Five years later, GroupMap’s real time online brainstorming tool is being used all over the world, by companies such as Deloitte Germany, locally by the Curtin University for supporting innovative teaching pedagogy thorough to Corporate teams who have found themselves suddenly remote.
We talked to Co-founder, Jeremy Lu, on what’s been happening at GroupMap, their second Software as a Service (SaaS) product and importantly, how their technology is being used for good at organisations such as Harvard and the International Water Association.
INCITE Awards: Thanks Jeremy for taking the time to chat to us today. For those unfamiliar with GroupMap, are you able to please provide a brief overview?
Jeremy: GroupMap is an online platform that effectively helps teams plan, brainstorm, discuss and decide on priorities. Essentially, it supports meetings with visual templates that capture what people think in an organised way. It helps keep the meeting on track and allows people who are more reflective and introverted to contribute. There are over 60 customisable templates for strategy, brainstorming, training and running workshops.
INCITE Awards: What was the reasoning behind GroupMap, and what problem were you trying to solve with this innovation?
Jeremy: The idea for GroupMap started when I was a lecturer at Curtin University. I wanted more engagement from my class that was not through Social Media, to reduce workload, promote thinking and facilitate discussions easily – face to face or online! So we built a product that allowed people to design their canvas and their process that helped people “think better together”.
We wanted to make conversations more focussed and productive. So we created a real time collaboration and group brainstorming tool that was flexible enough to support a wide range of activities when you need to facilitate brainstorming sessions.
INCITE Awards: What have been some of the highlights or milestones for GroupMap?
Jeremy: There’s been many but the ones that keeps standing out for me include:
- Having our platform used by over 13,000 people globally with a not for profit organisation client as part of their problem solving campaign;
- Custom development of GroupMap for Deloitte Germany’s Centre for Long Vision who look at scenario planning and innovation into the future as a consultancy service.
- More recently being involved with COVID-19 issues around patient advocacy.
Recently, GroupMap has been involved with Harvard University, helping educators and researchers on a project around school absenteeism. Our platform is being used for teacher training and professional development on this important issue.
The International Water Association through the global facilitators for the Water Harmony Global Network (Water Harmony) and researchers for the Norwegian University of Life Sciences (NMBU) to run online webinars for educators, researchers, suppliers, engineers and experts to explore water cybersecurity scenarios and best practice.
Knowing that the technology we developed from the world’s most remote city is being used by organizations and teams to create change, do good and just help bring teams and people to think better together is an amazing feeling.
Based on our customer usage, We also launched TeamRetro which is all about supporting Agile Retrospective and team health checks! The up tick on that has been keeping us busy and excited about how we develop in this space. We have organisations with 40 to 60 teams on board and we already have a strong presence in Europe, especially Germany and the UK.
INCITE Awards: Why did you enter the INCITE Awards in 2015 and did you achieve your goal?
Jeremy: Back in 2015, GroupMap was relatively new to the market in WA. So we wanted to showcase the innovation in our technology, get recognition at peer level and importantly, see what other people think about GroupMap.
In other words, get validation that we have something useful to offer. The INCITE Awards being the State’s most prestigious and longest running Awards program was the obvious choice to get this validation.
By being part of the Awards we were able to proudly say we were part of it and were finalists. We were then nominated as iAwards candidates and were finalists in their Education category also.
While we didn’t “win” as such, it was more about the process, meeting great people, appreciating the success and recognising the efforts of the team. In any case, we proudly wear the badge so to speak and remain grateful to the wonderful crew that make up INCITE.
INCITE Awards: Any advice for those currently going through the Awards now and into the future?
Jeremy: Enjoy the experience! Congratulate yourself and the team and don’t forget to celebrate the success you have already achieved irrespective of the result. The journey is just as important. Reach out to people who you think share the same passion, values and can be a support network.
In terms of those pitching in the future, Find your own space and angle. Go with what you feel most comfortable with when considering all the feedback. It’s amazing to have mentors share their insight and experience but it can be overwhelming so the best pitch is the one you create for yourself. A pitch does not make the business, you do.
INCITE Awards: What’s next for GroupMap?
Jeremy: Well due to the current pandemic and everyone having to reconsider the way they work now and into the future, we are seeing a growth period for our platform and services.
We are also co-authoring a book called Architecting Collaboration: Going Beyond Online Meetings with CEO’s of other online platforms and a Director of the IAF.
Right now however, we are focussing on making sure that we help onboard new customers quickly, support the ones who are working and transition well and listening to their feedback. A lot of our product development… actually 90% of it is driven by customer requests so we are continuing to build and iterate features for future releases based on what they need.
INCITE Awards: One last question on general advice for businesses during COVID-19?
Jeremy: For us, like any other time, it’s all about making sure that you and your teams are healthy and well. So invest and protect your number one – your teammates. Equally as important, be there for your customers, listen to them and support them through difficult times where you can. Use this time to reflect, explore your humanity, use technology where needed and innovate.
Thanks Jeremy for your time. For more information or to trial GroupMap for 14 days FREE, please head to: https://www.groupmap.com/