I was brought on by Activator, an RMIT University department to help develop a new product that fosters students skills in entrepreneurship and innovation. What started out as a product development piece quickly evolved into redefining what Activator is and how students can navigate its resources.
Activator began as RMIT's answer to an accelerator program, though it struggled through the niche parameters of acceptable members. After creating more programs within Activator there was no common purpose and these experiences became disconnected with minimal community engagement. Faced with this, Activator could not cater to everyone that walked through their door, resulting in no direct pipeline of great members to their accelerator program. They were also severely underutilising their learning assets and resources.
The opportunity was three-fold:
Build a community that can navigate Activators resources through an open and connected environment
This project began by interviewing all team members of Activator, forming the project team off the back of this, establishing who our stakeholders were and when we could meet with them weekly. It was quickly apparent that the potential for the product was beyond a new program, but one around redefining Activator. Upon my direction we determined our way of working and curated all feedback that Activator had received until that point as well as documented reflections from previous product failures. Using this we assessed the gaps and developed a proposed product solution, vision, key drivers, research methods and product name.
For the RMIT community who have a curiosity with entrepreneurship or want to start their own business, Rise is a self paced online learning platform that unlocks Activators resources through progression
Rise carried with it five major assumptions that we needed to test, to do so we began with surveys and interviews of three main audiences. It was clear that the majority of people found Activator confusing around how it could help them individually, the combination of online and offline learning was essential and motivation incentives were key to remaining on track.
From this we established key points we would include in the product;
We next prototyped a stage based learning journey & content via storyboarding and lo-fi digital wireframes, then presented these to our interviewees. Gathering their collective feedback, we created our customer journey map and constantly iterated, this would act as our anchor as we began MVP build.
Behind the scenes we wanted to prototype peoples interest in what Rise would be, for this we added a dummy 'sign up' button on the main Activator website. This served two purposes; access to a pool of users we could instantly enrol and test our MVP as well as validate the interest in the product.
We decided for our MVP to build Stage 1 and 2 only, this was so we could focus on gaining feedback from users on the journey rather than the products content as this could be changed on the fly. We built our product in a unique learning management software and enrolled all potential users who had previously clicked the 'sign up' button on June 1. We initially had 68 MVP users, of which 8 successfully moved into Stage 2 of the product. From the 68 we continued to action feedback and officially launched the product to over 100 users.
"Currently I’m in Stage 1. It feels fun in a way because it felt like a game, no stress, there are levels, except its a game of life where real skills are gained & product conception begins and innovative ideas are produced! Keep up the good work! #RiseToTheFuture" - User feedback
Developed brand logo's and product cards ahead for full product launch, July 5th, 2019
Our retrospectives as a project team showcased the positivity around our common goal and for the first time at Activator the team experienced true, cross-functional collaborative work. The feedback that we received from users was heart-warming and proved that we had truely built and iterated on a product that achieved our goals. The complexity of the university organisation was our constant hurdle, and conflicting opinions that were tightly held by each key stakeholder proved difficult to work through. The highest level of communication was key and making sure that each team member understood our vision and drivers to inform all conversations and decisions.