The ABB Paper Machine Drives unit wanted to explore a co-creation process in product development. The goal was to include the customer in designing such products and services which they really need.
Muutostaito was chosen as the partner for this project.
The co-creation process was designed with the help of a pilot project. The target of the pilot was to develop a product which improves the diagnosis of electricity use or processes while at the same time helping to raise capacity utilization and shorten repair times.
„ The idea of such a product was already existing, but we wanted to include the views and experiences of customers. We also wanted to explore which type of maintenance services were needed for the system“, explains head of unit Markku Haikola.
Using questionnaires, interviews and workshops Muutostaito collected the hopes, points of views and experiences of customers worldwide.
„This helped us to see things from a user’s perspective and to focus on the essentials. The customers were enthusiastic, too, since they were able to present their views and come closer to a solution for their problem themselves“, says Haikola.
An innovation competition increased sales credibility
Co-creation is the creation of a product or service together with customers.
For the time of the workshop the unit was divided into teams. The teams competed for the best ideas on what kind of product should be developed and what business model should be built around it.
Sales people were in the judge’s role. They evaluated how easy the idea would be to sell and how the idea could be developed further.
„The innovation competition was a great way to collect ideas and practical solutions. It brought sales credibility and realism to implementation at the same time. Customers do not always think about the limitations when they express their wishes“, says product manager Tapio Talvitie.
„For our people the day was an energizing experience and a day for bringing up innovative ideas. The competition was fun, yet still there was a suitable sense of urgency“, continues Talvitie.
Co-creation helped to focus on the essentials
The preliminary specifications of the new product are now done. The next step is the decision to make it into a full product.
“The learnings from the pilot project with Muutostaito will certainly help us in the future”, says head of unit Markku Haikola,” co-creation includes a marketing aspect from day one, since the customer hears about our development goals and can influence them. When concentrating on the essentials and avoiding wrong or fancy features in the product, product development and maintenance costs are lower while customer satisfaction rises at the same time.”
“In the project Muutostaito managed areas, in which engineers often are typically no experts. Instead of technical possibilities the true customer needs were in the focus. Muutostaito also brilliantly facilitated customer workshops and managed the project”, says Markko Haikola.
“We also noticed, how the internal contacts broaden the perspective of product development regarding other areas’ needs and offerings, that are part of the customer process”, adds Talvitie.