Case studies on user-friendly services and innovative business models
Aug 18, 2016
How can services help encourage the spread of electric mobility, and how can they be systematically developed? Using four case studies from Finland, Estonia, Denmark and Norway, Fraunhofer IAO presents various approaches to developing e-mobility projects. One of the key research findings was that using game-like methods to involve customers in the development of e-mobility projects helps those business ventures become accepted.
As part of the DELFIN research project, Fraunhofer IAO is investigating the role services play in the market penetration of electric mobility. From their results, the researchers are deriving development approaches for successful e-mobility services and methods for implementing them. Two authors from the team have now used recently published case studies to present specific e-mobility ventures and projects and consider them from the services perspective. This allows interested parties to see how services contribute to the spread of electric mobility from a variety of viewpoints. It also gives them valuable insights into the key factors in developing successful e-mobility business ventures.
Keys to success: gamification and getting users involved at an early stage of development
In order to get business and private users excited about e-mobility projects, it is important to involve them in the development process as soon as possible. This brings companies a double benefit: it not only gives their target group a chance to express the specific requirements they have of a given service, but also binds them to the company and its business venture from the start. However, the optimum degree of user involvement in individual development stages depends on various factors, including the nature of the target group, the maturity of the service prototype, and the project budget. “Co-design sounds exciting, and working with customers is fun – but it’s far from easy to decide how much collaboration is the right amount, or when exactly to involve them and what methods to employ,” says Sabrina Lamberth-Cocca, a scientist at Fraunhofer IAO and one of the authors. She adds that the key is to cleverly combine strongly integrative co-design methods, surveys to gather feedback, and methods for understanding the user perspective. When determining the degree to which customers should be integrated, it is essential to consider a service’s entire development process, to vary the methods depending on the development stage, and to start integration early so that the service is fully aligned with customer requirements. Gamification – the use of elements and processes typically found in games – could play a major role in this. Meanwhile, lab-based approaches and pilot programs are seen as ideal for the testing phase that precedes rollout in the market, although in many cases these should themselves be preceded by tests of the business model.
Science-based support for the development of e-mobility services
Fraunhofer IAO supports companies in their user-oriented development of services in a variety of fields. When it comes to the innovative field of e-mobility, our researchers are developing approaches that are aligned with the sector’s special requirements and selecting methods that are appropriate to those approaches.
The publication discussed above is entitled “Success with electric mobility – case studies of user-friendly services and innovative business models” and can be downloaded in English and German.
As part of the DELFIN (Services for e-mobility – promoting innovation and user-friendliness) project, researchers are currently developing an innovation model for user-oriented e-mobility services that is designed with agile principles in mind. Users can flexibly adjust the model to fit different corporate and service contexts. The project is funded by the German Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) under the reference code 01FE13001E.