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iRobot

Service and Business Strategy Project

My team worked on a business strategy project in partnership with iRobot that involved the creation of a novel service concept for lawn care.

Note: This project is under NDA and can only be discussed at a high level while keeping details confidential. 

Also, due to the coronavirus pandemic, all work for this project was done remotely using online research, design, and collaboration tools.

Date: Mar 2020 - Jun 2020

Team: Chris Baggott, Jenny Nguyen, Lily Smith, Janice Zhou

Skills Used and Developed:

  • Service Design

  • Insight Discovery and Synthesis

  • Journey Mapping

  • Low-Fidelity Prototyping

  • Business Strategy

Challenge

Understand the behaviors, pain points, and desires of current lawn owners around the maintenance of their lawn.

 

Create a novel service concept to expand the capabilities of the iRobot lawn care products, along with a business plan and detailed "pitch" presentation.

Research and Interviews

Our team conducted remote interviews with thirteen people using dscout. We gained an understanding of each person's unique lawn care routine, habits, and tools. Each interview gave the team an opportunity to better describe our target users, and illustrate their needs with real quotes and examples. 

Concurrent with our interviews, we conducted deep research into the area of lawn care products and services. By benchmarking existing offerings across the product landscape, we identified essential features as well as opportunities for improvement

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Our interview subjects and their outdoor spaces

Synthesis and Insights

Our team conducted remote interviews with thirteen people using dscout. We gained an understanding of each person's unique lawn care routine, habits, and tools. Each interview gave the team an opportunity to better describe our target users, and illustrate their needs with real quotes and examples. 

Concurrent with our interviews, we conducted deep research into the area of lawn care products and services. By benchmarking existing offerings across the product landscape, we identified essential features as well as opportunities for improvement

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The team's virtual "download" board

Features and Business Strategy

The team brought our insights together with iRobot's preliminary feedback and started designing features and service concepts. We made it through dozens of sketches and many different concepts, focusing strongly on how each of our best ideas might align with iRobot's stated business goals.

We used the "5 Es" framework of consumer experiences as an important part of our service design thinking. It helped the team organize our insights around the different stages of the consumer journey, and also gave us a framework on which to map our proposed features. This let us visualize the entire process that a potential user would experience and helped us ensure we were delivering added value at each stage.

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Out team's insights mapped onto the "5 Es" service design framework

Presentation & Final Deliverables

At the end of the ten-week project, our team introduced our service concept to the iRobot team through a full "pitch" presentation. Our partners at iRobot gave us positive feedback on our research and consumer journey mapping, emphasizing that these—along with our novel service concept—would help them advance their lawn care product offerings. Our final deliverables included: 

  • Novel lawn care service concept with digital prototypes

  • Detailed consumer insights and research synthesis

  • Feature breakdown and consumer journey

  • Business model canvas

  • Three-phase roadmap for launching our concept

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My Key Learnings

Consider a Roadmap: It was important to consider that not all elements of the service concept could feasibly be introduced by iRobot at the same time. We wanted to think about the logical order of implementation, and used a three-step framework of "step," "stretch," and "leap" to imagine the stages of our concept from varying timelines of six months to five years into the future. 

The Value of a "Solo"-storm: An alternative to group brainstorming is "solo"-storming, where team members individually develop ideas and sketches that are then brought together for a group shareout. For this project, the "solo"-storming technique worked well and generated some great discussions.