Between September 2018 and April 2019, Ameliot developed and delivered a series of workshops and workshop materials on Customer Discovery and Customer Experience in Cambridge, Poznan and Warsaw for clients including the St Johns Innovation Centre and Poznan’s Park of Science and Technology.
The client and their needs are ultimately the key to the success of any product or service, and there are many examples of well-known companies that have initially struggled to truly understand who their target users are. For example, Coca-cola was supposed to be a cure for headache and penicillin was created by accident, while looking for a typhoid vaccine.
The workshops were mainly aimed at innovators, representatives of technology companies and scientists who have a product or idea, but lack the knowledge or skills to lead it in business. The workshop helped these individuals and organisations to identify who their target customers are, create a product that has a real need and provided them with tools for growing a large customer following.
Photo from the Customer Experience workshop in Poznan, Poland.
During this workshop, participants were introduced to:
- The Customer Development methodology helping to capture and identify customer needs and then to create products and services that customers will really be delighted with;
- Steve Blank’s “4 steps to epiphany” – i.e. four steps to validate and implement business ideas within the Customer Development methodology;
- Customer Discovery – why it is worth asking who the real customers are;
- Problem Statement – how to check if the business solves the right problem;
- Customer vs. User – how to find out whether the potential clients are willing to pay for a solution;
- Research and interviews with clients – how to ask the right questions;
- Customer Validation – how to check if the client/product assumptions are correct;
- Organising feedback from customers into tasks that enable product development;
- New methodologies and tools for segmentation of various types of clients, as well as interpretation of opinions and functional and emotional customer needs;
- Tools for capturing and analysing customer needs and integrating feedback into the product development process;
- Various useful methods and tools for creating effective, usable and accessible CX design – Customer Journey, Personas, Ethnography, Content Analysis, etc.;
- Ways of economically creating prototypes of products and services, as well as usage of iterative testing methods;
- Access to and demonstrations of free simulators and online calculators to help estimate the cognitive, physical and sensory capabilities of prospective clients to estimate the demand that the product is placing on those clients.
Ameliot’s Director, Dr Anna Mieczakowski, said the following about the importance of this workshop series: Let’s face it – design is everywhere, from everything we are wearing, looking at, hearing or holding. That’s why the UX (User Experience) practice is so important during the design of any product, service or experience, because it helps organisations of all types and sizes to truly understand who their customers are by looking deeply into how people think about and act with products and services. UX will help you to humanise your technology, differentiate from competition and gain a larger customer following, as people always fall in love with designs that love and appreciate them.
Our Anna Mieczakowski has been invited to be a guest speaker at the MERLIN EU Programme’s next workshop titled “Interpreting the Customer and UX”, which will be held at the St John’s Innovation Centre in Cambridge on the 22nd January 2019. During this workshop, participants will learn how to secure and assess customer input to drive their innovation forward, understand the importance of User Experience (UX) in the design of a product or process, learn tools to help prioritise and integrate UX feedback into product development. Find out more and register for this FREE event here.
Anna is very excited to be contributing her UX expertise to the series of MERLIN workshops for start-ups and SMEs and emphasised the important role of UX in product and service design by saying:
“Let’s face it – design is everywhere, from everything we are wearing, looking at, hearing or holding. That’s why the UX (User Experience) practice is so important during the design of any product, service or experience, because it helps organisations of all types and sizes to truly understand who their customers are by looking deeply into how people think about and act with products and services. UX will help you to humanise your technology, differentiate from competition and gain a larger customer following, as people always fall in love with designs that love and appreciate them”.
Claire Johnsen from the MERLIN Programme, who will co-present the workshop with Anna, said:
About MERLIN project
MERLIN (Methodologies for Researcher Led Innovations) Programme supports market-oriented researchers, SMEs and start-ups across Europe, to consider the full potential of their research and to shape ideas and outputs into innovations to be ready for market validation and commercialisation, by using modern needs-first, market-led methodologies. MERLIN offers a range of dynamic workshops and relevant training to guide researchers and businesses on the journey to commercialisation. The programme, consisting on 8 workshops, will equip participants with knowledge, skills and network to generate market-led business models to unlock potential and accelerate this journey. MERLIN will organise 2 meetups with potential partners, customers and investors by the end of each year, to help participants grow. Moreover, selected participants will be invited to participate in Startup Europe events.
This week, between 16-18 November 2018, Ameliot will co-host the 2018 International Conference on Trauma Surgery Technology in Giessen. This new international conference is being realised thanks to the prestigious funding award from the DFG German Research Foundation.
The Giessen University’s Medical Faculty where this conference will be held between 16-18 November 2018.
