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City-wide forums to gather requirements from drivers about what CapMetro must change for them to become riders.

Half-day "ideation" sessions of auto lovers to collect the service features they would need from CapMetro to switch to the bus.

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The ideation sessions would start with a presentation of the hard problems that I've identified from 6 months plus of being a CapMetro rider exclusively because I have had to give up ever being a driver again. Other contributions from Cap Metro’s thinkers would be added to the list. This design thinking process gathers information/insights/ideas based on the principals of avoiding the "idea bully", encouraging collaboration, and levering diversity. It identifies ideas ranging from incremental, breakthrough, and disruptive and grades their desirability, feasibility, and viability. It would ascertain the value of such features in added revenue terms so that business cases can be written to assure CapMetro’s sustainability, scalability, and survivability of CapMetro as a cost-effective, ever innovating, strategic asset for a more mobile Austin. Geo-clustered panels would be formed from current non-riders from middle-class neighborhoods known for their insights into their neighbors, their out-of-the-box thinking, and being clear thinkers. Each session would start with a short presentation on the hard problems facing mass transportation in Austin. The group would generate ideas and then score them with personal, societal, and business potential metrics. Discussion of implementation aspects, such as value in their terms, would follow. Besides chartering a new market - the car owners - this methodology is a cost-effective one for hard problems in other Smart City sectors.

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Where do I get this code? I need the $10. It equals 8 days of bus fare.

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Photo of Bill Kleinebecker

This process should be considered a design thinking methodology where the hard problem has been identified but the key requirements and value propositions are still unknown. Such information is needed before building a business case as well as going deeper to prove the business case.

It is aimed at involving people who are a mix of current users of the current solution to the hard problem (assumed to be suffering from the implementation or don’t know there can be something better) and not users of the current solution on a team to determine what a solution would need to do.

Unlike traditional design engagements, like Design Sprints, this methodology can be performed in a ½ to full day for a session. Since the team is not employees of the organization, this matches their attention span, time availability, and knowledge of the organization-related issues.

In this case, it enables the investigators to stand-up multiple teams to improve market coverage, the diversity/ range of ideas, and a more objective forum to arrive at priorities and value.

In using this methodology, we focus on silent brainstorming and silent voting to avoid the bully that one encounters in more discussion-oriented techniques. We use probative questions in the debrief section of each step to promote group discussion that keeps each member of the team engaged (versus the overtalk and argumentativeness of a methodology like focus groups.) Each member of the team is kept focused and busy. We find that many become champions of the resulting solution because they were so heavily involved, they got heard, and come to accept the group’s decisions.

This methodology is not intended to be the design stage of the solution, but the team members who’ve participated during idea generation, requirement prioritization, and functional valuation can be used as a sounding board for the design.

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