Unconference Adventures: Getting to Know Your Customers in Transportation and Beyond
December 3, 2015
A few weeks ago, we experienced our first “unconference” at NYC’s Transportation Camp sponsored by Cubic, Uber, and Mastercard, where the attendees got to play the role of both speakers and participants. If you’re as unfamiliar with the term as we were, let us set the stage: imagine a room full of brilliant transportation and tech professionals having the opportunity to suggest and lead discussions throughout the day. What started out as a blank board with time slots, soon transformed into a colorful agenda of sessions ranging from topics like “Inside the World of Bikeshare Tech,” “The Politics of Streets,” and “Autonomous Vehicles.”
Inspired by all the creativity, we designed our own impromptu workshop called “Get To Know Your Customer.” Customer research is essential for meeting needs and connecting with users, so in this workshop we discussed and practiced different ways to conduct qualitative research with transit riders. One of the favorite exercises in our researcher toolbox is called “Superhero,” as it helps to unearth various pain points and opportunities for enhancement in product or experience. In this particular scenario, each participant gets to put on their superhero cape and use their powers to make 3 changes in the world of NYC transportation.
Some great ideas emerged from this exercise. If we used their suggestions, here’s what an upgraded system might include: