Over the past year we have worked on an extensive series of projects investigating how people make use of ‘ecosystems of smart devices’. We have, for instance, looked into how people make choices on which devices to use in particular circumstances and situations. In many occasions the functionality of the various smart devices people own (e.g. smart phones, tablets, computers, game consoles, in-car navigation devices, cameras) partly overlaps and partly supplements each other, so what to choose when, where and why? We have also explored the mental models people have of their personal ecosystem of devices. And how these devices were shared in social settings with friends, families and colleagues.
Opportunities for service innovation
As always, we are as much interested in people’s routines and practices as in their motivations and main drivers for their behaviour. Mapping these practices and understanding the underlying drivers delivers excellent input for a strategic review of opportunities for service innovation. So apart from just doing the design research, we have also been very busy working with our clients to facilitate workshops that generate ‘What If scenarios’ and initial use cases for new service offerings. In these workshops a wide range of internal stakeholders from the client organisation takes part, incorporating multiple connections to strategic focus points within the organisation in the final results.
Global and local insights
The design research for these projects has been largely internationally in scope. We have repeatedly worked on parallel studies in a range of countries (e.g. China, India, Russia, Egypt, Spain, France, Netherlands, United Kingdom, United States). For these international studies we generally develop a joint up approach together with our partners from the REACH Network for Global Design Research. STBY often acts as the main coordinator, responsible for the overall approach and client alignment, while our partners add their extensive knowledge and experience in how to customise the chosen methodology to the local cultures and circumstances. The outcomes of these projects include insights that are globally relevant, as well as insights specific to particular segmentations or interest groups.
Our long term engagement with many of our clients enables us to jointly delve deeper into the subject matter across projects. Our ongoing conversations with the core client teams and our interactions with the wider networks of internal stakeholders help us to increasingly customise the themes and filters we focus on during the data collection, analysis and communication to cater for internal interests and agendas, while maintaining an open mind for any unexpected insights that might be relevant as well. Some of the clients we work for in this manner are Nokia, Panasonic, Novo Nordisk and telecom providers. Because of the strategic nature of the projects we work on, we can obviously not go into details of the specific topics and outcomes, but we can fairly say that across these projects we are building up a strong grasp of emerging usages of smart devices and how these are related in people’s personal ecosystems. We have a keen interest in this ever dynamic and exciting part of everyday life.