Project Year: 2012
Mozilla's research team wanted to learn more about how the middle class in Brazil thinks about and uses mobile phones, so it could design the best user experience for its Firefox OS.
Sylver Consulting helped Mozilla plan and execute the research in São Paulo and Recife in a timely fashion. Adriano Galvao, our Brazil expert, worked closely with Mozilla's research team to reduce the costs associated with the research logistics, ensure the safety of everyone involved in the field and guarantee diversification of the data set. We used a hybrid approach for recruiting, taking into consideration two classification systems created by the Brazilian Institute for Geography and Statistics (IBGE) and the Criterio Brasil scale (Criterion Brazil).
The research included a homework activity followed by in-home interviews, which enabled us to understand the middle class in Brazil in a detailed and unbiased way. The research team safely traveled to lower-income neighborhoods and were able to document participants' views in detail. Concurrently with the fieldwork, our translators, who are all based in-country, were able to translate and transcribe directly from our audio recordings, ensuring the highest quality Portuguese-to-English translation. Back in the U.S., we conducted a two-day collaborative analysis/synthesis session to process several hours of interviews and research material, and apply this learning to Mozilla's business in a strategic manner.
We helped Mozilla identify key motivators that shape how the middle class in this emerging market think about themselves and plan for their futures. Want to learn more? Mozilla's research team has a blog with more details of the analysis and synthesis process.
Note: Brazil is a large country with many sub-cultures, extreme regional differences and safety issues. In order to succeed in this country, non-native researchers typically work with partners to help them navigate their way through the society. Want to know more about conducting research and innovation initiatives in Brazil? Send us your questions.
Project Year: 2010
Marriott engaged Sylver Consulting to identify the types of event planners its new Small Groups Online (SGO) reservation tool should serve. We also provided direction on development of the system's features and functionality.
Sylver conducted listening labs/usability studies with occasional, semi-professional and professional event planners. The purpose of these sessions was to understand participants' current process for booking multiple hotel rooms at one time and to uncover potential behavioral barriers to SGO's adoption in the marketplace.
Equipped with a reservation system prototype, participants simulated the process of booking multiple rooms online, which provided insight into points of customer confusion, as well as identified functionalities of the system that needed to be evolved. Additionally, a competitive comparison review assisted the design team in understanding the preferred visual conventions for displaying information related to online reservations.
Research indicated that the occasional event planner should be the target for the first version of SGO. Functions and features required of the system to fully support this user segment were identified. Additionally, a roadmap for development was crafted, prioritizing which additional features and functions needed to be added to support the planning behaviors of the semi-professional and professional planners in subsequent iterations of the tool.
Project Year: 2009
Sylver Consulting was hired by NASA to investigate the meaning and role of collaboration among the International Space Station (ISS) planning groups. The goal was to identify potential improvements to the agency's planning and collaboration-based tools.
Using ethnographic research, we studied ISS planning groups, both on and off console and within the U.S. and cross borders, to understand how the groups work together to pilot the space station on a daily basis. We used a combination of one-on-one interviews and participant observation to understand the current state of collaboration amongst ISS planners. The ISS planning process was mapped, with collaboration points highlighted throughout. This map, along with the knowledge of how existing tools and products of the group supported their efforts as a team, became inputs for our Translating Insights into Opportunities Workshop.
Planners from the Johnson Space Center, Marshall Space and Flight Center, NASA Ames Research Center, European Space Agency, Russian Space Agency and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency came together in this workshop to ideate ways to improve their productivity and streamline communications across groups. They also assessed how their planning tools needed to evolve to support new activities and/or policies.
We made several key recommendations for how the ISS planners should focus their future resources on tool development. These recommendations were adopted and have served as a continual reference for ISS planners and their development partners.
Project Year: 2010
ABN AMRO wanted to identify opportunities for extending existing products and developing new ones to better serve the accounts payable and cash management needs of the bank's middle-market clients. It also wanted to instill a competency in innovation, and a commitment to customer research amongst members of ABN AMRO's Transactional Banking Group. That's where Sylver Consulting came in.
On-the-job training was deemed most appropriate for this initiative, as we had an internal team at ABN AMRO staffed to the project. Training was delivered at each step of the way to prepare the team for the next phase's activities.
Together, Sylver Consulting and ABN AMRO explored the accounts payable and cash management needs of middle-market organizations in the manufacturing, distribution and retail sectors. We conducted ethnographic research with middle-market organizations, each of which was focused on understanding the spoken and unspoken needs of ABN AMRO's clients. In addition, we conducted a focus group of 15 additional middle-market companies to further validate and test emerging hypotheses. Then we held a series of Translating Insights into Opportunities Workshops to translate customer insights into new product development/service opportunities for the bank. Finally, we launched a quantitative online survey to a larger representation of the bank's clientele, providing a statistical understanding of which opportunities offered the most value to middle-market organizations.
Research insights led to a number of new offerings and educational efforts pursued by ABN AMRO. One of these new products was CashPro Accelerate®, which assists organizations in downloading cash reports from various accounts into a single Excel-based cash position worksheet, saving them a significant amount of time on a daily basis.
Project Year: 2011
Sylver Consulting was asked to help define what "success" means to the customers of Vocollect Healthcare Systems (VHS) and advise the company on where future investments in its business and AccuNurse product should
As much of the "customer success" knowledge that we were seeking was already embedded and understood by members of the organization, we opted to lead the initiative with a Knowledge Evaluation and Integration Workshop. Members from various departments, from product engineering and operations, to sales and training, gathered to first map what they believed "success" meant to the long-term care institutions using their product. We then leveraged our Co-Creation Workshops, hosted with select customers of VHS to validate and prioritize the success elements embedded in these maps.
Subsequent workshops facilitated with the internal team at VHS were designed to identify gaps in the definition of "success" between VHS and its customers. This knowledge helped us to ultimately identify ways that VHS could change its processes and product to further enable customer success.
Results generated have provided Vocollect Healthcare Systems with clear directions on how it can improve its AccuNurse voice-assisted care product, implement it and support operations to more effectively deliver "success" to clients.
Project Year: 2012
ITW Brands wanted to define the next generation of cordless trim tools and called on Sylver Consulting for assistance.
Sylver Consulting facilitated a series of Co-Creation Workshops with trim contractors from the Midwest. Exercises embedded in the session focused on identifying the "best of class" and "worst of class" attributes of current trim tools available on the market, articulated how ITW Brands' cordless tool stacked up to its competition and defined which threats to market share loss were most essential for ITW Brands to address in the short-term.
ITW Brands gained clear directives on not only how its cordless trim product should evolve, but explicit knowledge on what needed to change in its marketing strategies as well, at both the channel and messaging levels.