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Creating an innovative incentives platform based on decades of expertise

Creative Group expanded into an adjacent market with a new kind of digital platform

market entered
Example app screen or experience mapping artifact

Creative Group, a corporate travel and events company, wanted to grow through a new synergistic offering.


A distinctive new digital product that could out-compete established providers.


Critical new revenue during the pandemic when Creative Groups' travel and event business paused.

Creative Group’s leaders wanted to grow

Their current corporate travel, event, and experience business often arose from various employee and customer incentive programs, and Creative Group wanted to expand to design and deliver those incentive programs themselves. The space was dominated by a few very large incumbents with complex and complicated software platforms. Creative Group knew they couldn’t–and shouldn’t–try to compete on breadth of features, so they engaged Highland to help design and launch a product that would stand out from the status quo and drive growth for the company.

Solving the users’ problems first created massive differentiation

Current solutions focused on the buyer of the platform, delivering marketing websites that promoted the message the company wanted to send, but offered very little to the employees or customers involved in the incentive program. So we set out to understand the needs and behaviors of workers and customers in the industries where incentive programs are most common.

The Highland team then led Creative Group through concept creation, drawing on creative thinking, outside inspiration, market research and user insights to craft the building blocks of a promising product concept.

This work heavily influenced the product roadmap, which provided an ongoing compass throughout the project to help the team make project decisions that prioritized users.

Designing with constraints makes disruption possible

Creative Group was able to imagine many complex solutions and user scenarios, and Highland helped distill that complexity into a core set of features and must-haves that would meet the needs of a majority of users. Instead of a knee-jerk "yes" to new ideas, we met Creative Group's suggestions with thoughtful feedback and critical questions that kept the team focused on providing business value.

Capturing market share

In a little over a year of active development, Highland launched a platform that could out-compete incumbent platforms with decades of development from dozens if not hundreds of software engineers. The distinctiveness of the platform allowed Creative Group to capture significant market share in the midst of the 2020 pandemic.

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