I was the founding designer on a team of 6. We isolated an opportunity, ideated, and launched a video communication platform with a focus on better meeting structure, and AI assisted meeting topic summaries.
Remote meetings are broken. Zoom, Meet and Teams were doing an unsatisfactory job when everyone started working remote in 2021. Backed by our parent incubator, we dove into a discovery phase to break apart this huge problem.
Product Ideation, Product Validation, UX, UXR, UI, Branding, Marketing
Researching Effective Remote Meetings
I ran 4-5 interviews a week, with a synthesis session when we had enough insights to discuss. I like to write out the high level learnings on the same board and then brainstorm next steps from there. In some cases we would run a technical spike, in other we'd chase a particular problem area. We did this for roughly 3 months. Some of our high level learnings:
1. It's hard to catch up on missed conversations.
2. It's difficult scheduling meetings across time zones.
3. Many feel isolated from working at home and not in a physical office.
4. There is usually not enough visibility into what other teams are doing.
5. It's difficult to keep meetings focused on the agenda.
6. It's difficult to speak up in larger meetings.
7. Managers are typically invited to too many meetings. Repeat meetings are scheduled to share information.
At the same time, we were constantly trying new tools to see how the problems we discovered were being solved right now. Naturally, there were a lot of tools that focused on better meeting productivity. We also found a number of interesting tools that hooked into zoom/meet to better store information you collect during a meeting.
Brainstorming and Ideation
We spent weeks ideating on solutions for some of the problems we found. Ultimately, we had to find a balance between a market opportunity and some level of validation.
Initial Functional Prototype
Our first version was simply a web based video communication tool that allowed you to create an agenda before a meeting. We wanted to test out the value add for adding topics before a meeting - directly trying to solve for this learning: "It's difficult to keep meetings focused on the agenda".
Prototyping and Iteration
After many, many rounds we decided to start testing out some concepts that solved for more productive meetings. One of the bigger interaction challenges was creating a live meeting agenda during the meeting. We tried several approaches.
We found that most meetings need more fluidity. A basic checklist offered too much structure, and meeting attendees often disregarded it. So we moved into a new note model, which involved less structure. You could take general notes, or highlight specific ones to turn them into topics. Later, these actions would show up in the recording.
We learned that meetings notes were incredibly valuable if they drove the meeting without much facilitation. We leaned into collaborative editing, unfurling and smart content integrations, and even some AI suggested summaries of the discussion. I spent a number of iterations testing out this component to get it right.
We launched a meeting platform that offered team rooms with the ability to save and organize meetings, facilitate more structure during a meeting, and then provide a recording explorer that had all the helpful content organized in a searchable, sharable format.
Ultimately, after failing to secure funding, Kohort was acquired (along with our team) by an affiliated parent company and mostly repurposed for internal use. We shut it down for public use on May 12th, 2023.