INTERVIEW: Scott Belsky, founder and CEO of Behance, tells about his company’s Action Method iPhone application – a free and innovative app aimed at increasing users’ productivity.

Any productivity tool that has the word "action" in it sounds like it surely must have something going for it.

So when the Behance team launched its free iPhone app six months ago, the fact it was based on the idea of capturing and managing "action steps" – tasks that need completing – made it sound like a pretty good prospect.

As Scott Belsky, founder and CEO of Behance, explained to, the idea is to help creative professionals organize their work by taking action.

To do so they have created an ecosystem around the company’s Action Method project management software, the Behance Network, and Behance paper products.

"What we decided to do was try and help people through offline and online media to organise their lives with a bias towards action," he said.

Scott Belsky, CEO of Behance

"This is what makes it special compared to other management tools out there.  Action is the central part of the entire experience."

Belsky said the premise for the Action Method is very simple.  It comes down to three elements:

  • Action steps
  • Back-burner items
  • Reference items (other "stuff" in life that accumulates)

Belsky said that people focus too much on deadlines instead of what matters most – action and delegating.

When Behance started out selling paper products in the US several years ago the rationale was – and still is – to produce a well designed system for productivity.

The Action Method Online application then followed as an everyday tool for people to manage action steps and their lives.

Then, came the mobile version – currently just for the iPhone app but the New York-based company are testing a beta for Blackberry.

"It’s exciting. Many people are downloading the app and using it," said Belsky.

During the design process the Behance team spoke with people that used Microsoft Product Manager, Basecamp and other project management tools.

They found that a lot of people used them – but didn’t really use them. And tasks such as updating the system are looked upon as a chore to be avoided.

Collaborative Tool

They also aren’t collaborative, so tasks that need someone else’s input have to be communicated – usually by email.

However, since Action Method is designed as a collaborative management tool, users can delegate tasks to other users – but in a more effective way.

Messages are sent, not by email, but by what Belsky describes as "Twitter for actionable things", which are displayed as action sets on the iPhone screen.

"The idea is not to just have a to-do list but to engage people through multiple different lenses," he said.

Various new features are being planned for the iPhone app which Belsky said will push it to a new level, as well as some important additional features for the on-line app.

Valuable Tool

For many people work and life do not separate, so the app is intended to make users look more often at their actionable tasks.

Since the tool has to be accessible at all times, it can be used both on-line and off-line, and then synched when connected again.

So even if you are stuck in the subway without internet access, it doesn’t mean everything draws to a halt.

"Mobile extends that functionality," he said. "We do not have an excuse any more."

"It’s about the little action steps that pop into your mind that you need to do. You can capture these thoughts."

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