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Product ideation workshops

My role

Project Lead and Product Design Lead in-house for a consumer digital reading subscription app. Collaborated with Product Manager, Jr. Designer, and executive stakeholders to create a series of generative product strategy workshops.

The project

After making critical updates to core functionality and performance of the app, the leadership team wanted to switch the focus to increased product differentiation. What would distinguish this product in the marketplace and make it more attractive to target customers? This was a new approach for the team, who typically got product ideas only from data analysis.

What I did

  • Designed and facilitated a series of cross-disciplinary product strategy workshops
  • Demonstrated how to use qualitative findings to spark product ideas (in a data-driven environment)
  • Facilitated prioritization exercise for themes & ideas to pursue
  • “Whiteboard pitch” to executives for initial product ideas from workshops

1. Crafting & conducting the workshops

In addition to gathering input from stakeholders, I mined multiple qualitative research studies for insights. What common psychological drivers can we tap into? What are barriers and unmet needs? How can we make the product map better to people’s everyday lives? 

Workshop themes

After selecting themes, I wrote hypotheses + challenge questions and created a reference board with brand positioning and inspirational information, which were all used to fuel workshop activities.

How might we help people to…

  • Feel accomplished through their reading?
  • Spend more time reading?
  • Learn and grow — personally or professionally? 
  • Take advantage of the strengths of digital reading?

2. Synthesis

  • Facilitated a speedy whiteboard team synthesis session to discuss and group ideas into themes
  • Next, facilitated exercises to prioritize themes & ideas to pursue further
  • Recorded results and questions to answer via customer research into a short report for Product Management

3. Sketch pitches

In collaboration with another designer, selected the top ideas for sketch pitches to executive stakeholders to:

  • Quickly visualize concepts to show how they may be experienced in product
  • Demonstrate to a technically-oriented product team how fast and lean Design Strategy can be
  • Get a read on what was strategically resonating with the new value proposition
  • Get the green light to put quick wins on the product roadmap, and to put others into customer research

4. Quick wins

“Starter pack” curated reading lists

Example “Quick Win” that was immediately added to the roadmap—goal-based curated lists or “Starter Packs”. This project took our collections (a simple list of books) and gave them a customer-oriented point of view.

The collections became goal-oriented and more actionable, smaller and more focused, and included descriptions from the curators about the value of each piece in the collection. I also visually redesigned them to stand out in the product and have a more editorial, human feel.

5. Ideas for generative research

Concepts for customer research

Created research stimuli that explored ways the app could make people feel accomplished or rewarded through their reading, based upon ideas generated in the workshop.