panel at the CMSWire DX Summit in Chicago including Lisa Beaudoin, James Goldman, Kim Clifford, David Aronson and Fred Faulkner

You’ve probably brainstormed great ideas for your enterprise in 2016 by now. Or maybe you've spent December thinking of how to spike your egg nog.

Either way, you’re innovating.

Five technology practitioners got a head start on innovative ideas in 2016 at the inaugural CMSWire DX Summit in Chicago this November. In the conference-ending session, “People's Choice Award: Best DX Idea for 2016 and How to Get Started,” those five — David Aronson, Lisa Beaudoin, Kim Clifford, Fred Faulkner and James Goldman — shared their ideas with our audience.

We were inspired. We think you'll be, too. As we close out the year and prepare for 2016, here is a snapshot of those five ideas:

Let's Innovate

David Aronson, Co-Founder, CEO, Caysh

headshot of David Aronson

2016 Idea: Personal Gift Cards

Aronson’s Chicago-based startup is capitalizing on the massive consumer gift-card market. He said 2 billion gift cards were given in the US in 2014.

“But there’s something wrong,” Aronson said. “Gift cards are inconvenient, impersonal and limiting. We think there’s a better way.”

Caysh is an application that avoids the generic nature of gift cards and helps people make them personal and more meaningful. With Caysh, you can use any mobile device, send a pic of yourself and send off a gift card that goes directly to the recipient's PayPal account to be redeemed “almost anywhere,” Aronson said.

“We’re cooler than a gift card,” Aronson said. “Take a pic of yourself, put a stamp on it — whether it’s Merry Christmas or Happy Birthday or anything. Pay with your debit or credit card and your friend receives the money along with your personal note. And they can purchase something they like.”

Caysh also sends the recipient reminders to say “thank you.”

Kim Clifford, VP, Strategy, Critical Mass

kim clifford of critical mass headshot

2016 Idea: Google Now Cards

Clifford encouraged enterprises to use the Google Now Card technology. Her point? Leverage big data that's out there. Take your own products, leverage Google Now Cards and use what data makes the most sense, she said.

“We’ve heard a lot about big data and a lot about the customer,” Clifford said. “There is an easy way to start using big data for your customers and not have to worry about the back end.”

Enterprises must realize people are less interested hunting for things. Their attention spans are small, and you can use big data to give them “what they want in a really interesting way. People who are going to win are the people who declutter people’s phones, watches and devices and really just give them information that’s valuable in the moment.”

Change the way you think. Instead of apps, it’s data and APIs. Leverage other people’s APIs. Think about context rather that brand. Function rather than channel. Conversation rather than interface.

“We refer to this as the context era,” Clifford said. “2016 will be all about context and those mobile moments and Google moments. This is where it’s at — context and giving customers what they want.”

Fred Faulkner, Director of Marketing, ICF Interactive

headshot of icf interactive fred faulkner

2016 Idea: Lilly Pulitzer Immersive Experience

Mobile and commerce is a powerful combination. Department store giant Target with the help of ICF Interactive launched its Lilly Pulitzer campaign that gave shoppers an immersive, showroom-like mobile experience.

“If you add commerce into the mix you can make any room a showroom,” Faulkner said.

Pulitzer, a Palm Beach hostess and socialite, created her line in 1959. She created vibrantly printed shift dresses that introduced a new genre of fashion — American resort wear.

Customers could scope out the fashion line using their mobile devices to gain insight on products. Your phone’s "internal accelerometer merges the digital and physical worlds, transforming your phone into a spinning party portal," according to literature in the campaign.

Faulkner called the Target program “experience-driven commerce” that brought something tangible in a mobile fashion. The collection sold out nationwide, Faulkner said.

Lisa Beaudoin, Co-Founder, Perfect Sense Digital

headshot of lisa beaudoin

2016 Idea: App on-demand

Enterprises are challenged with creating compelling, useful native iOS applications, Beaudoin said.

“We see customers build a wildly successful website with an amazing digital infrastructure and teams,” she said. “Then they’re asked to build a mobile app, which seems to be a constant struggle.”

It’s hard to find iOS developers. So why not do it yourself? An idea like app on-demand can help. It would offer a single dashboard for “someone like me who doesn’t have an engineering degree,” Beaudoin said.

Create a description, upload assets, assign a sponsor to it, create an icon and screenshots to help consumers coming into the Apple Store understand what you’re trying to show.

“You could build your own beautiful experience with your own content from the comfort of your own desk with your own assets,” Beaudoin said.

Categorize it, tag it and make sure all the information is there for a successful submission to the Apple Store.

“It can be super easy with no developer resources,” Beaudoin said.

James Goldman, Content Strategy Lead, Razorfish

headshot of james goldman

2016 Idea: Hire a content librarian

How can you leverage content better in your organization?

“Bring someone with a library science background into your marketing team,” Goldman said. “It’s not going to be a simple thing. But at least try to get some interviews with a librarian.”

A move like this will help your enterprise “invest in content categorizing.” The librarians are trained to “take disparate categories and build relationships between them. They can recognize relationships that you may not be able to see.”

How many organizations can say they efficiently and effectively use data across their entire enterprise to create engaging, thoughtful and profitable experiences for all their customers?

“Here’s the issue — you’re putting a whole bunch of money into creative efforts and into data collection,” Goldman said. “You’re going to conferences on big data, little data and user, user, user. But you don’t actually know that much about your content. You can never create the experience you want because you can’t match it to the content you want. Enterprises have these libraries of content and don’t know how to categorize it or expose that content properly.”