Let people talk about toilet use was challenging. Not even mentioning that Chinese people in general are modest in expression and are not familiar with generative approach. How to engage them in the generative activities? How to support their narrative and creativity?
The client Villeroy & Boch (V&B) wanted to develop a smart toilet (a toilet that wash you, warm your bum) better matching Chinese users’ habits and preferences. What is Chinese toilet culture? What are the hidden reasons that people need different functional features? How can a European company make a breakthrough in Chinese market? With these challenges, I was invited to support MMID, the design team, to explore the context of Chinese toilet use at home as well as public spaces in Beijing and Shanghai, China.
Tailor made tools support narrative and creativity
To engage Chinese participants in the generative activities, several new session tools were tailored made, for example one called Dare to Draw – a set including a piece of foldable whiteboard, several pieces of white magnet tiles (some blank, some filed with key words), whiteboard pen and an eraser. This tool helped to release participants’ fear of making mistakes and feel at ease when asked to speculate ideal features.
Co-creation workshop with stakeholders
An insight sharing and co-creation workshop was organized with the stakeholders from design, marketing and communication departments of V&B and MMID. To communicate the Chinese user insights to the stakeholders who have a different cultural background, additional information in a larger scope than the user research itself was provided. For example, giving the stakeholders with some demographic information; lifestyles; and popular events of China would deepen their understanding of the research findings. During the workshop, we generated ideas for new product and services, and discussed in what way these ideas should be further developed.
Master class: Implementing customer insights for your business
An interview about this project was conducted, which has been used as a case for the on-line Master Class:Implementing customer insights for your business. The audients of this master class were design professionals from Europe, USA and Asia.
Commercial Research Project
Contextual user research // Co-creation