The Buzz about HunchBuzz

A glimpse in to the beginnings and the story of a New Zealand Idea Management Software company.

Jennie Guzman is a Wellington based content writer/Comms student @Massey getting the lowdown on Innovation, Idea Management Software and Collaboration from one of NZ’s finest – HunchBuzz

When I sat down with Thomas Mitchell of HunchBuzz, I had no idea what to expect.. For the next twenty minutes, we discussed HunchBuzz Idea Management Software and how far it’s come from its early days of conception in late 2012. The company’s slogan is ‘where innovation begins’, and the values the company promotes are strongly ingrained in those who work at HunchBuzz.

HunchBuzz’s three pillars of success: Collaboration, Innovation & Engagement

The need to collaborate and innovate have always been some of the keys to running a successful company and being able to generate ideas from employees across the business can lead to solving an organisations biggest challenges. This allows a company to evolve and do what they do best by coming up with their own solutions.

Over recent years, Software based Collaboration/Innovation tools were eventually created to better communication between employees, breaking down traditional hierarchical limitations and silos that have previously existed(and in the main still do). Diversity of ideas generated from employees allowed companies to see perspectives they may have overlooked, as well as giving their employees a voice.

Hunchbuzz is an Idea Management Software platform that does just that – it creates a virtual space for people to begin generating ideas and communicating with one another in order for a problem to be solved. The company is New Zealand based, but it is its success over the past few years that has allowed it to become truly global with clients across North America, the UK and Australia with a particular niche in the Public Sector. Co-founders, Steve Graham and Thomas Mitchell, began the company in 2012 and has been evolving ever since.

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Hunchbuzz began, ironically, with an idea.

CEO Steve Graham has a background in innovation, ideation and change management and it was through running & facilitating workshops with some of NZ’s largest institutions where he’d see the staff become inspired and plaster the walls with post it notes with different ideas, to then seeing them be ripped down and not captured in any sort of meaningful way. He then latched onto the potential idea of a digital platform that could capture these employee insights and ideas that were previously being lost.

Through research, he found platforms, however on closer inspection found they were hard to use and most importantly at a price point that wasn’t viable for the NZ market, with some of these licences beginning at $100,000 US Dollars.

With that the decision was taken to build his own platform – HunchBuzz was born.

Graham then went on to hire Mitchell as a developer in 2012, where he spent the next two years building the platform from the ground up and eventually bought in to the company and became co-owner of Hunchbuzz.

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Steve Graham and Thomas Mitchell

“We want to make innovation accessible to lots of different organisations,” says Mitchell, “We’re a lower cost model than other providers however we’re much more at that scale of model where people can actually make a purchase and get started easily without the need for extensive training and drawn out deployment times, in a lot of cases less than 48 hours. HunchBuzz is not just exclusive to big organisations, with smaller local city councils using it with 200 employees”

“Something we’ve really worked hard on is stripping away all of the complexity and building a tool that’s really easy and accessible, while at a price-point that enables people to get started on their Innovation journey ,” says Mitchell, “you know the best ideas for Hunchbuzz actually come from our customers. We develop very little without it being for a customer or inspired by a particular customer. We very much offer a continuous integration, continuous feedback loop where the features that we developed are requested by our stakeholders.”

This dynamic approach to managing customers has meant the forming of strong, long term collaborative relationships with loyal customers, who in a lot of circumstances have become champions of HunchBuzz Idea Management Software and referred them new business opportunities.

Having such an accessible platform allows the customer to focus on the real point behind Hunchbuzz – Idea Management and Social innovation. It allows any organisation, big or small, to begin working together as a team and to reach those three pillars of success.

“What’s really exciting to see is that people are suggesting new ideas and getting other people jumping on board and saying, ‘yea that’s a good idea’, or ‘no that doesn’t work but have you thought about doing it this way’. A lot of the time it’s just about highlighting the problem, but then other people being able to come up with a solution together and that’s what we think is really important,” Mitchell states.

Hunchbuzz Idea Management Software is continually evolving with some exciting initiatives in the pipeline, one of which is the use of HunchBuzz in Education for Student led Innovation in Schools. The goal is to continue refining the platform, making it more automated and developing a more in depth ‘analytics’ dashboard. The large amounts of data that is currently being collected can be optimized, so customers are able to see key trends and themes over time and present meaningful insights to the C-Suite. Companies will be able to analyse data, and make improvements in the areas that they see highlighted.

The cherry on the cake is that Tom Mitchell has also recently been awarded the New Zealand Young IT Professional of the Year 2016 in recognition of his contribution not just to HB but also for advocacy for the wider IT industry in NZ

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Thomas Mitchell – HunchBuzz

The future is certainly bright for HunchBuzz.

For more information on HunchBuzz or Idea Management contact neil.meekin@hunchbuzz.com

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