ThinkTank is a cloud-based platform for leaders and teams to drive to amazing outcomes. This digital engagement systems helps companies companies cut through organizational politics and social bias, tear down silos, and reduce conflicts to align and engage distributed teams to execute faster.
Our challenge was to meet a board directive to protoype a new disruptive feature in 5 weeks. Based on deep UX field research and customer interviews over the previous 7 months, I suggested we break down language barriers that come from non-native speakers participating in live collaborative sessions, such as brainstorming.
Week 1 - UX Research
To kick off, the product manger and I conducted 1 week of UX research including interviews with users from around the world. A few quotes:
When using ThinkTank, the nuances are very important and quality is most important! The facilitator must trust the translation.
Global customers believed the concept would alleviate some of the cultural/ language barriers to result in better participation and outcomes.
If it works, the Return On Investment for the customer could be substantial.
AI services in natural language processing, language translation, and dialogue could provide live translation across participant languages to get to better outcomes much faster. Possibly reducing total session time from 4 weeks down to 1 week. With my IBM Watson experience, I knew this could be a game changer!
Understand Translation Quality
With quality being the biggest potential show-stopper, over the next two days I leveraged my network of friends, family, and co-workers, who were native in other languages to test live translation services and APIs. The goal was to determine which service provided the best quality. Testing included Danish, Portuguese, Spanish, and Persian (Farsi), using Bing, Google, IBM Watson, and Yandex.
Google translate proved to be the best at understanding nuances and not translating words incorrectly.
Week 2 — My Concept Story
The persona, Nancy, is leading an implementation of a Human Resource Transformation project.
Simultaniously as a contributor, our persona Jose, is able to collaborate in Portuguese.
Weeks 3 to 5 — Coding and QA
Customers loved the concept. Facilitators could save days off preparation, reporting, and leading to better outcomes. In the end, translation between two languages was feasible, but no translation service was robust enough to simultaniously localize between all of ThankTank’s supported languages. A few customers continue to run research projects with ThankTank to see how AI technology can improve their collective intelligence.