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Creating digital advantage in a startup environment

Service Designer Anya Ernest talks about our ongoing project for Polestar.

Our team at your service / May 26, 2020

I got the opportunity to catch our Service Designer Anya Ernest for a quick chat over a coffee about our ongoing project for Polestar. Anya and the rest of our colleagues engaged in Polestar’s digital journey are experiencing busy days as the cars are soon ready to hit the roads and a new exciting era of our project will begin.

Anya, could you please tell me a bit about Polestar to begin with?

- In short you can describe Polestar as a startup company producing “ performance electric vehicles” in the premium segment. Using uncompromised design, they deliver high quality cars based on over a 85 years of knowledge and experience from Volvo car manufacturing experience. Compared to other startups they have a pretty impressive track record from that point of view which makes them a unique player in their field.

Which are the main challenges TietoEVRY is helping Polestar with at this stage?

- I started working with Polestar as a Digital Lead for the logged in experience about a year ago, just a few months after the big launch of the brand and the beginning of their exciting journey. At that stage the project could best be described as a blank sheet of paper. Polestar definitely knew what they wanted to achieve but howthey were going to begin their journey from a service design point of view was yet to be decided. Questions like “how are we going to communicate our brand to our customers?” and “how should we interact with our customers?” needed answers. This pretty soon made it clear to me and my team that we needed to set a direction and find a clearly defined service design process to hold on to in order to manage to transform Polestar’s perspective from a classic inside/out one to a more customer centric outside/in perspective.

That sound like quite a big challenge. How did you guys start?

- Based on Polestar’s needs I soon transitioned from my role as a Digital Lead into my current role as a Service Designer. Together with my two closest colleagues in the core team (a Digital Lead/Project Manager and a UI Designer) our first focus has been to get everyone in the project to use the same terminology, addressing basic questions like what we mean when we use words like customer, services and service design and make sure we have a common definition. We have been talking a lot about service design in the organization and through a crystal clear design thinking process as a keystone, working in an iterative way continuously learning new things, we have been able to have a holistic perspective and truly understand the needs of our target groups. Since the cars are yet not on the roads we have been using various experiments like Service Safaris of test driving cars and doing interviews regarding electrification in order to set different hypothesis.

It sounds like really exciting work! Is there anything in particular that is extra challenging for you as Service Designers in this type of project?

- Well, Polestar as a brand is associated with a premium experience and a sense of WOW with pure passion. The core values of the brand always have to permeate the work we as Service designers perform, which is often an easy task when it comes to translating what they mean for the productitself but so much more challenging when it comes to understanding what they truly mean for the customer. For example, Polestar’s values are Pure, Progressive and Performance. Understanding what the word Progressive means in relation to the customer experience when we are involved in the online sales process or how the customer responds to the word Pure, which means you are not be able to choose from a wide range of add-on options for your car, is challenging but also what makes our work so interesting and rewarding.

So, what’s the next step on this exciting journey?

- The cars are as I mentioned, hitting the roads this autumn, and that is when the true learning and exploration period starts in my project area. Then, we as a team, will have the chance to evaluate the real customer interaction with the Polestar brand and products and we can move away from the hypothetical phase and validate everything we have learned so far. Of course we have pre-orders which makes it possible to look into some parts of the process already, but we are looking forward to being able to take it to the next level. Polestar is a unique brand, fully aware of their design competence and many years of experience from car business and manufacturing. This solid ground makes it possible for them to raise their sights and look to the future in an inspiring way, focusing more on questions related to new business, services and finding the perfect spot in their customers ecosystem. That is of course really inspiring for us as service designers!

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