Following his morning presentation, during which he introduced us to “the Aspirationals”, Raphael Bemporad, founder and Strategy Director of BBMG led a humanity-centered design workshop. The objective was to disrupt and delight, to come up with innovative business ideas that would help Samsung engage with aspirationals in a sustainable way.
Paco, from Samsung, participated of the dynamic and shared some of the company’s Social Technology projects, related to education and youth unemployment.
With the help of his 8 year old personal assistant, Paloma, Raphael introduced the teams to two consumers: Erika and Esteban. Each team had to connect with one of these consumers, through information they received on their activities, tastes, and use of technology.
With the goal of encouraging a free flow of ideas, four rules were set: “Yes, and…” (the word no does not exist, and we always ask for more); “Banish the devil’s advocate”; “Nothing is precious” and “Nothing is preposterous”.
During an activity aimed at creating empathy, the teams were asked to imagine and discuss how Esteban and Erika used technology. The conversations went something like this: “he probably shops online”, “he’s single, he uses tinder…”, “she must have Spotify”… It surprised me how every detail of the customer’s life and personality could be linked to a different use of technology.
Now things get exciting. Each team is given two sets of cards: one including “aspirations” (social or environmental causes), and the other one describing innovation types. Under the instruction “better fast than perfect”, the teams had to pick random combinations of aspirations and innovations and come up with ideas that incorporated both elements.
Walking around the room, I overheard conversations about Erika’s wardrobe, her groceries consumption, Esteban’s students, his soccer team…
The next step was choosing one idea per team, and describing it in greater detail. With occasional reminders that “nothing is absurd!”, and arguments such as “I’m not a fun of virtual social relationships”, “it needs to be something playful!” and “remember we also want to improve the world”, ideas were slowly filtered out until the final choices were made, in some cases combining several ideas into one.
Share out! Each of the six teams presented their ideas for apps targeted at Erika and Esteban. From an educational platform to a wardrobe optimizing app, passing through a neighbours’ sharing platform, a resource consumption calculator and a sports meeting app, the ideas were as diverse as the people participating of the activity. Witnessing how teams could get to such different results, coming from the same information and the same instructions was remarkable.
Overall an energizing, super fun activity that will for sure add value to Samsung’s sustainability efforts.
Rocío is currently pursuing an MBA program at IESE. She is passionate about urban sustainability and corporate family responsibility. She is a member of IESE’s Responsible Business Club and part of the organizing committee for the Doing Good Doing Well conference, the largest student run sustainability conference in Europe.