The Ideation Process is Powerful

The word ideation is a buzzword. At times though it is still the correct word to use. Advisist has just launched and as can be expected there are some startup pains. They are not growing pains, as we haven’t grown yet. These are small problems I did not expect to encounter. An example is trying to keep calendars synchronized so that one does not book two activities for the same time.

Previously I managed this challenge by having two mobile devices, one personal and one business. Each device’s calendar was synchronized to the appropriate scheduling tool. That didn’t work for my new situation. I was still having the challenge of which calendar was active in the calendar application. Was it the iCloud based one or the Office 365 one? If it was the Office 365 one, was it Advisist or AVNation? I knew that there had to be a better way. Off to I went.

After some searching, the results were not looking promising. I could find many people who were having the same issue:

It was not looking promising. I paused and thought. Then I thought about the Ideation services we offer. I had defined, “experience to be created” by saying I wanted to synchronize calendars so that AVNation, Personal, and Advisist events show up in all three calendars. As I thought about it I added, do not confuse the meeting organizer by forwarding the invite. Now that it was clearly defined, I just had to figure out how.

The next portion was defining the process to make this happen. Some call this “process ideation.” I was not trying to figure out the “how” of what was going to be done. I was determining the steps or the flow of what needed to be done. I started with a basic list of:

  1. Create new event on Calendar X
  2. Inform calendars Y and Z that there is a new event

Well that is easy, but that isn’t synchronizing. It got a lot more complex as I thought about it.

  1. Create new event on calendar X
  2. Inform calendars Y and Z to create new event
  3. Create new event on calendar Y
  4. Inform calendars X and Z – well that is a loop

An indicator was need to prevent the calendar from creating a mirrored event. That would be a really fun feedback loop. Should probably make it unique per event.

A basic flow diagram to show the steps of event mirroring
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This was the part of the process ideation. I had documented processes for creating an event on multiple calendars. I had not defined the code or tools to be used. I then thought about the important word of synchronization. Calendar X must not only tell calendars Y and Z that there is a new event, it also needs to inform the other calendars if it is changed or deleted. I won’t go through all the steps I went through. The flow chart ended up a little more complex than expected. However based on the process I thought it would solve the issue and synchronize calendars.

The next step was to take the idea and create it in reality. Determining the way to accomplish and support the defined processes was easier than opening up a search engine and looking for the solution as could be seen by the previous results. I studied various off the shelf solutions that had the ability to perform the processes I outlined. I might not have known how they performed the task, I just knew that they could perform the tasks need to complete the processes needed. I was able to determine that Microsoft PowerAutomate Flows, part of Office 365, could perform the tasks I needed. There was one limiting factor, I needed to change the calendering service for one of my accounts to make items synchronize effectively. However after that I was able to configure the system to work with all my e-mails and calendar accounts.

A little more complex:
Click to Embiggen

Now comes the question everyone has: Why should I care? The point of this post is to show you that through Advisist’s experience and approach we are able to provide solutions that others have not been able to create.

Advisist Holiday Happenings 2020Thank you for reading. Now if you will excuse me, I have some calendars to synch

PS Have you signed up for our 2020 Holiday List?