeleton code from an introductory web development class.
For the backend, we used a Cloud Firestore database in conjunction with a socket system to update ideas in real-time for all participating users, so that everyone can share their ideas with each other anonymously!
Challenges we ran into
We ran into several challenges. Several of us had a little bit of web development experience, but we didn't remember much. Re-learning and finding the efficient ways to do things was non-trivially difficult, especially when they are as complicated as WebSockets or React. Debugging in a virtual environment also proved to be challenging because we needed to have extra clear communication skills to convey what we were struggling with.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
We're proud of this working web application! We worked hard to finish it, and we are very proud of the fact that it is finished. We are also proud of our strong teamwork and completing this project the weekend before we all had to go back to our lovely school campus.
What we learned
We learned that building is fun, especially in a team that communicates and works well together. Interestingly enough, we had actually come up with making this project while following this idea generation structure on Google Slides. The collaboration that was required during the idea generation process set up a really good foundation for our team, and made us really excited to build!!
We also had a great time learning about Cloud Firestore and using their data storage for our project.
What's next for Our Floor
We are already in the talks of adding additional features and making our app look more visually appealing. We really want to add a "hat" feature where users can add hat stickers of the appropriate color to their idea cards. This way, users can keep track of which of their ideas they've talked about, and in what frame of mind. We also want to add more functionality, like being able to edit the ideas once they're submitted, because we understand that ideas can build upon each other.