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We help startups change the world.
Installing rooftop solar is confusing and irritating for homeowners who don’t have expert help. Kiwi offers a simple online process like solar leasing companies, but allows homeowners to make money from owning their solar panels.
Kiwi came to Greenstart with a valuable supplier network based on three years of prior commercial sales. They asked us to shape development of their new consumer-facing product. Our team answered vital questions about how to deliver one attractive kit with all the right parts, and then helped select their revenue engine. Greenstart co-developed their online purchasing tool and led Kiwi through a road test of sales in a prototype market.
An integral part of this process was positioning Kiwi as a juicy and enticing brand that stands out from other solar companies. The result is a product strongly differentiated by its design and market-tested with actual customers.
Genability’s customers, like solar installers and home appliance retailers, were using the data engine and excited about their insights. But to capture the full value of the data, they needed a way to share this insight with everyday consumers.
Genability knew they needed to build a world-class product family on top of their data engine. They invited Greenstart to help architect a suite of products that would fulfill specific customer needs in their first market.
Genability identified solar installers as their first strategic market. We investigated the key motivations of both Genability’s solar business customers, as well as the homeowners who get solar installed. This work helped us understand the most important goal of Genability’s products: helping homeowners feel confident about the accuracy of electricity prices and estimates of how much they might be able to save.
Absorbing these learnings, we concepted and co-created a family of six distinct products that map to specific customer needs. Our user experience experts designed both the front-end interface and back-office tools to complement each other. We created wireframes and explored the visual design over many iterations. It was critical for each product to feel clean, simple, and easy to understand.
One of the products we designed for the solar retail market is the Genability Solar Switch. A homeowner thinking about solar panels can see an engaging and accurate representation of how much they spend on electricity. Then, they can toggle a virtual switch on and off that helps them understand how much they would save with solar. We tailored the features and visual design of the switch to feel trusted and real.
As we worked together, we helped Genability crystallize the message about the true value of their data: as a third-party service helping companies sell renewable energy or energy-efficient products. This includes solar salespeople, smart appliance retailers, manufacturers and more. Genability provides confidence about the changing electricity price for each of these markets. Our storytelling experts helped distill the complex explanation of why they matter into one crisp story.
Genability products are used by solar retailers like Sunrun, NRG, and SunPower and SunEdison. They are helping homeowners and commercial building managers trust and understand their projected savings from solar panels.
Genability now has a strategic foundation to enter their next markets: home appliance retailers, energy storage and electric vehicles. This repeatable product development roadmap will help them get there.
Learn more about Genability.
The initial web launch proved that people would give and get stuff online without money. Yet, yerdle recognized that achieving their ambitious vision depended on doing something very hard – fundamentally changing the ingrained behavior of buying and selling goods. And to achieve their goal, they would have to find a way to make it compelling and easy to everybody on the planet.
And so we began the work of reimagining the world of retail and searching for a user experience to the $5 trillion sharing economy.
We began with value. We learned that buyers and sellers – even in a free marketplace – were more willing to participate if they had a shared understanding of an item’s value. Could we start with “free” but still embed within yerdle the familiar experience of buying and selling? The answer was the introduction of a value system of credits that broke with the traditional retail model, but still provided a way to encode value.
We knew the passionate community of over 20,000 users was drawn to yerdle out of a desire to share. Within sharing, we discovered that reciprocity is a powerful motivator for action, and can act as a kind of currency itself. Together with the yerdle team, we explored the concept of social capital and iterated together on how it could be layered into the marketplace experience.
Clearly the hardest part of a peer-to-peer sharing experience like yerdle is the actual moving of the thing – the so-called “last mile problem”. Together, Greenstart and yerdle examined various approaches to distributing goods, including micro-warehouses, a credit-based labor economy, real-world game dynamics, and community-based digital transportation. From this foundational work, yerdle prototyped the Greenstart working space into a central drop off/pick up point that has grown to support 20% of users. And in partnership with Patagonia, yerdle has bought and dispatched a truck in San Francisco to further smooth the friction of the last mile.
