MOBGEN had the pleasure of attending the IOB fair at TU Delft, where a team of delegates from MOBGEN’s Creative and Lab departments hosted a 2-hour disruptive thinking workshop. Participants were bachelor and master students from the integrated product design, design for interaction and strategic design streams of TU Delft.
MOBGEN has a history of academia collaborations including hosting a number of Masters thesis project investigations and a JMP (Joint Master Project) with TU Delft students. Over the years of these collaborations it has become clear that there are some subtle but distinct differences in the design methodologies that businesses and institutions follow. On the one hand most academic institutions teach an elaborate and precise road towards conceptualisation, including a lot of research steps until the first ideas start to become defined. Normally, at TU Delft, students would implement this into 3- or 6-month projects. Businesses on the other hand, need to fast-forward this process in order to get quick results (taking into account speed-to-market, budgets and other resources). It is often the case that conceptualisation might only have few weeks of time until ideas need to be shaped to a concrete level. We often need to start with assumptions, and what we already know, in order to generate ideas (that will be tested later and researched upon users). This is a more ‘lean’ approach to design, and it is exactly what MOBGEN wanted to showcase to the participating TU Delft students.
- To demonstrate a lean conceptual process during the workshop, we wanted to give briefs in the same format as we use in large real-world agile projects, so we decided to present 4 user stories as the challenges. We also assigned fictional companies to each of the user stories to provide some context:
- Insuras (a global Insurance company)
- Enormart (the world’s biggest Supermarket)
- Energion (a forward-thinking Energy provider)
- Petrolus (a Fuel and lubricants company)
The students, split into 4 groups, were asked to come up with ideas given the 4 briefs and the companies assigned to them. In order to bring up assumptions and continue building on them, the process was the following:
- Mindmap, what do you know about the given situation/company?
- Check up screens
- Make a flow of the screens, telling the story from a user perspective
- (Optional) digitally prototype your flow
- Pitch to each other, including how you framed your problem area, your solution/story, and how the user gets benefits from this.
Despite the time limitations (and an unexpected fire alarm!) that kept the actual working time to 1 hour, we were extremely impressed by the pitched concepts. Teams were able to think outside of the box, presenting innovations such as coupon-sharing platforms (including collective points and team strategies) and a zombie themed real-world ‘escape’ game to unlock additional offers. We saw a team transforming energy into an engaging personal challenge, an electric bike management app that gives back to the grid, and a proposal that we can simplify a search for an insurance by first selecting a typical ‘persona’ and then customising from there.
The MOBGEN team of Natalia, Sebastian, Nick and Eleonora certainly enjoyed their time at the IOB fair, and the feedback from the students was extremely positive. One thing for sure is that with the amount of talent in the program at TU Delft, the future of product and service design is rosy.