Design thinking brought the discovery of new business value propositions in Solar

Solar Danmark A/S

Project type
Design thinking, strategy, concept development, and cross-platform service design

Granyon helped Solar discover new business opportunities with a design thinking process. We developed a concept of a 360-degree digital suite of services and a series of apps, which come together as a strong proposition to an entirely new target group. A core concept that provides immediate value for all parties: the end user, the craftsmen, Solar or other partners on the platform.

The classic "burning platform"

Solar is a listed company and a leading European sourcing and services company operating within electrical, heating, plumbing and ventilation. The core business has been "product sourcing and any value adding service to optimize their customers business." To be better prepared for future business challenges, Solar wanted to explore and find new possible ways of attracting clients with a focus on services for both existing customers and the end-consumer. Sourcing and focusing on craftsmen needs is no longer enough, so what to do?

“The designers' help has enabled us to focus on customers and become more competitive. Our key business areas will be product sourcing, value creating services and optimization of our customer's businesses. That is how we have to differentiate in the future"

Design Thinking to reinvent Solars business

During the six months, we facilitated several workshops with a task force team from Solar and external advisor Lars Thøgersen of CPH ID. We wanted to truly understand the new target groups, and uncover potential spaces in the market, where Solar could make a difference with the experience and business logistics already in place. 

We discovered and mapped the challenges homeowners face while undertaking any private construction projects, big or small. We focused on three categories for the users: 

  • their jobs: what they typically have to accomplish;
  • their pains: what keeps them from doing it (real or perceived)
  • and their gains: what reward they expect to get in return of the expected pain.

Five possible concepts were tested on real homeowners, the management, and other stakeholders. Finally, we could develop an identity and a design concept for the final prototype(s), now set to be the base for further development in 2017 (…to be continued).

Solars team had the insights and at the same time the liberty to move in completely new directions. The project was titled Solar Explorer from the get go, as everyone agreed we did not know exactly where the journey would take us

The results

Solar is now equipped with a 360-degree concept for a digital suite of services and apps. Flexible enough to be rolled out over a timeframe not to make development costs too high or too rigid. A concept that provides immediate value for all parties: the end user, the craftsmen, Solar or other partners on the platform, as it is intended to be open for anyone – even competitors – to participate. We reported and documented the whole process and developed a brand proposition along with a fully designed app (first and most important app in the suite) to showcase key user flows. Our deliveries included:

  • User Journey map
  • Value proposition canvas
  • Several App Concepts
  • Questionnaires for user test
  • App Design & Prototype

An action plan is now being made to bring the concept into reality. We recommend to do it in the style of a Startup organization: building MVPs, testing, prototyping, learning and building more: Solar will learn from the initial releases; gather user feedback, and adjust the plan and adapt to the input.

One of the concepts was launched under the name "Homebob" October 2017:

Design Director Jesper Fagerlund presenting the initial app concepts

How design thinking can help you too

Allowing the required time for a design thinking process, can make it or break it for companies that feel challenged by new ways of doing business. Major corporations can by nature be more careful to keep agile and willing to change. Innovation does not come easy. People fit into hierarchies and are often keen on protecting what they know because the unknown is perceived as dangerous. You could lose your job. Or maybe someone forces you to change the plans that you had all along. It is uncertain, and hence organizations struggle. 

With a custom made process of design thinking, we help organizations reach new goals and make it possible to see true innovation happen. Setting up a dedicated team, with a clearly designated area to work within, a limited budget and time plan, detached the work from everyday business, we can work freely, arrive at testable assumptions quickly and relatively cost efficient. 

We end up with business propositions that are possible to see, feel, interact with through the power of quick high fidelity prototyping. This gives you evidence to make decisions that otherwise would seem too dangerous and to go in a new direction with your business before it starts to cost precious hours.

„I have to say I have been extremely happy to work with you. It has been an eye opener to approach new business areas the way you have done and I truly believe that your work will help us take Solar in new profitable directions“

An innovation process with Granyon could involve the following
  1. Initial meeting.
    Meet and greet. We listen to you, take the time to understand and provide immediate advice and feedback on how this could be solved. It is, of course, free of charge and with no strings attached - so book yours now.
  2. Agreement on scope 
    Every challenge is different. We seek to find a good balance, providing time plan and a fitting budget. We like to think smart, and will challenge you on how to best spend money. No strings attached here. We are happy only if you are.
  3. Initial workshop(s)
    To uncover new target groups and user journeys; business value propositions; brand strategy‚ digital strategy; channel and media strategy, etc. Revisit your clients, your core business… the market and the competition. See fresh opportunities.
  4. Research and ideation 
    Systematically lining out what is out there; current and future trends, the possibilities, the competition, technology trends. What steps could be taken to reach new goals?
  5. Strategy
    How do we approach this; what outcome do we seek; what channels, timelines, target groups, media choices do we make and why. Do we need to realign the brand promise? Or think of entirely new channels.
  6. Design and prototyping
    Design efficiently, and reach testable results quickly. It is not (only) an exercise in aesthetics. The design has to live up to purpose, be user-friendly and provide for at great experience. Stakes are high.
  7. Production and development.
    Develop smart: know where you get the most value and develop in sprints. Along the way align with the prototype, which allows to test new assumptions along the way.
  8. Post launch
    Solutions need continuous improvement. We have to nurture them. Make sure they are properly anchored in the organisation. That customer feedback is used proactively to improve and grow the solution. It is a platform for you to live on.