An introduction by Steven Birnie: Senior Industrial Designer NCR | Cx Design
NCR have a strong history working with and supporting academic projects, courses and research. The support is global in its reach, deep in its impact and rich in its content. The Consumer Experience Design [Cx Design] group within NCR are designing new devices and interactions for an ever-increasing digitally aware consumer. In order for NCR to deliver products, interactions and services that are relevant, usable and culturally aware we need to engage with consumers in all of our diverse markets. NCR are funding the MSc Product Design students to research and gather insights into the Indian market, the people and the culture in relation to mobile use and a digital world.
The use of mobile technologies and communications in India over the past 5/10 years has been prolific. India has the world’s second largest number of mobile phone users with over 881 million as of October 2011. Although the percentage of population that have access to the internet in any form is low there are still 40 million users who use their mobiles to access the internet.
In countries such as the UK use of the internet has started with fixed line access due to the nature of legacy copper cable infrastructure. Where in many Western countries the advent of mobile technologies was seen as an evolutionary step forward, in developing nations it could be seen as a mobile revolution, bypassing infrastructure investments other countries have made.
India does not have the same legacy issues as the UK; they can effectively leap-frog the UK and move to a much more mobile and inherently accessible mode of internet access. With countries such as India, China and those in Africa spearheading the mobile revolution companies, like NCR, are looking to them to understand how business and consumers are adopting mobile technologies and the opportunities this may create.
The blog that follows aims to share the students experiences and methods of insight gathering. The project activity is to be supported by the stage 4 students from the National Institute of Design (NID) who will provide much valued local knowledge and input.
MSc PD – over to you!
MSc Product Design
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A round-up of Ahmedabad
Comments from Steven Birnie
Our research activity in Ahmedabad has certainly been an insightful journey. Having the chance to study the culture, people and environment in relation to mobile use and the internet has allowed us all to learn vast amounts. The insights and ideas that have been developed over the 2 week period will feed directly into the products, services and interactions that NCR develop.
As a process it has shown that in order to really learn how to design products and interactions for new markets it needs teams on the ground – on the ground engaging with real people in the right context. There have been a range of different insight gathering methods used from questionnaires to Video Insights. A key component to the research was the engagement with the NID students. This ensured the insights were rich and correct and the ideas were co-designed and relevant.
The relationships formed between NCR and NID during our time here is something that will continue to grow. It is significant that both groups are open to an industry/educational collaboration and understand the mutual benefits.
For the MSc PD students the Mobile Insights activity continues with the consolidation of all the insights and ideas into a research document for NCR Cx Design. Id like to thank them for all their hard work and dedication to the project so far.
Insights and Ideas Exhibition
Our final full day in Ahmedabad concluded in an exhibition of our Insights and Ideas to the students of NID. At the same time all the Open Elective students exhibited their work so there was a great vibe throughout the campus. There were extravagant puppet shows, dancing, music, crafts and digital apps.
We wanted to get as much out of the show as possible. Our aim was to get further validation of the concepts we had developed and gather still more insights and feedback. Some of the photographs and screen-shots from our video insights were mounted alongside our ideas generated at the Ideas Jam. We used a roll of paper on the desk to sketch out further ideas, insights and conversations from the visitors to our stand. Photo: Our stand.
Photo: Insights and ideas wall at our stand.
Photo: Conversations from visitors.
Photo: Outcome; lots of ideas and developments.
“Concept development through discussion – NCR Mobile Insights #mscpd”
Todays task was to develop the initial ideas from yesterday’s Ideas Jam. We have an opportunity tomorrow to exhibit at the same time as the Open Elective students that is running in parallel to our time here. We will be setting up a stand designed to generate discussions and develop our key ideas. Photos: Concept development.
Photo: Sketch diagram for the space at tomorrow’s exhibition.
“Concept development – NCR Mobile Insights”
To ensure our concepts were inclusive of Indian culture we conducted an idea generation session together with NID volunteers. We find getting the right people in a room surrounded by our inspirational insights allows the ideas to flow. We introduced some key topics from the insights we have gained over the past week and tied that together with NCR’s business areas. This gave us focus for our conversations, further insights and of course, ideas. It was a really dynamic session, generating approximately 150 ideas covering retail, hospitality, finance and travel in India.
Photos : from the ideas jam.
