Design Thinking Workshop: Egencia Mobile Homepage

A half-day workshop built around Design Thinking and rapid creation of ideas for the new Egencia Mobile Homepage.

In the spirit of transparency and open source knowledge, I wanted to share my wins and obstacles from a Design Thinking workshop I ran last year. You will find the full agenda, worksheet and key takeaways for each design play. Feel free to pick and choose a play or utilize the complete set for a half-day workshop that you can run with your own team. Good luck!

(photo by Corinne DiGiovanni)

🌎 PROBLEM HISTORY:

Egencia, a Travel Management Company or TMC, is a subsidiary company to the Expedia Group. The original application was launched in 2012 as a trip itinerary companion to the desktop ecosystem. Over the years the needs of the business, as well as the users, called for more functionality inside the app that aligned with the desktop.

The current desktop product has functionality for multiple users with a variety of permissions and workflows, but here are the 4 main user roles we focused on for this workshop:

  • Self Booker — A person who is shopping for their travel and will have their company reimburse the cost.
  • Travel Manager (policy)— A person who sets up travel policies and negotiated rates for their company so that travelers stay within the company’s budget.
  • Trip Approver — A person who looks over a traveler’s trip to make sure it is in line with the company’s policies and budget before approving the transaction.
  • Travel Manager (risk) — A person that validates the location and safety of their company’s travelers and helps with communication and extraction when necessary.

The mobile app was originally built for Self Bookers only, and as of the last year, we have brought in limited functionality for an Approver.

With the rise of business needs on the go, the Egencia mobile app has been tasked to absorb as many of the desktop functionality as possible. In particular, our power users, like the Trip Approvers and Travel Managers are asking for more features in the app.

The overall problem that needed to be solved in this workshop was how do we find commonality among the user roles and their needs so that we know strategically what features to work on first?

Knowing the needs of our 4 main users, I developed an overall problem statement to help guide the workshop.

🏁 PROBLEM STATEMENT:

Show the most relevant information/offers/functionality to a user at any given time based on their role/permissions, booking habits and other Egencia information that we have. Then provide them with the most optimal launch point for the task that they’re trying to complete.

🗒 AGENDA:

Understand (50 min)

How Might We (20 min)

  • Example: How might we communicate through our Mobile Home Page?
  • Example: How might we deliver users’ most time-sensitive tasks?
  • Example: How might we cater to each unique user?

Affinity Mapping (30 min)

  • Stack rank tasks
  • Group like items

Define (10 min)

Venn Diagram — mobile vs desktop

  • What tasks/needs are only available on Mobile/Desktop?
  • What tasks/needs overlap?

Decide (30 min)

Create a Decision Framework

  • What are our current features?
  • What would the incremental features be?
  • What would the evolutionary features be?
  • What are the aspirational (North Star) features?

Sketch (15 min)

Crazy Eights (Sketching)

  • 8 Minutes to sketch out 8 different solutions
  • 7 minutes to present

Wrap up (15 min)

  • Final discussions and takeaways
Participants writing out their HMW’s (photo by Corinne DiGiovanni)

⚽️ PLAY 1: “How Might We”

Individual Activity (20 min)

Why we use this structure:

“How” guides team members to believe the answer is out there.

“Might” lets team members know their HMW statement might or might not work, and either possibility is okay

“We” reminds team members that the Design Sprint is about teamwork and building on each others’ ideas

You’ll Need:

  1. Post-its™
  2. Your assigned user problem statements (available at the end of this article)
  3. A thick Sharpie™ to write your HMW notes
  4. When you hear pain points, reframe them as opportunities
  5. Write only one HMW idea or opportunity per sticky note

You’ll Do:

  1. Think and formulate solutions/pain points (individual heads-down work) using the HMW structure as a guideline.
  2. Write as many HMW’s that come to mind with no filter.
  3. Quantity is more important than quality. Get as many stickies filled out.
  4. This heads-down time is meant for the participants to empathize with their user and try and think of their needs.

