In the fall of 2015 I worked with 9 groups (45 students) at the IT University of Copenhagen and the Music department of Tivoli – the oldest amusement park in the world (from 1843) in Copenhagen, Denmark.
The process: Finding and presenting a relevant problem
Leading up to the course ‘Project work and Communication’ I had selected and scoped a suitable challenge with the Music department supporting an upcoming strategy and focus on engagement of children from 6-9 year in classical music.
The Head of the Music department came and presented Tivoli’s musical strategy and the challenge:
Create a digital supported and fun experience with classical music for children 6-9 years old – and possibly their parents.
Under this headline the challenge was unfolded by listing:
- Why does this challenge represent a problem?
(Classical audiences and music students are diminishing in numbers)
- Demographics of visitors in Tivoli in the past years
- Examples of the available resources to work with
(Tivoli Garden a marching band and music school with 100 kids between 8 and 16 years, Tivoli Concert Hall, Tivoli Symphony Orchestra, tivoli.dk and the rest of the beautiful and fun amusement park)
- Goal / Success criteria for a solution
- Contact person
The presentation was followed by a Q and A session to further understand the problem at hand.
The process: Setting the perfect team
The student groups were formed using Belbin Team Roles.
The students took a Belbin Team Role test and assessed their preferred 2-3 team roles before forming groups. The preferred roles should be visible on a nametag that each student wore.
The students were then asked to browse around for 20 minutes while talking to each other about possible angles to address the problem and forming ‘a perfect team’.
In the second phase they were asked to get back to peers with similar interests and form teams of 5-7 people that collectively covered all 9 Belbin Roles to secure broad competences in each group.
The process: feasibility study
Once the groups were formed the students planned a feasibility study relevant to their problem gathering their own data and empirical finds. The work covered desktop research, interviews and observation.
The process: Concept development
While gathering information and data the students worked in iterative cycles with creative idea development followed by alignment of the ideas with customers / user needs. In this part of the process the students worked with Alex Osterwalder (and Pigneur et. al.)’s Value Proposition Canvas (2014) in order to reach a viable and solid fit between problem and solution.
The process: Pitching the concepts
Once the group arrived at specific solutions to their problems they were asked to design a 5 minute pitch of the concept using the NABC method.
Three months after the initial problem brief I invited a panel of Tivoli executives to the IT University to see and review the student’s proposals for solution.
The solutions were very different from what classical music experts normally suggest:
There was a several online games where children could interact with Tivoli Garden before or after visiting Tivoli – here are some of the mock ups:
The presentations were supplemented by a little paper booklet with a one page handout per group stating the concept title, the group member names and contact info and the basic info about the solution.
The Process: Putting it all into writing
The pitching seminar provided each group with valuable feedback from Tivoli and encouraged several groups to rethink their solution before the exam i January.
…and hopefully Tivoli will continue the dialogue with some of the groups when they kick off their new activities with classical music for children i 2016.
Key learnings from the process were:
- find real problems to work with (companies or society)
- create diverse teams to secure quality and progress
- give access to stakeholders, real data and real users
- focus on value creation (commercial or otherwise)
- pitch and feedback from the ‘problem owner’