BOULDER, CO--(Marketwire - Aug 24, 2011) - Companies understand that they should interact with their customers online, and many start with Facebook and Twitter. But what happens after customers become followers? There used to be no easy way for companies to have deeper conversations with customers around things like product development, design concepts, or even just insights on what they're doing right or wrong. Today, Napkin Labs is changing that with a brand new version of its platform.

The new Napkin Labs is an online lab space where companies can invite customers in to become a creative army of designers, marketers, product developers or general idea machines. The platform uses activities (or apps within the lab), game dynamics and intuitive design to make it easy for companies to lead their customers on a journey to inspire new ideas and make their opinions heard.

"Our community within Napkin Labs produced a wide spread of unique and thoughtful responses," said Julia Framel of Sony Design Center, who used the beta version of the platform for a project. "I enjoyed observing how far the community was willing to go to deliver productive results."

Here's how it works:

  • Activities and apps. Within each company's lab, apps guide customers through activities that range from answering a simple question (What do you think of minimalist shoes?) to soliciting feedback (How can we improve this shoe's design?) to doing an all-out video fact-finding mission (Interview runners on why they use minimalist shoes). Companies can customize what a project will look like by adding apps to change a customer's experience. Napkin Labs is consistently adding new apps to give companies a range of activities to help them understand their customers in different ways.

  • Game dynamics. Every company's project is a game, where customers are encouraged to contribute ideas and insights. Contributors to a company's lab get rewarded with 'influence' points for every suggestion they make for a project, ranking them on a leaderboard of everyone in the game. When a project wraps, every contributor gets a slice of a reward a company chooses to offer (things like money, merchandise, or recognition and glory).

  • Intuitive design. Napkin Labs is a simple, web-based platform that lets companies customize the experience customers get: from the welcome message; to the background, logos and colors of a lab; to the activities they'll complete. Unlike confusing collaboration platforms, it's easy to set up and guide customers through activities to get a specific outcome, such as refining an existing advertising campaign.

"Napkin Labs gives companies the resources they need to turn passive fans into an active workforce for new insights and ideas," said Riley Gibson, CEO of Napkin Labs. "Companies rarely can hire a group of 100 designers or advertising specialists when a project is in its early stages. Involving the customer in shaping what a company does next creates a much deeper bond of trust over time."

About Napkin Labs
Napkin Labs makes your social networks more valuable by turning passive fans into an active workforce for new insights and ideas. We used to be agency people, and saw that focus groups are expensive and inefficient in the age of social media. So we created a new kind of service that helps companies bring their existing online communities into a virtual lab space where they can test out concepts and designs, ask questions, and brainstorm new ideas. Creating something new is as easy as inviting customers in at

Contact Information:

Erica Orthmann
(617) 945-1251


Anna Farnum
(617) 945-0522


Kevin Leahy
(617) 945-1567