Driving people-focused innovation with a Usage Roadmap

For years, Intel has attempted to understand consumers better, and what will give Intel the WOW factor with today’s fast moving consumer base. Over the last 5 years, my team has created a process to really get at the heart of this; taking our ethnographic, design, and human factors research and driving it into the technology pipeline within the Digital Home Group through our Usage Roadmap. Why a “roadmap”? Many other organizations involved in strategic & product planning in the tech industry have roadmaps (technology, business, product roadmaps, etc), and, given the success of that model in both planning and enabling influence, we decided to create one as well; only from a consumer standpoint. So this week I thought we’d take a step back from talking about the future, and describe a little more fully the process we use for understanding and, dare I say, predicting that future.

Here’s Cory, the owner of our Usage Roadmap, to tell you more about it.

Hi all – Today the TV industry is abuzz with 3D, yesterday it was High Def, and we’re now tipping toward internet applications enabling the next great experiences on TV. Mike, Tawny, and Deliaintroduced you to some of the things happening and quickly coming down the TV pipeline, and there are a lot of other trends in usage, technology, with consumers, and in the industry. How can we keep a good pulse on the rhythm of the marketplace and distill it into something that can be used internal to Intel and with our customers? That was a question we set out to answer a little more than two years ago, and the result was the creation of the computing industry’s first Usage Roadmap.

It should first be noted that we didn’t set out to create a Usage Roadmap. We set out to create a process and method by which we could take our research and directly impact technology direction, business decisions, and customer engagements. To do that, we dove into our research data base accumulated over years of studying people in their homes to distill the primary experiences consumers want, and will want, from the future of TV. Looking across all this work, we found four big buckets of experiences that just kept coming up again and again:

New Media Experiences on TV:Bring new types of media to the TV providing easy, fun, and personal ways to find and enjoy it

Social TV Experiences & Interactions:Bring people together via content sharing, social interactions & immersive engagement

New Forms of TV Gaming:Bring casual and mainstream gaming, a blend of games and TV content, and create interactive & virtual gaming environments for people’s enjoyment

Smart, Whole-Home Experiences:Create fluid interactions and experiences across devices and new ways to monitor and manage the home

We decided that these experiences could serve as the foundation for all consumer-focused usages, use cases, and scenarios we would eventually create; focusing first on near term, more easily understood usages, and then toward long term, more exploratory, usages. This process is something we call experience architecture; a practice well known in other industries:

 

I realize there are some gaps in the explanation of this process, but hey, it’s a blog – and I can’t give all the secret sauce away!

In the end, we created Intel’s Digital Home Usage Roadmap; a roadmap that documents and demonstrates the consumer experiences and usages people will want in future consumer electronics products. The future usages we envision will range widely but will all enable what we view as the future of television. Usages like: getting recommendations for broadcast and internet content – including services and applications, users deciding which types of advertisements to show or never see again, video calling and sharing content with friends and family (all from the TV), and using multiple devices to control and contextually interact with the TV.

The roadmap now has direct ties to Intel’s customer and technology roadmaps architecting the consumer strategy for those roadmaps. It also drives discussions with customers both validating their direction, helping to shift their product strategy, and offering them new ideas for their current and future products; all built on Intel technology of course!

I believe the last piece is an important reason why our roadmap has been successful within Intel. It’s served as a way for us to change the conversation from being (nearly) entirely technology centered to talking about what ***people*** want, need, and aspire to. That is an area of conversation many of our customers are not familiar with Intel speaking about. It has allowed us to branch out and have the right conversations with our customers, and help them better understand what consumers value and the future usages and interactions that should be built into their products and solutions. Also, and possibly most important for Intel, we can map products that are now being released and those we know are on the verge of introduction in the marketplace directly back to the roadmap; all aligning with the direction we’ve been driving internally and with our customers for the last 4+ years!

I believe we’re still in the early stages of what “usage modeling” and “experience architecture” mean within Intel and our industry. I see a huge amount of future opportunity for larger experience frameworks that can help to solidify an organization’s strategy with individual Usage Roadmaps for specific product areas. There’s an amazing amount of churn and opportunity in the consumer landscape today and creation of roadmaps like this one are ways for Intel and other businesses to fully understand, anticipate, and capitalize on them and to differentiate their solutions.

One Response to Driving people-focused innovation with a Usage Roadmap

  1. There is no doubt that technology is the fastest evolving industry there is – period. If you realize for a moment that the world wide web itself has really only been in existence since the mid 1990’s, it is simply incredible where we are at today. I have even heard one person state that they are no longer an atheist because of the Internet. Why, you ask? Because if he could be THAT wrong about something like the Internet popping up so quickly, perhaps be could be wrong about the existence of God.

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