New York based technology and consulting firm Arc90 introduced its first publicly available product today: Kindling. Arc90 describes Kindling as an "idea management and collaboration tool for small groups and companies." A more straightforward way to describe it would be as a version of Digg or reddit for small groups. Unlike those sites, however, Kindling focuses purely on voting on original ideas, not news stories.
Making it Happen - 10 Votes at a Time
Kindling puts an interesting twists on its voting scheme. Users only get 10 votes to give away at any given time and they can distribute those freely among different ideas.
Kindling is split into three main sections: voting, submitting ideas, and 'making it happen.'
The voting and commenting on new ideas is about as simple as it can get, with the exception of the 10 vote constraint. Arc90 says the limited amount of votes is meant to make users more picky about what to vote for, ultimately making every vote more meaningful. While users can always take votes away from a project themselves, once an idea is approved or rejected, all votes are returned to the user to replenish their supply.
The 'make it happen' section of the site displays the status of all the different ideas that have been submitted, but it also allows users to take charge of an idea by assigning it to themselves.
Kindling's user interface is simple and elegant. The minimalist design philosophy of the voting process extends to the rest of the application. The submission form, for example, is about as stripped down as possible.
Democracy at Work
Kindling is taking an interesting approach to small group collaboration. While it is not trying to be a complete project management application like Zoho Projects or Basecamp, and far less complex in its execution than its direct competitor IdeaScale (we wrote about them here), I could see it work very well in a small organization or even an informal group. For the voting system to work well, Arc90 recommends to have at least six members in a group - but there doesn't seem to be an upper limit.
During the beta period, Kindling is going to be free, after that, beta testers will get reduced pricing for a year once the paid version launches.
Update: We have now given out all of our invites. If you would still like to get one, you can sign up for one on the Kindling homepage.
We have 50 invites for Kindling to give away. Just leave a comment below and we will get back to you ASAP. Note: if you use OpenID to comment, we can not see your email address.