“Ideas wall – NCR Mobile Insights #mscpd ”
To further our ideas and gain more visuals for our insights, we decided to gather some video insights. With our question “What communication and interactions are used to perform everyday tasks in India?” We split into two teams; one heading to the “Old City” to film transactions and services and the other filming communication and socialisation. Photo: Screenshot – A Mobile service. It is common in India to make your business mobile whether is it foot, pedal or engine powered, most businesses seem to be on wheels or attached to a vehicle. We generated ideas focussing on mobile services.
Photo: Screenshot – A blade sharpener powered buy a belt driven off the back wheel of a pedal bike. With rural communities in India having no access to power, could pedal power be the solution to bring digital services to rural communities?
Tomorrow we will conduct an all-day ideas jam with NID students.
“Video insights screenshots – Mobile Insights NCR #mscpd ”
Today Insights became Ideas.
After gathering all our insights together and discussing them as a team we began to generate themes and then ideas. In order to get as much insights and ideas generated in the short time we have we need to work in very focused sessions. A number of ideas have been generated that need further validation and development.
It was important to us to validate the insights we had gained with the NID group. We needed to ensure we had drawn the correct assumptions. The day concluded with a two hour focus group which ended up giving us a huge number of new insights as well as confirming our initial thoughts. We opened up the topic of “what works in India” to potentially influence some western design which unearthed some fantastic insights.
Photo: Focus Group.
Photo: An Indian multi-language mobile phone (most mobiles in India are only English) shown to us during the focus group. In such a culturally diverse nation customisation of services for different languages is very important.
We will explore these insights tomorrow with a video insights morning and then reconvine for another focus group dedicated to ideas.
“The ideas are flowing – NCR mobile insights #mscpd”
Today was a day of Photo insight gathering and addressing areas we have not touched on yet.
One of these areas is news distribution. An insight gained from the questionnaires is that a minority of people use the internet to check the news. Today we discovered various forms of news distribution throughout the city. India is one of the few nations where news paper distribution is on the increase.
Photo: News Bike – A man on a bike that sells newspapers.
Photo: A news stand – Newspapers are pegged onto lines to extend retail space.
An interview conducted an interview with the manager of “The Mobile Store” to get an idea of what phones sell and why. We also got another 50 questionnaires completed.
“Mapping out service journeys in India #mscpd”
Today we split into two teams each taking one NID student as a guide. Our goal was to further investigate banking and transportation. Our aim is to build up a series of Service Journeys. We will map out the services, gather any insights we can and understand the opportunities.
One team interviewed a bank manager, to gain insights mobile banking and electronic transactions. Photo: CitiBank – A large “Public” bank who were the first to introduce Credit Cards and ATMs to India.
The other team visited train and bus stations to analyse the processes. This proved difficult as train stations are “of military importance” so forbid photographs and are heavily guarded. Photo: Train timetable, Handwritten in chalk on a blackboard. Analogue communication.
Both revealed interesting insights which we will further in workshops next week. We also managed to get a few more questionnaires filled out along the way.
“62 page storyboard for NCR Mobile Insights publication #mscpd”
We spent the majority of the day producing a questionnaire to gain “Mobile Insights” in an Indian context. The questionnaire was co-designed with the NID students, this ensured that the right questions were being asked! Even the production process of the questionnaire has lead to new insights by the team. The aim of the questionnaire is to build up some initial data around mobile and internet habits – this data will highlight trends and potential grey areas that can then be the focus of our research.
We went through several iterations of the questionnaire to ensure that it was laid out effectively and made sense to the participants. The questions were refined, test printed and completed by NID volunteers.
Finally a batch were printed and we were out on the street engaging with the people of India! The participants were coming thick and fast and already we are seeing trends in the responses that we will be able to use going forward.
These are “head shots” of the first 10 interviewees:
We are currently digitising and analysing the data produced by these ready to discuss tomorrow morning.
“The “mobile insights” questionnaire sponsored by NCR #mscpd”
We have had an amazing first day. As a first insight gathering exercise for the NCR brief, we met great NID students who took us to the “Old City.” The support from the NID students is allowing us to gain access to places we would never have been able to go. It means we can understand elements and nuances of life, culture and systems that would not have been possible otherwise. Life on the street is chaotic, it is really hard to keep track of everyone with so much going on – shouting, beeping, selling, buying, going from A to wherever! All of us were absorbing as much as we could, as-well as frantically taking photographs, video and asking as much questions as we can.
We concluded the day with an insights digest session.This involved disseminating the photos, video and anecdotal research we had managed to gather as a group. We were able to pull out some initial insights and themes that will form the focus of further research in the coming days.
Thanks from the team!
Jasmine, Jack, Deborah and Jen.