This first international conference on design of technology and protocols in experimental trauma surgery will bring together a host of experts in the fields of medical devices, nanotechnologies, user-centred design, regenerative medicine and trauma rehabilitation to explore promising concepts and their development based on the state of the art in patient-centred technology design. The overarching goal is to explore trauma rehabilitation concepts and their development based on state-of-the-art patient-centred technology design, and to improve patient outcomes through the design of optimal technology that assists both patients and surgeons. Regenerative rehabilitation, where trauma patients are treated by methods of regenerative medicine, is an emerging field. In spite of the potential in this area, clinical success has not yet been realised; rehabilitative and assistive technologies are all too often rejected by patients because of the social stigma associated with temporary or permanent injury, illness or impairment. This conference has been specifically organised to address these issues.
Collectively, the conference focuses on design of technology and protocols in experimental trauma surgery, with the following key objectives:
- emphasise the important role of engineering design in medicine,
- promote user-centred design and put patients and clinicians at the centre of medical technology solutions, and
- consider the properties of materials, old and new, and their mechanics in medical technologies’ design.
Working together with Dr Wolfram Bosbach, trauma surgeon from JLU Giessen, and Dr Christopher Wilkinson, a health research and usability consultant, Ameliot’s Dr Anna Mieczakowski will be facilitating a conference discussion on the topic of the latest engineering design strategies for improved patient outcomes, as well as leading the interactive session on day two of the conference. There will be a distinct focus upon the importance of involving patients and users throughout the design process; which is at core of the user centred and inclusive design process.
The hosts of the 2018 International Conference on Trauma Surgery Technology in Giessen.
From left: Dr Christopher Wilkinson, Dr Anna Mieczakowski and Dr Wolfram Bosbach.
The conference hosts are currently also in the process of organising the 2019 conference which, due to a great demand, is planned to be significantly larger with a number of parallel events in several European cities.
User Experience (UX) practice in product and service design is constantly evolving to provide optimal experiences for a variety of the end users. Numerous online and both low- and high-end technologies have been developed over time to support the UX practice. One of the current technologies which has gained a great deal of momentum is Augmented Reality (AR), providing the customers with a visual representation of information in order to make an activity or experience more meaningful, and the ability to ‘try before you buy’. AR allows for virtually rendered objects and images to be viewed in the real world using a smartphone or AR glasses, thus providing capacity to deliver more seamless and intuitive user experiences. It differs from its most known “relative”, Virtual Reality (VR), as it doesn’t detach users from reality and it puts information into user’s eyesight as fast as possible.
Early AR experiences, including Google Glass and Pokémon Go, kickstarted the augmented reality market. For example, online shopping experiences have already been enhanced to a certain extent by AR, where you can test new sunglasses, paint colours for your walls and ceilings or whether a certain piece of furniture will fit into your room and transform your living space. In some countries such as China, physical stores shopping has already been improved through visualised AR information. Specifically, a shopper walks into a physical shop to buy a new pair of trousers and their AR smartphone or glasses immediately direct them to the location where they can view trousers, with the ability to see customer reviews, available sizes, colours, styles without much searching.
Overall, the key areas where AR can contribute to superior user experience include:
- Healthcare, where AR can save lives through showing defibrillators nearby, help patients better describe their symptoms through simulations of a specific condition, help nurses find veins more easily, determine whether patients are fit for procedures or assist surgeons in the operating room. It Is estimated that by 2025, spending on AR in the healthcare industry will reach $5.1 billion (£3.8 billion).
- User Interface (UI) Design, where AR will enable designers to sit (virtually) inside their design, allowing them to visualise their design assumptions and prototypes in a much more life-like and meaningful way.
- Education, where AR is used as a cognitive tool for educational and training purposes across different subject areas, helping the users to visualise information for improved memorisation and learning.
- Marketing, where AR brings product advertising to life, enabling the user to more easily find, review the quality of and experience the product before a purchase.
In early September 2018, Ameliot’s Anna Mieczakowski has been appointed as an Advisory Board Member of the MERLIN (Methodologies for Researcher Led Innovations) ICT EU Programme, which helps market-oriented researchers, SMEs and startups across Europe to consider the full potential of their research and to shape ideas and outputs into innovations to be ready for market validation and commercialisation, by using modern needs-first, market-led methodologies. Specifically, the MERLIN ICT Programme offers a range of dynamic workshops and relevant training to guide researchers, SMEs and startups on the journey to commercialisation, spanning topics such as:
- Lean Startup
- Business Model Canvas
- Customer Discovery
- Entrepreneurial Mindset
- Interpreting the Customer
- User Experience
- Lean Hardware
- Spinout vs. Spinoff
Apart from these 8 topics covered in 45 practical thematic workshops in several European cities, MERLIN ICT Programme also offers:
- 5 international conferences.
- 16 meetups with potential customers and commercial partners.
- 4 webinars on SME growth and PPP business models
The programme, which puts the customers at the centre of the product/service development, will equip participants with knowledge, skills and a network to generate market-led business models to unlock potential and accelerate this journey.