Redefining Recognition and Innovating Employee Engagement

We helped our client create an MVP in 2 weeks. Now it’s being used by Fortune 500 companies and has $50M in revenue annually flowing through it.

Client: Employee Engagement Company

Industry: HR

Funnel Process: Bootstrap, Build, and Scale 

The Challenge

A prominent player in employee engagement, recognition, and award programs sought City Innovations’ expertise to address a unique challenge. The aim was to find an innovative solution that would transform employee engagement using tools employees already used, especially in the context of the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The central problem was clear: How could the organization increase employee engagement online without burdening employees with yet another app to download? The end goal was to create a solution that would foster a culture of recognition and positivity within organizations.

The Approach

The project began with envisioning potential products and markets to enter. The City Innovations team brainstormed creative solutions and considered the changing work landscape shaped by the pandemic.


Following extensive research, the City team conducted a competitive landscape analysis and explored industry trends. We needed to initiate conversations to understand where the target audience was. Then, we narrowed down the solution to two platform options, Slack and Microsoft Teams. We had the organization run customer reports and surveys to understand the tools employees were using within their organizations, prioritizing this information.


With key insights in hand, City Innovations interviewed four of the organization’s customers and created prototypes. These prototypes were iterated upon, refined, and improved based on feedback from the organization and its customers to create an MVP within 2 weeks. 


A critical aspect was achieving product-market fit. City Innovations collaborated closely with the organization to create APIs and integrations that allowed the recognition bot to sync with the existing systems. The integration became a selling point, aligning the solution with the systems employees already used.

The Results

City Innovations delivered a unique solution that transformed employee engagement and recognition. The success of the solution was determined by measurable metrics like an increase in the number of pieces of recognition given — showing that the solution effectively facilitated recognition within organizations.

Secondly, we created a solution that provided managers with the right tools and insights to facilitate recognition within their departments, aligning with the goal of fostering a culture of positivity and recognition.

What set this project apart was the human-centered approach. We understood that one of the biggest challenges would be how to get users to adopt one more platform, especially in instances like this where the buyer is not the end user. It was crucial that we determined a solution that employees would actively use.

City Innovations invested time in speaking with customers and investigating their tool preferences in order to develop a solution that would be useful to the organization. This ensured that the recognition bot was designed to mirror how employees naturally gave recognition, making it intuitive and user-friendly. We conducted extensive market research, a step beyond what a traditional software development company would do.

Now, the software we developed is utilized by not only our employee engagement company client, but Fortune 500 companies such as Google, Ford, Little Caesars, and Land Rover.

Our customer-first, design-centered approach ensured that the end users were at the forefront of the process, leading to a solution that genuinely met their needs.

Ready to take your vision from whiteboard to market ready? We’re here to help. Click here to reach out to us and get started. 

Want to see the other projects we’ve worked on? Check out these success stories: 

  • Our client invested $100K in creative capital. Now they have $5M+ in revenue. Find out how.
  • We helped our food logistics client envision a “one stop shop” app for employees — cutting costs by over 25%. Learn more.
  • A FinTech PE firm needed to combine 14 brands. We analyzed each brand in under 2 weeks, putting together a strategy to increase the LTV of their customers. Check it out.

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