The main skill I gained from this course and from the group project is how to dig for insights, or at least, how to begin digging for them. One semester is definitely not long enough to really understand a persona deeply enough, especially considering obligations to other courses that take away from dedicating more time to this project. I really enjoyed the initial stages of coming together and brainstorming as a group what our perceptions of our persona Allison were based on the minimal facts were given on her. Then, actually conducting a focus group with this customer segment was a good experience as well. I’d moderated focus groups and been a participant in a couple before, so that part of gaining insights wasn’t all that new to me. What was new was when we used projective techniques to extract information that wasn’t directly given to us, but had to interpreted on a more psychological level. We used photo journals, asking several women in our target segment to send us five pictures of things that symbolized what got them through their day and what their dreams and aspirations were. We also asked them to send us a print screen of their Bookmarks bar and their online calendar or physical planner if they felt comfortable doing so. Being able to see how things were organized in their lives and to decipher what was actually relevant and personal to them without being too intrusive was a challenge, and these insights helped us to redefine what our initial thoughts were and to create a prototype that would actually be useful to them based on the insights we had gained through interview and projective methods.
Secondly, working on this project with my teammates helped me to better understand the importance of the Business Model Canvas to the success of a prototype. Usually I am much more oriented to an idea and the concepts rather than the details, so being able to figure out how to address different parts of the canvas proved to be an interesting challenge and a good learning experience for me. The Business Model Canvas consists of the key activities, value propositions, customer relationships, customer, revenue, channels, key resources, costs, and key partners. All of these things are elements we must consider when figuring out how to market a prototype to a certain customer segment. Some of them focus more on insights gained from research conducted on consumers (i.e. customer relationships, value propositions) while others are more business-oriented (i.e. costs, key resources), which made for a nice mix of both conceptual and detail organization. My team’s persona was a single, educated, working woman named Allison who was in her early 30’s, and we were given the task to market a prototype to this kind of persona with KVUE as our client. After learning about our customer through secondary and primary research, we were able to gain insights on certain value propositions, customer relationships, channels, key activities, and key partners that would be relevant to Allison. We were then able to create (to the best of our ability) a prototype based off of these findings that would be catered to Allison while being profitable for KVUE. The revenue, key resources, costs aspects of the Business Model Canvas are more independent of the persona, but equally important to the success of the prototype’s distribution.
While filming a video for presentation was a nice way to be creative with our presentation, it did feel like there was more strain being put on us despite the intention to give students more time. While filming does not take too long depending on how well-planned out the script is prior to shooting, editing a video can be a strenuous task. My team members and I felt that giving a formal presentation would’ve used our time more wisely and been more beneficial. Also, having the name of the client available to us from the beginning rather than later would’ve been more helpful as well. While I agree that not knowing who the client is until after the persona has been researched allows for better brainstorming without the restriction, in the real world, you will know who your client is before you even begin to research the persona. My teammates and I were confused about what direction to head in with our project until near the end when the client was revealed, so having that anchor would have been more beneficial to the project.
Despite how hard it is to coordinate schedules among other downsides of group projects, I almost always feel that team projects help me learn material better because it is a collaborative effort. Being able to simulate a real-world problem made the material more relevant and tangible to me. Definitely at times I would need clarification on certain elements of the project, most notably the Business Model Canvas, and being able to discuss these aspects and bounce ideas off of each other was helpful in expanding my understanding of the material. Though we did struggle with the revenue aspect of the Business Model Canvas (and that was quite frustrating), we were able to talk out the other parts of the canvas and it helped me to confirm that what I thought applied to something like cost structure or value propositions was what someone else also believed. This project certainly made me feel like I had something to take away from this class, and it’s unfortunate that the main resource we lacked to see it all the way through was time.