Many interesting projects have been carried out in the course of the long-standing business collaboration between Aalto University and S Group. This year, it was time for a customer test related to the development of ABC’s cafe counter sales concept. The project was carried out in cooperation with Deloitte, S Group and Aalto University.
A multidisciplinary team represented Aalto University in the project: Päivikki Kyykkä from the International Design Business Management programme (IDBM), Annukka Svanda from the Department of Design and Arto Voipio from the Department of Accounting. The students carried out the customer test in the development project by visiting ABC stations across Finland during the first week of January. Customers were happy to give their opinions on the products sold in the cafe counter and the new development ideas.
The students compiled a summary of the feedback to ABC’s chain management for it to be able to take into account their customers’ views. In addition, a short video was made of the interviews to give the management a concrete chance to hear the customers’ voice.
Customer test was processed in a workshop lead by students
The students also produced a tool package for S Group, i.e. a guide that gathered together the best tips for planning customer tests and interviews. The students introduced the guide by organising a two-hour workshop to those S Group members who were interested in the topic. The 20 people participating in the workshop were given the task to consider the challenges in customer testing and how the S Group could develop customer tests further.
The participants found the workshop a very rewarding and innovative way to share the interesting information that had emerged during the student project. The participants who gave feedback were happy about the new winds blowing in the practices of the large business and found the opportunity for collaboration offered by the university very rewarding. Members of the S Group received the most recent knowledge from the experts of service design and customer interviews as well as an outsider’s perspective on their work. The students had an opportunity to test a different way to present their project and received feedback from the representatives of the company immediately during the workshop. Additionally, the project provided the students with good contacts for the future.
We would like to express our thanks to Karlos Kotkas, Development Manager at S Group, to Deloitte as well as Tommi Vihervaara, who is responsible for customized business projects at Aalto University, for the supervision and making this project possible. At their best, business collaboration projects are just this: all parties benefit more than they expected and business world has an opportunity to benefit from the multidisciplinary expertise of Aalto University.
Written by: Annukka Svanda
Customized business projects is a concept created by the Aalto University School of Business. In the concept, students implement genuine research and development projects for companies and other organisations.