Online Lab For Brands To Co-Create With Customers

Online Lab For Brands To Co-Create With Customers

PSFK spoke about the Future Of Gaming with the co-founder of Napkin Labs, an online lab space for brands to turn engage customers into valuable research and design resources.

Timothy Ryan, PSFK Labs
  • 2 november 2011

The PSFK consulting team has noticed that collaborative, online platforms aimed at solving problems are incorporating gaming mechanics and challenges as a way to encourage people to participate and continue contributing over time.

One company operating in this space is Napkin Labs–a company that offers a customizable, dedicated online lab space where brands can turn engaged customers into valuable research and design resources. To begin, the platform taps into the fans and followers brands have earned across social media, enabling brands to engage customers with activities and tasks which incorporate game mechanics. Every project is run as a contest, with contributors to each brand’s lab rewarded ‘influence’ points for each suggestion. Contributions are then ranked on a leader board of players,  and rewarded with incentives that range from money to merchandise. PSFK spoke to the co-founder and CEO of Napkin Labs, Riley Gibson.

Please provide a brief introduction about yourself and your company.

My name is Riley Gibson and I am the co-founder and CEO of Napkin Labs, a Boulder based technology company that is creating tools to bridge the gap between brands and their customers.  Napkin Labs’ technology provides a simple platform for companies to create online co-creation communities to run collaborative challenges with influential customers.

Please tell us about Napkin Labs. What is the idea and goal behind the platform?

Napkin Labs is about connecting brands with their customers.  Customers are the greatest untapped resource for creative inspiration and ideas for brands and Napkin Labs is giving companies the tools to unlock that creative force.  In many ways, we are turning work into a game and allowing people to share their ideas and earn status and rewards in the process from the brands they love.


What has been the audience reaction? Can you share any stats around user engagement?

Our time on site per visit rivals that of online games – yet people are sharing ideas and insights with brands and actually being productive.

We have been noticing that collaborative, online platforms aimed at solving problems are incorporating gaming mechanics and challenges as a way to encourage people to participate and continue contributing over time, what are your thoughts on this? Do you see this trend manifesting on a larger scale? 

Mass collaboration is one of the most profound trends of our time.  There is an unprecedented amount of knowledge that exists and collaboration on a mass scale helps all of us connect the dots and work alongside a diverse network of people to solve problems and to create new things.  Game mechanics provide a framework through which to incentivize and motivate individuals to work together.  By making work a game, we are putting a massive untapped market for ideas and solutions to work on many of the worlds toughest challenges. One of the coolest examples I can think of is –the first game to solve a longstanding scientific problem that will help with AIDS research.

What other trends within or around gaming have you noticed?

One of the trends I am seeing is that gaming is going beyond superficial points and badges, and actually becoming a way to build a reputation and even a career online.  It is being integrated into the fabric of work and play.

Thanks Riley!

Napkin Labs


Machine Printer Uses Coffee Drips To Create Intricate Portraits

Arts & Culture
Technology Yesterday

Why Nest Doesn't Get The Holidays

PSFK founder reacts to the damaging effects of poor email marketing

Children Yesterday

Robots Could Be Joining Dubai’s Police Force In 2017

The real-life RoboCops can salute, shake hands and collect traffic fines


Get PSFK's Related Report: Future of Automotive

See All
Travel Yesterday

Parka Hides And Charges Portable Devices

Bolt is a jacket that lets people carry and charge their various electronics without the need for an outlet

Food Yesterday

Yelp's New 'Yelfie' Feature Lets Diners Take Selfies

The update is designed to encourage people to attach a selfie when they share their experiences

Design & Architecture Yesterday

Build Your Own Savory Cheese Advent Calendar

A British food blogger has created a guide to building a different kind of holiday surprise

Fitness & Sport Yesterday

Floating Gym Concept In Paris Is Powered By Your Workout

The proposed design from Carlo Ratti Associati lets passengers ride a stationary bike as they travel through Paris along the Seine River


Future Of Retail 2017
Transformation Strategies For Customer-First Business

PSFK Op-Ed november 22, 2016

Digital Strategist: Why “Big Sensing” Is Key To Retail’s Future

Bud Caddell, Founder of NOBL, shares why the most capable and useful asset in any retail environment is the workforce

PSFK Labs december 1, 2016

Retail Spotlight: Home Depot Reimagines How Employees Conduct Tasks

The home improvement retailer puts the customer first by initiating local fulfillment centers and simplifying freight-to-shelf inventory management

Syndicated Yesterday

What Does The Future Of Android Look Like In A World With The Pixel?

Google’s decision to make its own phone might have looked like a blow to the likes of Samsung but the reality is much more interesting

Retail Yesterday

Customer Service Expert: Why Offline Retail Has Better Data Than Online Retail

Healey Cypher, Founder and CEO of Oak Labs, shares why we should be thinking about the physical store as an e-commerce site

Fashion Yesterday

Alexander McQueen Designs A 3D-Printed Umbrella

3D-printed fashion arrives in time for the winter season

Work Yesterday

Why Training Associates To Be Advocates Is Key To Retail Success

In our Future of Retail 2017 report, PSFK Labs discusses strategies to prioritize customer service, which begins with associate advocates

Media & Publishing Yesterday

Netflix Creates Binge Candle To Celebrate A New Season Of Gilmore Girls

The streaming service developed a special layered candle that creates candle with episode-specific smells


Future Of Work
Cultivating The Next Generation Of Leaders

Arts & Culture Yesterday

Interactive Film Tells A Story About Living With Cancer

A moving song written by a father of a cancer patient comes alive in a 3D environment

Automotive Yesterday

Audi And LEGO Exhibit Autonomous Vehicle Installation

The installation at Design Miami explores the 25th hour, which represents bonus productive work or play time

No search results found.