The post-Inspire buzz is beginning to fade, but the wild ideas that have sprung forth from this week of learning and mayhem are only just beginning!!
I had the honor of hosting the FABULOUS "Where the Wild Ideas Are" panel at Inspire where we talked about how to make our wild ideas come to life, and there were SO MANY great tips and ideas, we wanted to make sure to share them here for posterity! (And because when you write things down, they're far more likely to happen. Which is why we all love to check things off our to-do lists.)
Our panelists had a lot of advice about how to move an idea from "harebrained pipe dream" to "super incredible awesome thing that I just built", including:
- @NicoleJohnson : Stop calling it "impossible"... if you break up your idea into enough tiny pieces, no one piece will be impossible. Solve each piece individually, then string them together at the end! (Remind you of an Alteryx workflow, anyone?)
- @DavidW : Act, Evaluate, Learn, Repeat... the idea development life cycle is an iterative one, so make sure you are constantly evaluating and learning from your trials, successes, and failures.
- @Hollingsworth : Find your Allies... get to know the people who will be champions for your idea, especially those who are hungry for a challenge and the chance to work on something exciting and innovative with you. And don't wait to start - make up phony data as a placeholder if you need to... but by developing that Proof of Concept early on, you might have just the evidence you need to help make that sales pitch to management that much easier to make!
- @AlexKo : Make some noise!... if you're not vocal about the changes you want to see happening, it's hard for others to get behind your idea. Remember: The squeaky wheel gets the grease!
- @KatieH : Tell your story... when trying to gain buy in from stakeholders, make sure you paint the picture from the very beginning of why this is so important. Storytelling helps others get a clear idea where you are going and is one of the best ways to communicate your overall vision.
- @andrewdatakim : Sketch it out first... by drawing out the high-level view, you won't get bogged down in the details and lose sight of your overall vision. Using apps like GoodNotes to sketch out your idea (or, in dire circumstances, the proverbial back-of-the-napkin...) can help you wrap your mind around your idea/process as a whole, in addition to providing a way to more easily share that idea with others.
We started our discussion by highlighting ways that users can share and support ideas throughout the Alteryx Community - including providing suggestions about how to improve the Community itself! The panelists also discussed some excellent ways to grow a culture of innovation in our own organizations, through fun company-wide events like Innovation Days (which generates a surprising number of feature improvements for the Alteryx platform itself!), or by encouraging a "hacker" mentality and providing avenues for people to explore their own wild ideas - even if they are just a department of one. It was a well-timed session too, since we had just seen the Product team demo some exciting new features in the opening Keynote (many of which originated from user ideas on the Community Ideas forum, and were then developed during Alteryx Innovation Days!)... and given @LDuane's recent post about ways to create competition and encourage innovation through events like those outlined in the Alteryx Data Challenge Playbook, there are some excellent resources available on the Alteryx Community to help start a revolutionary idea-factory in your own organizations.
At the end of our session, our panelists shared some of their own current wild ideas, including:
David: Make all of Alteryx scriptable through SDK/API - from creating and populating a workflow with tools to updating settings on an existing workflow!
John: Create an XML parser that would help analyze your organization's workflows to identify common patterns of tools... they could then be turned into macros or best practices that could be used company-wide as a way to prevent every user from having to "reinvent the wheel"!
Alex: Gamifying the Community experience within Designer, by rewarding users with badges for the things they are doing within Designer to demonstrate their competency and expertise, or suggesting Community posts or certifications that might be pertinent to them based on their actual Alteryx usage.
Katie: Guided workflow documentation - a simple & elegant way to add documentation notes to your workflow as you build it, and then the ability to feed those notes into a report that will automatically share important/high-level information about what is happening in your workflow (what inputs are included, what logic is being applied, what to do with the outputs, etc.)
Andrew: Including public data sources (such as Data.gov) as default Inputs in Alteryx, allowing everyone to easily access the massive public data resources publicly available in order to complement their private data (and/or for those who are just looking for fun data to play with!).
We also asked our audience to submit some of their own wild ideas, which included awe-inspiring initiatives like "Automate the management of shared email boxes for customer service," "Expand Alteryx across the finance departments," "Streamline the monthly close process - without VLOOKUPS!!" and "Building a truly digital finance organization through the combined power of Alteryx and PowerBI." We also received a ton of suggestions for new & improved features within Alteryx itself, like some of the following super-cool feature ideas:
Our "Wild Ideas" session was definitely filled with some wild ideas, but more importantly, it was packed with incredible Alteryx enthusiasts who are now armed after a week of Inspire to make their totally-achievable dreams come to life!! Thanks again to my lovely panelists for giving us some of the tools we need to launch our idea revolutions - putting your brilliant minds together on this panel to share your insights was certainly an excellent idea... :)
NJ - Queen of the Wild Things
PS. Extra thank you to @DanM for helping wrangle us panel members... and for bringing such an excellent hat.
Dan has so many ideas for the Community in his head, he needed the extra large hat to help contain them.