An exciting new phase begins for Poken.

Poken has been pioneering the use of NFC+ devices and mobile applications to create the world’s first “touch” based marketing platform – which it sees as the next frontier in the delivery of complete end-to-end customer experiences for events, promotions and tradeshows.

Our revolutionary marketing solutions have been recently recognized by the World Mobile Congress, where the Poken team won “Best Innovation in Mobile Advertising”, beating six other nominees, including Google Wallet and innovations by other big names from the mobile industry.

Sri Chilukuri - Poken's new CEO

With increasing traction worldwide for our “touch” based marketing business model, along with a successful $2m fundraising, Poken has hired a new “growth stage” CEO, Sri Chilukuri, who will lead the company into the next phase of its development. A long-time Silicon Valley native, Sri spent 10 years at Adobe as a GM, then enjoyed stops at VA Linux, and Xerox before starting Content Circles, which was sold to Skype last June. Jeff Heywood, another Silicon Valley veteran, is also joining Poken as CFO.

Poken’s founder and current CEO, Stéphane Doutriaux, remains with the company as Chief Technology Officer and will head up Poken’s innovation centers in Product and Engineering.

Additionally, on April 1st, Poken will move its headquarters to Palo Alto, California. The new senior management team will help structure and accelerate growth in the US market, while addressing the needs of large industry partners, such as Standard Register Healthcare, Microsoft, Nokia and PWC.

Poken is proud to officially welcome Sri and Jeff. Their addition to the team marks the beginning of an exciting new phase for our business.

High four!

What makes a company successful?

By Stéphane Doutriaux

From the onset, Poken has been driven by passion. The utility that we’ve built into our products derives from a passionate desire to make things simpler, more colorful, more social, and more fun.

Making things simple, fun and social can only be done by people who have those traits within them. The energy that flows between all members of our team is what is delivered into our products and our business.

But how do we keep this positive energy flowing? How do we communicate it throughout our organization, so that it can be replicated by all those joining us?

I’ve been asked many times to show an organization chart, but it just didn’t feel right to show it in a traditional, pyramid form. I couldn’t figure out how to effectively communicate how ideas flow, how process flow, and how information circulates to make things happen.

I searched online and found caricatures of the structure of organizations that we hate, that we love, and that we love to hate (you can guess which one). And it got me thinking about how Poken could be characterized.

Click on the image to see it in a larger size.

I took our old org chart, which already had people’s faces, names, and position, and also included many of our partners. I cut it all up with a pair of scissors, and started placing people back onto a large white poster, in a way that showed how they relate to each other in our everyday interactions. I used colorful markers to show how projects flow, how ideas bounce from one person to the next, how they get validated and then turn into awesome new features and products that ultimately get delivered to our customers. And that is how the FlorgChart(TM) was born.

The FlorgChart shows the organization in a way that highlights information flow and processes (hence the Flow-orgChart). The inputs are customer needs as expressed by our sales partners, and strategy as defined by a number of people involved in making sure we’re all aligned on a big objective, providing general direction. On the chart at left, these look like a stem and water flowing alongside.

Click here to download a large PDF of the FlorgChart.

The core teams are illustrated as colorful ovals. What we create flows outward: tools for our partners to deliver customers (B-to-B) campaigns, a consumer-focused user hub, mobile apps, and an informative website. All of these are offshoots of the collaborative effort. They grow out from the core, nourished by new ideas, by customers and by new people joining at the stem, providing our lifeblood (sales!) through the roots of this growing organism.

While it may look complicated at first, I encourage you to take a good, detailed look at it. What makes Poken special, and attracts such awesome people, is the collaborative nature of our organization – within the core, and beyond as we live in symbiosis with our partners.

This gets us back to how our organization can be characterized. You’ve all noticed it by now the FlorgChart happens to be in the shape of a flower. In all its symbolism, Poken is a flower that is growing thanks to many nourishing elements, and some powerful forces.

Positive energy cannot be artificially created. We need to feel it. And that comes from living by a set of values that we respect and that we aspire to share with others. Values drive culture, culture drives employee fulfillment, fulfillment drives satisfaction, and satisfaction drives creativity and productivity.

And that’s what makes a company successful.

Improve participant engagement at your event through “touch” voting.

Online blogs and digital media benefit from easy feedback systems, such as “starring videos” on Vimeo and YouTube, and “liking” blog posts, pictures and other media with the simple click of a mouse. This feedback is invaluable to the content creator, and it plays an important role in the viral spread of information.

In the event world, traditional surveys are paper-based, which makes them inflexible and time-consuming to evaluate. They often result in inconsistent data, as participants are asked to provide feedback in bulk, rather than gradually, as they experience the event. Electronic based feedback systems have overcome some of these problems, but to be effective, they need to be simple, inviting, and user-friendly. For the organizer, deploying a feedback system needs to be uncomplicated, fast, flexible and reliable.

In November 2011, Swisscom – Switzerland’s leading telecommunications provider – was looking for a new way to get real-time feedback at its annual innovation fair (INOfair). The organizers wanted a feedback system that would provide effortless evaluation of the demos presented at 45 booths. In addition, they wanted to engage participants through an interactive game to increase participation in its visitor survey.

By using a series of “starred” pokenTAGs placed on each demo kiosk, Swisscom used Poken’s platform to obtain instant feedback from the 900+ visitors. Equipped with a Swisscom branded poken, participants could “like” or “star” the exhibits by simply touching the appropriate tag. Visitors could also use their poken to collect information about the innovations, and to exchange their contact details with each other.

The experience, for the participant, was much like browsing media on the Web. They walked around, looked at different exhibits, and “touched” here and there to vote on the ones they liked.

Each demo booth had 5 pokenTAGs: 4 for voting and 1 for “liking” the demo on Facebook. Using Poken’s Leaderboard Widget, a set of big-screen TVs displayed attractive infographics with the survey results, in near real-time, showing the ranking of the most popular demos and the most active participants, who were rewarded for their level of engagement.

The stats stored in the pokenTAGs were downloaded periodically by event staff by simply touching each tag with an Android phone equipped with Poken’s Mobile Admin App for event managers. Using Near Field Communication technology, the phone offloads the data, within seconds, when it touches a tag. The data is synced wirelessly and appears instantly on the dynamic graphics projected on the TV screens.

Since November, many other customers have used Poken’s platform as a voting and feedback system. During its Research Center Events (Helsinki, Beijing, San Francisco), Nokia used Poken’s Leaderboard Widget to enable visitors to rate their favorite speakers and demos, as well as to collect digital information. To further engage visitors, Nokia used game mechanics and rewarded the most active participants.

Check out the Poken experience at INOfair 2011 and at the Nokia Research Center Event by watching the video bellow.


[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NKh4F1H3myM]