Finding Digital Oil in the Right Place

 

Ux prospection map

Ux prospection map

When a major oil company tries to extract oil, it usually takes the following steps:

  1. First, it carries out an investigation of the area, it analyzes the legal issues, the environmental impact, the possibilities of the area being rich in organic matter. Let’s just say, it prepares the ground for the first surveys by analyzing the context.
  2. Secondly the company begins an experiment: it sends ships to propel compressed air bubbles up to 7,000 meters deep. Through sonar, it is able to create a map of the rocky surface and the shape of the sea floor.
  3. Once the signals create the expected map (verification of the initial hypothesis), the drilling phase (second experiment), where kilometers are drilled until the first gases appear, takes place. The first hydrocarbons would certify that there is actually oil .

Finally everything is prepared to properly extract the oil and give way to its commercial exploitation.
Let’s say that an oil exploration goes through five well differentiated steps:

  1. Establishment of the initial hypothesis.
  2. Documentation and analysis of the context in which the action is to be developed (product).
  3. Performing a first experiment (Research through air and sound).
  4. Second experiment. Initial prospecting
  5. Implementation of the final model

I have given the example of oil prospecting because in the world of creating digital products (meaning start-up) the steps could be the same:

  1. We establish a product hypothesis.
  2. We document the problem and analyze similar business ideas.
  3. We performed the first experiments with the idea of ​​verifying the hypothesis.
  4. If the experiments are positive, we go to the development phase.
  5. We develop the product and we scale up to grow and maintain the product in the market.

1. Hypothesis.

Starting a project is always trying to give an answer to a business hypothesis. If we create such and such product (or application) we can position ourselves in such and such market. We will meet this segment. In this case we start our project with a business hypothesis, which implies a product hypothesis. The relationship is complex and there are too many answers to find. In design terms we speak of diffuse goals.
How can we verify that our business hypothesis is correct if our product is not well defined or our product hypothesis has not been verified? We can only arrive at a possible result by responding to the two hypotheses in order.

The user experience as a product hypothesis verification system.

Experienced designers add value to a product as they are able to define a product that, in addition to being well designed, achieves business hypotheses. An interaction designer defines a product based on the analysis of the user (understood as consumer of the product) Therefore, the design is already thinking about the final consumer and success in the market. Now, does the user experience guarantee the success of the business? If so … Which UX methods are able to bring us closer to success? Is creating a well designed product enough to achieve business success?

2. Read, UX and other issues.

The methodology followed by the oil companies, as we saw at the beginning, follows a process of verification of hypotheses through experiments that are closer to reality before drilling the soil. It is a process of investigation by phases, in which each phase brings us closer to or away from the objective.

This in business methodology is called LEAN. The Lean Startup process proposed by Eric Ries and the UX version (Lean UX) proposed by Jeff Gothelf is a method that proposes to prospect with the intention to verify the hypothesis BEFORE developing the definitive proposal. That is, before developing a single line of the final product code. An example might be this:

  • First prospect (first design sprint)
    Hypothesis> Product experiment> Data / knowledge (Check hypothesis?) If not verify ….
  • Second prospect (second design sprint)
    Changing hypotheses> Product experiment> Data / knowledge (Do we get positive data?) Then we must continue to perform product experiments until the results come closer to the verification of our hypothesis.

As is seen, the LEAN UX proposal does not talk about developing products. It talks about performing experiments (creating mini-products) that serve to verify the initial hypotheses. This process, through repetition and use of economic models, uncovers the true nature of the product. A product in the sense that it helps us CREATE THE RIGHT HYPOTHESIS or verify the hypothesis raised using the minimum possible expenditure.

In this phase the development is minimal, the research work is maximal.
In a process of verification of hypotheses, it is necessary to work with design thinking techniques, to be well documented, to take into account the stakeholders’ vision – but only through analysis of the market can the hypothesis be verified.

Conclusion

Many companies anchored in the product development cascade system do not just understand that product innovation requires different processes when it comes to tackling the problem of creating a successful new product.

In order to develop products that reach the market it is necessary to repeat processes at two levels:
1. On the one hand creating products that necessarily start from a design based on adequate experience.
2. Research / verification of business hypothesis that can be repeated until it reaches an optimum result that guarantees commercial success of the product.

All this must be done using processes of great initial collaboration, processes based on data and having designers able to test and discover the true nature of the product before it is developed.

Documentation and references

The lean startp methodology

A simple introduction to Lean UX

Service Design in Nordest Hightway in Tenerife

collage

On November 28th, at the Canary Islands Innovation Fair (FI2) I had the opportunity to attend the workshop “Stop Designing Apps and Start Designing Services” given by David Martín Suarez, @miscalzoncillos designer UX at Telefónica I + D. It was a Great experience where David challenged us to solve the following problem: How could we solve the problem of traffic jams on the North Tenerife highway?”

