conceptual design for windstax
Powering outdoor events with wind turbines.
Don't have time to read everything? Skim colored text to get the gist.
Currently, outdoor events most often use fuel generators for power, which have several downsides.
A local company, WindStax, produces wind turbines that are safe and portable. WindStax mainly operates as a product oriented business. We think WindStax and their customers would gain more by shifting to a service-based model.
WindStax turbines. Ph9to credit: windstax.com
Product vs. Service
The most salient challenge was transforming a product into a service; however, there were other factors that surfaced through each iteration of our design. For example, there are many contributors to the amount of power used at outdoor events, such as stages, food trucks, lighting, and sound systems.
So our challenge became not only to create a service model, but also to simplify the process of determining power usage.
Chongrui, Linda, and I whiteboarding stakeholders,
We prototyped a mobile interface that allows event planners to easily determine how many turbines they need, where they will be placed at the venue, and reserve the necessary generators and batteries for their next event.
Start by entering the venue location, then the expected number of attendees, and a few details about the infrastructure. Our app will calculate how much power is needed based on the parameters given, and make it easy to set up power nodes.
HOW It Works
There are 5 unique steps in our service design concept.
Step 1 Enter Venue
Search your venue by using the quick reorder from a previous event, or enter the name or address of a new place in the search bar.
Step 2 Venue Boundaries
The system automatically draws the boundaries around the selected venue., which can be edited by dragging the vertices. The maximum number of people that can fit in the bounded area is also shown, which carries over to the next step.
Step 3 Event Details
The user enters details relevant to the type of event (e.g. music festival), which are used to calculate the necessary number of turbines.
We reached out to the CEO of WindStax, Ron Gdovic, to find out what information is critical for determining the the appropriate amount of power for any given event; however, Ron was unavailable to speak with us.
Step 4 Place Turbines
The event planner can adjust the placement of the turbines. Using data from a weather API, we can highlight areas that have consistently higher wind speeds.
Step 5 Review Order
Before confirming the order, the number and cost of the turbines and batteries are shown, along with the scheduled delivery date and time.
Chongrui and I went on an adventure to seek out WindStax turbines in Pittsburgh.
HOW WE GOT THERE
We first compiled a list of all the stakeholders involved with the company (WindStax), its affiliates, and customers. With the list we were able to create a stakeholder map that represents all entities involved and the relationships among them. Using the stakeholder map as a tool, we identified opportunities for introducing a service into WindStax's business model.
Our Approach to Problem Solving
Before jumping into solving anything, we identified multiple potential problem areas that could be improved by a service. We then employed 3 methods to reach a collective understanding and explore ideas.
We each took a whiteboard and started sketching ideas, rotating every few minutes to build on each other's designs.
Defining the Concept and Scope
With only 3 weeks total for the project, we narrowed down the scope of interface to a handful of screens that would show the core concept of our design. Next, we starting mocking up our ideas digitally.
Our final concept is focused on estimating power needed for music festivals, and planning the placement of the turbines.
Our original concept included an AR diagnostic tool, which we later removed.
Design & Iteration
We used Figma to mock up the main task flow for the service, from selecting the venue space to ordering generators. With the project's short timeline, we made sure to mock up the screens that were most important and unique to our concept.
Each step was designed to be as quick and painless as possible, minimizing the burden placed on our users (event planners).
Final Design + Interactive Prototype
I programmed an interactive prototype of our concept.Using Axure,
The team and I outlined next steps to grow the service and establish permanent relationships with key strategic partners.