Idea #5: Manage Desktop Context for Increased Productivity

Idea

Desktop software that “plugs in” to the operating system and desktop frameworks to give the professional more control over the application instances by means of controlling visibility, location, and creation of application windows for particular contexts of focus and productivity. The user should be able to fully configure their own contextual needs, which should be based on activities they spend a majority of their time in (assessed on their own, not automatically). The user would toggle these contexts, shifting the visibility and location of application windows on their desktops and virtual desktops to meet the needs of the chosen context.

Problem Statement

The Internet brings with it a lot of excellent knowledge, communities, and has changed the face of business forever. But it also brings a lot of distraction. Since there is a never ending number of websites and applications for people to experience and play with, valuable focus time is lost. On desktop environments, users must continually fumble with moving their application windows around, and manage starting and stopping applications as their needs change. Users generally load the same applications and place their windows in approximately the same position repeatedly, day in and day out. Demanding and changing business needs (as well as personal interests and activities) force the user to increase the number of application instances and window movements dramatically. This leads to productivity loss, although minute and seemingly meaningless at the time, becomes excessive when added up over time. This really should be easily mitigated by the computer, and should not be a continual user process.

Additionally, users want to regulate themselves and keep themselves focused. Users, at times, would like to force themselves into focus so that they are more productive and at less risk of being distracted; the software should prevent any other activities from taking place while focusing in a particular context (“allow list”).

Example contexts:

  • Communication: email, web forums, instant messages
  • Development: IDE, web browser for research/documentation, web browser for looking at product and development progress, simulator
  • Design: Adobe software, requirements and mood sheets, web browser for research/documentation
  • Research: word processor, web browsers for research, RSS feed reader

Switching between the example contexts requires a lot of work, such as starting the needed applications, positioning them on the desktops and virtual desktops, laying them out across multiple monitors, and ending unnecessary applications.

A number of competitors exist to solve portions of these problems, but do not address the high level issue of changing contexts.

Market

Professionals and students who primarily use their desktop/laptop computers for work or research. Immediate submarket would be users who have identified a need to increase productivity and want to “get things done.”

Ideal candidates:

  • Software/Internet developers and designers
  • Investors
  • Students
  • Researchers & authors

Revenue Strategy

  • License purchases
  • Advertisements in limited¬†trialware/freeware version
  • Licensing to Operating System development companies (requires patents for protection!)
  • Sell code/rights to an Operating System development company

Feasibility

The product would require some lower (although not true low-level) access to system APIs, which seem to be accessible on most major platforms (OS X, Windows, Linux), and could be developed by an intermediate to expert desktop developer. Actual implementation is very feasible, with a caveat on proper user experience evaluation. Success of the product is largely determined by the market’s summed opinion of how easy it is to use with actual increase of perceived productivity level increase.

This product could only be sold to large Operating System companies if the market adopts it and patent protections are already in place. These companies have been known to implement popular boutique applications on their own since these protections were not already in place.

Value

Founder/Developer Value

  • Reasonable profitability and ROI

Investor Returns

  • Reasonable profitability and ROI

Business Customer Returns

  • Employees increase productivity which could increase profitability
  • Employees increase ability to focus which could increase quality

Employee/Public Returns

  • Increased productivity
  • Increased focus
  • Reduction of menial activity
  • Increased simplicity