We tackled this problem over three hours using Design Thinking techniques, wireframe processes, and agile testing based in Lean UX. Next I will summarise the steps we took before reaching a solution.

1. Diverging

The first thing we did was to conduct a collective brainstorming, where each one had to write a post-it idea, comment on its content out loud, and stick it on the wall. We had to be in synthesis, and address various aspects related to the given problem.

2. Emerging

Once we had brought together a few issues related to the problem, we began to group the various issues that emerged in the first phase of brainstorming – aspects related to driving, traffic jams, micro-timings, and driving stress.  All related to the driving experience and linked to the given topic.

3. Translate ideas into questions

post-its

The third step was to convert the selected objects into verbalised “sentences” as possible problems to be solved. How could we organise our time better when going to work? How could we bring the work closer to the worker? How could we make better use of public transport? How could drivers take advantage of the time spent in their vehicles? How can we inform drivers of traffic forecasts? All of these questions would be present to help us begin developing our future products.

4. Converger: Groups and product concept development

There were about 12 people attending, so David divided us into four groups of 3 people. Once we had the questions, we started to build the answers. We were organized into groups of three people, and each group began to discuss a proposal that would try to cover at least a couple of the “Problems” raised in the creative process. Once the proposal was debated we began to shape it through paper prototypes.

5. Repeat testing

Once we arrived at the first prototypes, we had time to show our solution to the other groups and obtain feedback and propositions for improvements to our initial idea, using our prototypes.  A first tryout resulted in giving us an improved product.

6. Introduce the app: Jobstravels

wireframing

Finally we presented our proposal: We would create a community of people motivated to share small micro-buses, that would be agreed through a web application, who would receive discounts for using the micro-buses. These micro-buses would pick them up at home and leave them in similar areas. In this way we could reduce part of the traffic congestion without giving up the comfort offered by the car. This same application would offer the possibility of arranging for people to travel together in case the micro-bus service could not meet the needs of these people.

It has been a tremendously rewarding experience. We have learned a lot and we have ended up feeling that all the effort has paid off thanks to the creative solutions achieved through the Design Thinking process. Thanks, David!!

FI2 – Feria de innovación de Canarias
David Martín Suárez. Diseñador UX en Telefónica I + D

Tim Brown & Design Thinking applied to Social Design

Designers love Design Thinking, or is it that they like “thinking about design”? Well, I don’t have a clear idea about that at the moment. In trying to answer the question of what design innovation techniques would help me to develop UX design projects, I found this list of five books that address the subjects of innovation and techniques used in the field, something undoubtedly related to user-centred design and what many designers have recently called “Civic Design” or “Social Design”. That is, design centred on solving problems that improve social conditions for groups of people.

Along these lines, and after consulting this list of books about Design Thinking and innovation, I have become fascinated with a 2009 Ted talk by Tim Brown, SEO of IDEO. In this fantastic 16-minute talk he explains how Design Thinking can help solve problems from those of fashion products to social and nonprofit enterprises.

In that sense, Brown urges designers to think big and focus on solving social problems that have not been solved yet. Design is like a tool to improve society from a local perspective. He presents a few examples of Indian projects where they have worked with local communities to implement a ‘design culture’ , where local people develop their own insights, look for solutions and produce their own products, by themselves.

Tim also edited a book in 2009 called “Change by Design”, which I have not read yet, but it looks like a very interesting reference for Design Thinking. You can check it out here. If you have any suggestions about creative techniques, let me know!

Resources

Ted talk: Tim Brown urges designeres to think big?

Five books in English about Design Thinking (2013)

Five books about innovation technics & design thinking (Spanish books)

Thanks to you, Melissa

portrait

The second entry I want to make in this post is about Melissa. Melissa is a great and beautiful woman originally from England. She is an English teacher and sometimes she does translations from Spanish to English. I met her on my last trip to Madrid and it was a lot of fun to spend and share lots of hours in English-Spanish exchange with her. Now she helps me to improve and correct all my blog posts and web projects. For me it is a way to practice and improve my language skills and a great pleasure to work with Melissa. Thank you very much for your help Melissa!

Melissa has a blog called Thinking Spanglish. Just have a look, it will be funny for sure!!

Welcome to my new website

I designed and programmed my old website a long time a go. For the last few years i did not pay attention to my site, but now i have updated it and i have created a blog to talk about design.

I want to display the projects i have done in the last year: Roadmap for bus transport in La Palma, newcorporate identity projects , fashion design and my own startup Awwa Art.

I hope my new stuff looks interesting for you. I love to co-create and collaborate on projects, contact me and invite to partipate however you want.