by Chris Wollerman, Innova-Mobile eCEO

Inspire! has finally launched to the App Store!  I can’t think of a better place to celebrate with the Innova-Mobile team than Park City, Utah.  Not only did we just get over a foot of fresh powder for the team to ski and snowboard in, but this is the place where I drew up the original Inspire! screens on hotel stationary after an inspiring day on the slopes last February (2011).   

We started planning the Inspire! app after Steve Jobs presented the original iPad 1.0 in January of 2010.  Over the years, I’ve used a combination of paper planners and mobile devices to stay motivated and organized but never felt that it was totally dialed-in.  I stored my personal mission statement, work contribution statement, values, roles and goals in Microsoft Word and printed them out on occasion to help me re-connect and stay focused on my priorities but reading through the bulleted list didn’t always inspire me to take action and my paper planner wasn’t always with me when I needed it.  I bought all of the bleeding edge gadgetry I could to help including Palm Pilots, Windows CE devices, smart phones, etc. but they were too small or clunky to capture what I wanted to track.  The iPad seemed like an ideal format for capturing these things and combining them with images that would make them real.  Here were some of the  ideas I drew up after Jobs’ iPad 1 speech:

I’ve been disciplined at weekly planning for many years and wanted to share the success factors with my team and company but we needed an electronic tool that would make it easy for everyone to share and be consistent.  I asked one of our senior software managers and engineers, Jon, to put a mobile apps team together to tackle this problem on the iPad.  Jon and I met in 1989 when I joined his team at Lockheed Martin as a junior software developer.  He was an inspiring mentor who helped me love software development and understand the business of software project management.   This knowledge and passion helped me start InnovaSystems in 1997.  Jon began working for Innova in 1998 and has been the lead of many successful programs which have been used by thousands of people around the world.  He was the natural choice to lead the Inspire! team.  He worked with Adam, Amadeo and Noah to collaborate on a design for the app last winter.  A few months after I provided my hotel stationary mock-ups, the team presented me with this:

I was blown away by the beautiful design and knew we were on to something great.  The team spent the next four months building the app.  We started using it on our executive team to track our weekly objectives and immediately recognized the benefit.  In December, we rolled out Inspire! to our first pilot group of 25 Innova employee volunteers.  We provided them training on FranklinCovey’s 5 Choices of Extraordinary Productivity and Blanchard’s Situational Leadership II, asked them to use Inspire! with an accountability partner over a 5 week period and tell us how it went.  The response was overwhelming!  People were making statements such as “Inspire! has changed my life”, “Inspire! has made me a better parent and spouse”, “Inspire! is helping me with my quarterly goals”, etc.  We had the same response from two more pilot groups and now have over 100 employees using Inspire! ona daily basis.  With the app, we’re seeing better results with strategic goal achievement, employee engagement, life-balance and overall satisfaction than we ever have in our 15-year history.

Today, we come full-circle with the Innova-Mobile team by teaching them the same course we piloted with our other employees and are celebrating our launch to the App Store.  We plan to continue rolling out Inspire! to our remaining 250 employees over the next few months and helping other individuals and organizations realize similar success.