3 innovation principles we can learn from on-demand expert app Fountain


Have you ever found yourself Googling for answers to fix things on your own, or browsing page after page of answers on Quora, only to end up feeling frustrated by the overwhelming amount of (sometimes conflicting and irrelevant) information?

Imagine what you could do if you had live video access to the best experts instantly.

Enter the new Fountain app – a disruptive approach to get expert answers in real time. From the founder of mint.com, Aaron Patzer created Fountain to help you solve any problem in and around your home by connecting you over video chat in about 90 seconds to an expert such as an architect, or appliance repair-person. You would think that this service would be expensive, but at a reasonable $7 for 15 minutes, it’s the perfect compromise between hiring a contractor to come to your home (which could take you back $150-200/hour), and trying desperately to solve a problem by yourself through trawling online forums.

In Patzer’s words, “You can research a lot of this stuff on Google, but if you want to figure out how to stain your deck, it depends on if it’s in Phoenix or Maine, right? There are a lot of times where you need video or pictures and you need a back-and-forth conversation to really hone in on the right answer. That’s where Fountain is tremendously powerful.”

Fountain makes use of some clever success principles that we can learn to disrupt and improve the typical innovation process:

  1. Real-time, content-rich dialogue

Fountain shows us that you don’t need to spend hours on research and pre-planning to get the answers you need, and the power of instant dialogue. If we concentrate feedback windows into shorter bursts, using content rich platforms such as live screen sharing and video, we can access the people we want to talk to instantly and have rich conversations with them to push ideas to the next level quickly with minimum hassle.

  1. Speedy and rich feedback from those who matter the most

Fountain has a vigorous screening process for the experts they engage, so the asker knows they will get help and guidance from the most authoritative people when they post a question. Similarly, if we have a new way to screen consumers in real time using pre-defined criteria, we can kick off consumer conversations on the same day, and be confident we are talking to the right people.

  1. Low risk and low cost

At $7 for 15 minutes, Fountain has cracked a new pricing model that makes it attractive for users to try the service with minimum risk. We know cost is a very real and practical concern for companies who want to test ideas and get feedback with consumers earlier without breaking budgets. We believe the time is ripe for a new business model around idea testing and harvesting – with lower investment, and quicker results.

With $4MM in first round funding already in the bag, Fountain is off to a fantastic start. We look forward to applying these success principles to help our innovation partners get feedback from those who matter in a fast and more effective way. To learn more about our latest platform that leverages these principles to connect with consumers for instant feedback globally and in real-time, explore with the button below.

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