Start-up: Guru Systems

Helping the UK reduce their carbon emission, company awarded by the Ashden Awards for energy innovation

Start-ups Case study 2/3, Reading time:10min
  • Help reduce the UK CO2 emission by increasing sales of Heat Management services
  • Use AI-driven analytics to improve efficiency and change the future of heat for the better
  • My role as UX Lead was to develop an innovative app that would digitalise engineers' current lengthy and complexe process as well as streamlining their current service design. Our goal was to improve efficiency and therefore reduce cost of services. We reduced their process from days down to a few hours.
    Since Guru is a start-up, I gradually extended my skills set and took on a hybrid role between Product & Design and Product Management in order to meet our deadlines set by Innovate UK.
    In terms of Digital Product & Service Design, I:
  • Supported the set up and the implementation of the UX & Service department
  • Helped with the recruitment of the team
  • Mentored the newly created team
  • Conducted and lead the research during discovery phase (contextual research, shadowing, competitive analysis and workshops with key stakeholders)
  • Lead the design, testing and iteration of lo-fi, medium fidelity and high fidelity prototypes
  • Lead the creative direction, design system creation, brand identity update & UI definition
  • In terms of Product Management, I:
  • Supported the in-house product development process definition
  • Supported the creation and definition of product goals and strategy
  • Helped establishing the product roadmap as well as the process to update and prioritise based on business goals and insights from user interviews and platform metrics.
  • Helped define, validate and prioritise epics/milestones using an Agile methodology (Kanban)
  • Worked closely with the in-house Engineering team as well as outsourced ressources
  • Worked collaboratively with other areas of the business (sales & marketing, supply chain, customer service, delivery team and external engineers) to ensure product success
  • A completely innovative product and service ready for launch within 18 months (delayed beacuse of COVID-19)
  • A fully digitalised product and process minimising the time of the existing service from 3 days to a few hours.
  • Accrued efficiency of former service
  • Significant reduction of cost of provided service
  • Democratisation and wider adoption of current offering
  • Helped reduce carbon footprint in the UK construction industry
  • Summary

    Below is a summary of the key elements of the product and service development. You can see in more details the process I took the team through and how we delivered our products witing the allocated timeframe.

    1) Business Model Analysis

    Prior to starting the discovery phase for designing a product, I run a thorough analysis to better understand the client's current business model and upcoming strategy. This helps my design being aligned with the overall company ethos and integrate seamlessly. This approach also helps connecting the dots between different department and avoiding working in the dreaded silos.

    2) UX and Service Design Department creation

    I was offered to build the Design department from zero and everything related to it, mentoring, design sprints, management processes, communications with stakeholders, stakeholders participation and validation and so on. Guru being very open-minded, I was also invited to participate in the company culture and a few of the social initiatives I suggested were well received.

    3) Analysis, Strategy, Scope and Planning

    Strategizing, scoping and planning were weekly tasks. We had to be extremely lean and agile in order to deliver two key products withn a year. Our research allied with the company strategy informed all our decisions.

    One of our biggest challenge was to source the information we needed, decipher a huge amount of technical information, all paper-based with no common format and to automate the way this data will be ingested and used in our app.

    4) Collaborative and contextual research

    We were able to go on construction sites to shadow engineers checking heat network installation as well as organising numerous workshops with key stakeholders from different companies.

    Methodically documenting and capturing our research whilst being lean yet clear

    We documented the findings from our research as quickly and clearly as possible so we wouldn't loose track of them in the long run. We also used more and more online tools to faciliate collaboration and knowledge sharing.

    User testing: app and platforms

    Following the true User-Centered Methodology, we always tested and iterated our design with our users, in offices or on construction sites, sometimes on the fly. This efficiently helped us create a very suitable product for our main users.

    Design phases: from low fidelity, to medium to high-fidelity prototypes with the help of design system and pattern libraries

    In order to be able to scale-up and designing more efficiently, I initiated the creation of a pattern library. We were extremely lean when we created it but the components we designed helped us create secondary products without reinventing the wheel each time. This also helped when collaborating with the internal and external tech teams when we went to develop the products.

    Product launch

    Seeing our product ready for launch was a huge achievement for the team. It is now being iterated and optimised during phase 2.

    Thank you.

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