Sport Innovation/DiscoverSea Customer Discovery
This wiki article is created to log and reflect on the implementation of the customer discovery for an innovative sport business idea. It will try to give a clear and concise background of the idea and provide a discussion about the design of the customer discovery methods used. It also aims to analyse the feedback from the process and the changes that were required to be made for the idea. The idea for this project was the diving mask "DiscoverSea" created by Mads Hjort, Master's students at Bond University.
The idea of the DiscoverSea diving mask was to create a mask featuring an integrated camera, recognition software for under water surroundings, and an interface displayed on the isde of the mask providing the user with data. The mask would have social media integration via a data docking station or wifi connection and a phone application over water after each dive. The proposed values to the user were smoother diving, quick access to info and details of surroundings, and the ability to capture diving experiences as well as to easily store and share them. The customer segments to be served were the big diving markets in at the Great Barrier Reef wit dive tour organisers and being the main focus. The Business Model Canvas (2/11/2012) encaptures this for the pre customer discovery stage.
Evolution of Business Model Canvas and QuickScreen pre Customer DiscoveryEdit
For brainstorming phase, see the initial mindmap of DiscoverSea.
Customer Discovery Process DesignEdit
The initial idea was to use the four week customer development phase to visit 5 to 10 divers from own network and conduct interviews in week 1. In week 2 to conduct interviews with dive tour organisers on the Gold Coast as well as dive shops in Southport. Week 3 would be used to take the trends from interview in week and 2 for feedback into creating a new MVP. This second MVP would would then again be presented for the divers from week 1. The process would be repeated in week for to create the third MVP, which would be posted on the DiscoverSea Websiteand on dive forums in to form of an online qustionaire. From this questionnaire the goal was to get 250 hits and from that 25 usable answers for the customer discovery. When realising the customer discovery process (CDP), the weekly setup was changed into a phases setup instead.
CDP Phase 1Edit
For phase 1 of the CDP interviews were conducted with seven divers. Three were Skype interviews with diver contacts in Denmark. Four were face-to-face with divers on the Gold Coast. The divers ranged from one Dive Master/Instructor to PADI level 1 certified divers. The MVP was pitched using a regular mask a physical reference object and a photo-shopped picture of the DiscoverSea mask as it could be; while explaining features, attributes, usage and asking questions. Of course, the process was more intricate over Skype. The main questions sought be answered from the conversation were focused around:
The problem and need for (1) smoother diving, to (2) capture diving experience, and (3) quick access to info and details of surroundings. How do to solve that problem and need if exists. Which improvements there were for the mask/MVP in terms of functions, appearance and embedded technology; and lastly what they would you pay for the product.
The comments to the MVP and the idea were that it was too expensive with the current pricing at 500$ per unit. Most were willing to pay 350-400$. In terms of improvements the trend was that the appearance and general look of the mask could be prettier/cooler, but there was also an agreement that most diving masks did not look that cool either. In terms of the need (1-3) for the product and the value proposition there was indication that it was needed in the diving industry. Especially sharing info attribute.
CDP Phase 2Edit
For phase 2 of the CDP interviews were conducted with diving shops/tour organisers in Southport. The recipients of the interviews were affiliated with "Diving the Gold Coast", "Southport Fishing and Diving Centre", and ""Queensland Scuba Diving Company". The method for the interviews was the same as in phase one with the individual divers, but here the people had deeper industry knowledge.
The general comment from this part of the CDP was that the mask had too many features for the different organsier to expect to use them all. The need was not as immediate in this was as in phase 1, and the mask as equipment was likely to be a wee bit to expensive still. Another outcome from the interviews was that the dive shop estimated the actual value of the mask and its different component to much greater than the unit price of 500$. Each separate components of the DiscoverSea mask would add up close to 400% of the mask price if the organiser were to go out and buy them separately, this meaning that it was actually priced to low for its capabilities.
The two phases described above spurred the realisation of the changes needed for the new MVP. There was a need for better pitching to explain the MVP and get satisfactory data. There was also much sense in trimming the mask so that it would fit need of the tour operators who were supposed to be the main customer segment. That mean a short run MVP featuring less embedded technology, and then once the market was penetrated and a brand established releasing new mask products with more features when the market was technology ready. The new MVP 2 would not have a diving computer, but just the basics for capturing and sharing the diving experience in first person (without and external camera), as well as simple automated recognition software (where only surroundings would be showed without having to tap or click). Basically introducing a buttonless mask that starts to record as soon as it goes under water. Simpler to use and less technical input required.
CDP Phase 3Edit
For phase 1 of the CDP the interviewees from phase 1 were revisited (everyone except one Skype interviewee, giving six in total). The method and procedure was the same as previously, but this time there was a clearer description, deeper explaining the attributes of the MVP2 and making sure to use the right wording. The general trend in the comments was that they were willing to spend more on the mask now, even though it featured only camera recording and recognition software with the expensive diving computer removed. The added simplicity was also appreciated. It was among other proposed a database stat sharing option: Stats on what has been seen be previous divers in an area so to better know where you are likely to find certain creatures for Great Barrier Reef Purposes.
The price of the MVP 3, with the incorporations from phase two and a future focus on Great Barrier Reef tour Organisers, was lowered to 400$, which should also seem feasible with lowered production costs from a trimmed product compared to the initial MVP 1.
CDP Phase 4Edit
The link posted on the site is to the survey overview site on the DiscoverSea website, where they are guided to the right questionnaire.
There is also a diving mask discussion forum on the DiscoverSea website, where the mask can be discussed.
Another addition to phase four is to directly mail the company survey link to dive tour organisers that may not be on the different fora the same way as individual divers.
Status for customer discovery phase 4 is that 3 entries has been made in the questionnaires on the website.
Discussion of Feedback and CDP AnalysisEdit
For phase 1 the main point to take out from the customer interview process was that the presentation form probably could have given more insight of the MVP using a demo as a video to illustrate the diving mask. For phase 2 this was also the case In phase 3 the more in depth explanation of the new MVP resulted in that the divers from phase 1 were willing to pay more than in phase two (even with less mask features as the result of phase 2 changes).
Another outcome from phase two was the notion of the need for a technical expert to help lower the costs of the mask, in terms of taking out the
Of course the major limitation was that the target market of Cairns was not available within the four weeks of the CDP. Data from this location would be better than the data gathered from Gold Coast divers and shops, as well as Skype interview. For future research conducting interviews in the area were the main segment is located will be paramount.The MVP will be tweaked better for the customers.
Notes about the questionnairesEdit
The questionnaires on the website had to be split up in three because the Weebly site only allowed a certain amount of questions per survey in the free edition. This is not a logical setup for the respondent and will affect the willingness to provide online feedback.
The New BMCEdit
The new Business Model Canvas (BMC) is more trimmed as of the changes from the CDP and changes done with the MVP.
For the BMC the changes since 2/11/2012 has been marked with red color, and in addition to these some boxes have been removed. These are especially customer segments besides tour organiser.
As of this moment (7/12/2012) the BMC still needs input from the phase 4 of the CDP. The leaner MVP3 is to be tested on a broader online audience and then tweaked into MVP number 4.