Kai Forsyth

Starting small, with quicker impact

At Intercom, we have this idea of starting with a cupcake with how we approach solving problems. This translates to our desire to explore potential solutions broadly, but think pragmatically about how we can test, validate and learn if a solution is successful as quickly as possible.

Recently through my work on our app ecosystem, we had the challenge of exploring how we could get more of our customers to see the value of using our apps in conversations in the Inbox and get them to use apps more regularly as part of their workflow.

We came up with a bunch of potential ideas, some very elaborate, complex and sophisticated, for how we could tackle the problem. But we landed on a somewhat seemingly small solution to show two of the apps that a customer has installed within the Inbox message composer. These new app icons would help customers discover and insert apps that they use on a frequent basis.

Screenshot of the design of pinned apps in the Intercom Inbox

While we could have got attached to and invested in some of our more elaborate ideas, taking the cupcake approach and testing this idea in beta allowed us to quickly validate the idea and see if it had the impact we thought it would. As it turns out, our small cupcake idea ended up having a significant impact on our goal.

You can read more about the change on Intercom’s product changes — it shipped to all customers today!