Key Takeaways:

  1. Some participants quickly wrote down numerous ideas, while some others struggled to get one started. When you notice someone with a bunch of blank Post-its™ in front of them, sit next to them and talk through their personal pain points and direct those feelings back to the user personas. You can find a list of examples I created on page 3 of the packet located at the end of this article.
  2. Since the Egencia user base has very segregated user roles with their own specific needs, I took this opportunity to split up the HMW’s per user type. Each participant focused on no more than 2 user types at a time. If you are running this play for a smaller user base, you will not need to split up the group.
  3. I printed up each of the problem statements and attached the associated color Post-it so that it was clearly defined what color went with what user.

Post-it Color Coding:

Self Booker — yellow
Travel Manager (risk) — green
Trip Approver — pink
Travel Manager (policy) — blue

Participants mapping their HMW’s to group discovered categories (photo by Corinne DiGiovanni)

🏀 PLAY 2: “Affinity Mapping”

Group Activity (30 min)

Why we use this structure:

Sharing problems/solutions with the group affirms that the group is thinking collectively about the user and calling out true issues/solutions.

It is a quick analytical tool used to organize many ideas into subgroups with common themes or common relationships.

You’ll Need:

  1. Your HMW’s stickies
  2. Wall or whiteboard to collect and group the stickies
  3. Dry erase markers to draw and label categories

You’ll Do:

  1. Take one post-it and make it the first post-it in the first group.
  2. Take the next post-it and ask, “Is this similar to the first one or is it different?”. Then, you will place it in the first group or into its own group.
  3. You continue post-it by post-it as you place similar ideas together and create new groups when ideas do not fit into an existing cluster.
  4. You should now have 3–10 groups, so it’s time to talk about the best elements of those clusters.
  5. Name the clusters to help you create an information structure and discover themes.

Key Takeaways:

  1. Seeing how quickly the categories came together was exciting. There were so many multiple ideas from different participants. This just reiterated that we as a collective group were on the right track.
  2. If a grouping or category seems undefinable, bring up the problems you are solving for and see if there is a pain point or solution that could be bundled together.
Participants discussing where solutions/problems affect our global product (photo by Corinne DiGiovanni)

⚾️ PLAY 3: “Venn Diagram”

Group Activity (10 min)

Why we use this structure:

This helps visualize how multiple product groups could be effected by the solution/problems.

It is a quick visualization on who will need to be part of the decision making

You’ll Need:

  1. Your HMW’s stickies
  2. Wall or whiteboard to collect and group the stickies
  3. Dry erase markers to draw and label categories

You’ll Do:

  1. Draw a large Venn Diagram on the whiteboard (2 circles). Label the far left Mobile, the far right Desktop, and the middle loop is for both features.
  2. Take a post-it and discuss with the group if that solution/problem relates only to Mobile, Desktop or both
  3. Place post-it in its specific place on the diagram
  4. Repeat until all post-its are placed in the diagram

Key Takeaways:

  1. When brainstorming two seemingly different solutions, I would suggest using this Venn Diagram play. If you have a more simplified problem to solve, this may not serve you.
  2. With our current product offering the majority of our features on the desktop, it was important to compare and contrast the offerings in this visual form.
  3. When the participants first placed the Post-its, there was a clear delineation between desktop offerings and mobile offerings. I challenged each post-it and asked questions like “would you like to see this feature/solution on the app?” and “just because this feature/solution is only offered on the desktop now, would our [insert user type] find this beneficial on the mobile app?”.
  4. Almost all the features/solutions fell within the overlap. The physical act of moving the post-its as well as discussing as a team, helped the group rally around the idea of “1 Egencia” and encouraged us to look at our solutions as a brand rather than platform agnostic.

🏐 PLAY 4: “Dot Voting”

Group Activity (10 min)

Why we use this structure:

Dot voting is a collective way of prioritizing and converging on a design solution that uses group voting.

This is a way of efficiently selecting from a large number of ideas. The preferred ideas are to carry forward in the design process.

You’ll Need:

  1. Your HMW’s stickies
  2. Stickers (dots or stars) for point ranking

You’ll Do:

  1. Rank the most important clusters over less important clusters. Be aware which values, motives, and priorities you use as foundation ideas before you start ranking: Is this your user’s priorities, your company’s, the market’s, the stakeholder’s, or your own? Which ones should you put most emphasis on?
  2. Each participant gets 3 “points” they can assign to the items they think need are the most important feature/category/topic.
  3. Participants walk around and place a sticker (or draw a dot with a colored marker) on the items they wish to cast their votes for.
  4. The voting rules differ by the team and local preferences, but usually, people are allowed to assign multiple importance points (up to their allocated maximum) to a single issue if they think it’s crucial enough. For example, an attendee with 3 votes could assign two votes to one issue and one vote to another.

