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iAsk, the mobile app for cross-industry networking




If your core business is bringing people together, like iTanks, the innovation and knowledge platform, then an online platform offers a solution. Digital support for connecting companies, knowledge institutes and industry experts. Harborn has developed a tailor-made network app for iTanks based on this principle. iAsk brings challenges and solutions from different industries together. For example, an issue in shipbuilding can benefit from an innovation from the packaging industry. The iAsk app is part of a larger platform, where organisations can network their issues, find solutions and share their own solutions, in order to stimulate each other.


  • Python
  • AWS services (Amazon Aurora, Lambda’s, AppSync)
  • Firebase
  • Flutter (iOS & Android app)
  • Wordpress CMS

iOS app
Android app

Scherm van de iTanks app.

A search function with a filter

The most important feature of the iAsk app is the search bar. This ensures that your “challenge” quickly leads you to the right solutions and industries. But how do you search in a network of some 5,000 providers? Indeed, the search function was an issue we set to work on. You absolutely want to avoid the app providing information that’s not relevant to you. The team tweaked the search function to filter out parts of the question, so that only real matches are shown as results. Of course, this was a matter of fine-tuning: words like 'the' and 'it' can be omitted without any problem, but that’s not enough for better search results. To the satisfaction of both iTanks and more importantly, users, the search function has been optimised so that the bar works exactly as desired.

Telefoon met op het scherm de app van iAsk.

Providing convenience for users

Other features were also designed, with the essence very much in mind. Networking really should be easily accessible. Not only according to the philosophy of iTanks, but also for the users of the app. That’s why it’s free to use the app and logging in is easy with a LinkedIn or Google profile. User profiles are protected but contact with other companies is possible using the iSolutionsGuide. There you will find the right contact person for your solution. Did you post a question to the network? Then you will receive a notification if there‘s a solution or innovation that matches.

The interface has been stripped of any unnecessary stuff, so that the app is easy to use. Both for those looking for opportunities and users who want to add solutions to the network. In the iEvents section, for example, it’s easy to register for a webinar or event. While in the iSolutionsGuide you can save or send a PDF of the solution you’ve found. All the information in one place, which you can easily share with your network. Win-win!

Telefoon met op het scherm de app van iAsk.
Vrouw staat te presenteren voor een beamer scherm. iAsk.


Together for innovation

Like iTanks, Harborn has Rotterdam roots, but this was the first time we worked together. After thoroughly discussing the project with iTanks and an external innovation manager, Harborn took up the challenge of designing the mobile app. The starting point was the target group: what does this network need? The app really must help them. Our team stayed in close contact with iTanks, to shape the user requirements they had formulated. Within the iAsk app there are different parts for different issues:

  • The iSolutionsGuide, for finding solutions already offered by the industry
  • iChallenges, for setting out an issue
  • iFinance for help with financing and subsidies
  • iEvents for events

All these components are connected to one database, so that the information in the app is always up to date. By using this mobile app, you gain access to an extensive network of more than 5,000 organisations. Everything from the food processing sector to the maritime industry. That’s how iAsk provides every opportunity to drive innovation forward.

solutions on the platform
events every year

Are you ready for digitalisation?

Feel like networking with us? Harborn is the perfect choice for linking databases to the best solutions. Analogue actions, artificial intelligence, online worlds, the perception of your target group… Whatever your issue or challenge feel free to contact us. If you’d like to know more about this particular case, get in touch with Harm-Jan, the project lead.

+316 4126 4306harmjan.roskam@harborn.com