Putting users at the center of the design process
Customer need is the most important ingredient of successful innovation, however, precisely this factor is often neglected in science and innovation projects.
Real performance and success of technological systems to a large extend depend on the users and their willingness to change their established routines. Against this background, ebalance-plus pays special attention to the users’ needs and concerns when it comes to the solutions that the project is developing.
In May 2021, IPI elaborated five personas for some of the ebalance-plus solutions: Marie, Pedro, Emma, Giuseppe and Edoardo represent users of different cultural, economic and social backgrounds. They have different levels of openness towards new technologies, environmental topics and willingness to contribute to energy efficiency of their environments.
To ensure that ebalance-plus partners take the users’ perspective on the technical innovation that they are working on, IPI conducted a “User Motivation Workshop”. They used three personas to guide partners’ understanding of how and why these particular users might use some of the products that the project is working on (V2G and IoT devices for smart energy management at home), thus ensuring that the products meet real needs of these personas.
While it might seem obvious that innovation projects should take into account users’ needs and concerns, way too often we spend 90% of our time tweaking functionalities and delving into complexities that might be irrelevant for users, forgetting insignificant details that might actually make a difference at the market.