Key Takeaways:

  1. Since there were so many similar ideations of ideas or themes, I decided to have the teams regroup around their original use cases and form smaller categories/features before ranking them.
  2. The two smaller groups then presented their categories and voting to the larger group for feedback.
  3. The top-ranked categories/solutions were used directly in the next play.

🏈 PLAY 5: “Decision Framework”

Group Activity (30 min)

Why we use this structure:

Visuals such as charts and matrices can help practitioners base important decisions on objective, relevant criteria instead of subjective opinions.

This structured, objective approach helps achieve collaborative consensus while satisfying the varied needs of the user and business.

You’ll Need:

  1. Your prioritized Dot Voting categories or themes
  2. Your Decision Framework paperwork (located on page 6 of the worksheet)
  3. Pens/pencils for writing

You’ll Do:

  1. Utilize the prioritized list of features/solutions we came up with as a group during our “Stack Ranking” play. Then list out in each section where our prioritized list of solutions would fall into the below three categories.
  2. Incremental: in this section list out the features that theoretically (please don’t get to bogged down with HOW we will execute) we could produce with minimal work effort because we would be building off a current feature.
  3. Evolutionary: in this section write down any solutions that could be implemented after the adoption of the incremental changes. These features would have some dependencies but are still obtainable.
  4. Revolutionary: in this section, this is where our “BlueSky” or “North Star” features go. This could be ideas that hinge on undiscovered technology but are super cool ideas (e.g flying cars, retina scanning ID’s instead of passports at airports).

Key Takeaways:

  1. This particular play was important to our group as we needed to take the time to think about what our current product offerings were and then plan on expanding through the 3 steps.
  2. By this time in the workshop, I did not have to remind the participants to dream big and not get caught up in the minutia of technical requirements or APIs.
  3. Some participants worked backward, starting with a “Blue Sky” idea and then removed features so that it could fit into our current product. There is no wrong way to brainstorm, so allow the natural process to happen.

🎾 PLAY 6: “Crazy 8's”

Group Activity (15 min)

Why we use this structure:

This fast sketching exercise challenges people to quickly draw out eight distinct ideas in eight minutes.

The goal is to push beyond your first idea, lean into the iterative process, and to generate a wide variety of solutions.

You’ll Need:

  1. Your paper with 8 boxes
  2. Pens/markers/pencils for writing

You’ll Do:

  1. Use the outlined paper located in the packet on page 8.
  2. You will have 1 minute to sketch out a single solution at 8 rounds each.
  3. Choose either 8 different solutions or refine 1 solution over each 1 minute round.
  4. Choose your favorite sketch/solution to share with your group. Present your solution to the group (1 minute to present).

Key Takeaways:

  1. Half the participants were from the design team, but the other half had little to no art/design background. One participant, in particular, looked perplexed at their paper. At that time I encouraged them to just write out thoughts or goals without worring about what the end result was.
  2. Taking the time to present a favorite sketch is important for the designers as well as any non-designers in your group. What this does is help them understand the design critique process and how to better articulate design and feature decisions to a large group.
  3. I played some calming music for the 8 minutes and just called out the 1-minute marks. If the group was just designers, I may not have done this as we are used to drawing in silence.

Worksheet

User Problem Statements

When:
December 2018

Where:
Egencia, Bellevue Office

Lead:
Corinne DiGiovanni — Senior Mobile Product Designer

Participants:
Design = 6
Tech = 2
Product = 4
Analytics = 1

Learn More:
If you enjoy working on a team that values creativity and regularly invests in team-building opportunities with a creative slant, apply for one of our open positions today.

Note:

Any views or opinions represented in this post are personal and belong solely to myself and do not represent those of people, institutions or organizations that may or may not be associated with me in a professional or personal capacity unless explicitly stated. Any views or opinions are not intended to malign any religion, ethnic group, club, organization, company or individual.

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