Integrative Workshop, Spring 2011

School of Information @ University of California, Berkeley

Reflections on ‘Business Model’ lecture

Filed under: Posts and Blogs — Saghar at 6:00 am on Tuesday, February 8, 2011


It was great to kick off yesterday with the business model and adoption discussion for the integrative workshop. Coming up with a great business model is not easy; many startups fail because they can’t do it. It is part creative, part analytical, and part experiential.

Choosing the customer segment, articulating a compelling value proposition, deciding on how to earn money, and crafting an adoption strategy all have huge implications for the next topics: what kind of user experience, what service design strategy, which kind of system architecture, and what sort of legal approach?

A few comments on our discussion from Steve and me:

– Beyond the immediate business for parents and physicians, there are some creative business models to think about:

– a platform for a “horizontal” play, by having different kinds of apps for different kinds of tracking (track your life…)

– a “vertical” play–everything for the mum in the household (app is just one thing, food, baby things, etc).

– 100% research play (sell to researchers via grants)

– tracking to record your baby’s evolution and share with grand parents etc (ie not about health, but a diary).

– sell to insurance companies so that they look good by offering this, but in reality not useful but big symbolic value.

– etc.

The bigger point is that sometimes business models are very different and more radical than first thought.

– Precision in targeting customers;

It is important to think through exactly who is the most important user group. Which parents MUST track this information (biggest pain point): first-timers, tech savvy with premature born baby or baby with health issues, vs. just “parents.”  How this is defined will have implications for the next session–user experiences and choice of personas.

– Business model and platform;

If you don’t know exactly what you will end up with (business model will be different from first thought), you need to have built in some flexibility in your user design, service design, and platform. Otherwise technology will constrain you. This will have implications for the next couple of sessions on service design and platform strategy.

Best regards,

Morten and Steve

Reflections on the ‘User Experience’ lecture

Filed under: Posts and Blogs — Saghar at 5:49 am on Tuesday, February 8, 2011


Thanks to Nancy and Tapan for leading the discussion of the user experience side to the integrative workshop.

And we got to design some prototypes for the next generation of ODL! Photos of the designs will be up on the course webpage shortly.

It was very interesting to learn how tightly connected the user experience issues are to the business model ones.

Which way does it work?

a) Business model => data collection on users

b) Data collection on users => business model

a) It is difficult to get traction on user research if you don’t know anything about your business model (value proposition, pain points). To start with, you need to know who the users are and, as Nancy said, there are many different kinds of parents–all users are not alike.  So some business model decisions are necessary upfront.

b) Yet, what you learn from user research may alter or even radically transform your business model. You may discover that certain users don’t want it, or that some want it but for different purposes (e.g., not to track health but to create a diary and share photos on facebook!). That suddenly changes the value proposition, the “pain point” or need, and ways to monetize (now advertising may look more attractive).

The upshot: these issues are tightly linked, and figuring this out requires a process of iteration, back and forth between business model and user research and prototyping.

That means that the process is highly experiential (vs. just analytical) and that the end point is likely to be very different from the first idea.

Best regards, Morten