innovation

User Day-parting

This exercise supports a user-centred approach to product and service innovation. Teams create imaginary user (a persona), map out an average day in his or her life, and identify the challenges that he or she experiences. Teams then use this to brainstorm new products or services that could help with those challenges. Finally, sketches or prototypes of the best ideas are quickly developed presented back to for feedback.

Learn how to apply this tool:

Master Class Digital Acceleration
  1. Step 1:

    Explain the purpose of the exercise to the teams: “We are going to design a product or service for a specific person by looking at their average day.” Give each team several sheets of flipchart paper and ask them to turn the paper lengthwise and draw a timeline through the middle. Mark one end with 07:00 and the other with 24:00.

    Facilitator notes

    You can vary this session by using a real or imagined client. The teams become the client organisation, asking “how might brand X solve challenge Y for persona Z?” If there is more time then teams can also iterate on their ideas. Following the feedback from the rest of the group, ask them to make improvements and then present those back.

  2. Step 2:

    Either give each group a persona or ask them to create one in one corner of the paper. They should think about who this person is: name, location, job, family, interests. This should take no more than 5-10 minutes.

  3. Step 3:

    Now ask the teams to use the area above the timeline to map out a typical day for their persona. They can use post-its or write directly on the paper. Encourage groups to work quickly and creatively, including as many events of the day as possible. Give groups 5-10 minutes.

  4. Step 4:

    Groups should now use the area below the timeline to brainstorm the digital touchpoints for their persona. What technologies and applications do they interact with throughout the day? Where and why do they use them? Give groups 5-10 minutes.

  5. Step 5:

    Now, groups should take a few minutes to identify the biggest pain points or challenges they encounter during the day. What does their persona find difficult? What do they waste time doing? Where do they encounter frustration? Groups should come up with as many pain points as possible and then circle some of the most painful to work with. Give groups 5-10 minutes.

  6. Step 6:

    Now ask them to explore how they can add value to their persona’s life by helping reduce pain? How can they increase efficiency and happiness? What product or service could they create that would overcome paint points? Give them 10-15 minutes to brainstorm ideas.

  7. Step 7:

    Get the teams to choose one product or service idea to develop further. They should give the new concept a name, describe the problem it solves and how it works. The concept should be visually represented and described on a flipchart paper. Give groups about 20 minutes.

  8. Step 8:

    All of the teams should now present their ideas to the group. If time allows, there can be a quick feedback round after each presentation.

  9. Step 9:

    Close the session with a short reflection to draw out learnings.