Our design process took us through concepts, sketches, briefs, exercises, prototypes and lots of coffee to find the right new mobile experience for yerdle. In addition to our user learnings, we helped yerdle plan, conduct and review their own participatory design research and worked alongside them as they iterated on their product from testing to launch. The “free marketplace” for viewing, finding, getting, and posting what’s in our closets and homes was launched. The result has translated into deep engagement – in the first two months, 36% of users who downloaded it continue to use the app and over 10% have posted an item.
When yerdle came to Greenstart, they knew they wanted more than just great product design. They wanted to grow their team and culture into a design-centric organization.
By the end of our work together, yerdle hired two dedicated designers and expanded its product group to include a user research and testing practice.
Learn more about yerdle.
Rapid urbanization means people everywhere need ways to get around the city that are fast and flexible. Scoot provides speedy electric scooter rentals, so busy urban dwellers can get where they need to go – on the fly.
Scoot came to Greenstart just before their first official launch. Our multidisciplinary designers worked with their team to make using their service seamless, fun, and affordable.
Greenstart led Scoot to think through each moment of the rental from the user’s perspective. How could they win over repeat customers from the very first ride? We helped plan everything from finding the keys to calling customer service.
The design team also put together the look and feel of the Scoot mobile app to complement their service.
Each of our design decisions contributed to the fresh, engaging brand we co-developed. Scoot successfully launched their first fleet without a hitch.
Power plants at big complexes like hospitals and universities waste billions of dollars every year making energy they never use. Root3 outfits them with tools that reduce their bills by 10 to 30%.
Root3 data was first organized as a dashboard for the engineers who operated on-site power plants, but it wasn’t working for its users. The software needed to be displayed in a radically simpler way. Greenstart reinvented Root3’s software as a suggestion tool that helped engineers manage their equipment in real time.
Greenstart also advised the team on how to differentiate their offering from demand-side energy efficiency companies. We helped Root3 transform a confusing energy dashboard into a potent tool with clear benefits and cost savings.
Renewable energy could scale a lot faster and at greatly reduced cost if electricity were easier to store. GELI’s software allows batteries to store energy when prices are low and sell it on the grid when prices are high.
GELI’s products stand out in an evolving market, but are technologically complex. Before Greenstart, the company hadn’t figured out how to elegantly explain their solutions to customers or investors.
Our storytelling experts mapped GELI’s products and services to real business problems. We used these insights to help them devise a new business model for open-source software. Greenstart coached the founders intensely on telling their story in clear terms. GELI now articulates its value to the audiences that matter most.
Bumper-to-bumper commuting is a headache for employees, and a bad commute can make or break a key hire for employers. RidePal connects commuters with on-demand shared buses complete with coffee and Wi-Fi.
RidePal joined the Greenstart portfolio as a business-to-consumer company with software modeled after public transportation apps. Our business model experts crafted a second revenue stream by offering the service to HR managers as an employee retention tool. Enterprise sales are now RidePal’s largest source of revenue.
Our designers kept both kinds of customers in mind as they organized the sequence of the RidePal mobile app and developed its look and feel. The company now has powerful appeal to both consumers and human resource professionals.
Carrotmob had successfully built a passionate movement, resulting in over 250 carrotmobs worldwide. But the team’s vision was bigger. They had always been about using capitalism as a force for good – and possibly changing it along the way. But to do that they would need to solve for a better user experience. They needed to evolve their company if they wanted to have a bigger impact in communities and on the planet.
We began by conducting interviews with the Carrotmob user community. The team spoke with campaign organizers, participants, and businesses to learn what drew people to Carrotmob and what points of friction arose in the process.
This research exposed a fundamental challenge – the current experience asked a lot of individual users. Specifically just because people had a passion about a change didn’t mean they were good at organizing disparate groups to effect that change. Together, we set out to explore how Carrotmob could make it easier for anybody to participate and “vote with their dollar”. We researched analogous businesses to uncover technology solutions and innovative business models, and facilitated a series of design strategy workshops to explore what a new user experience might feel like. What emerged was a simple yet powerful model that catered to the mainstream user – a loyalty program with a mission. By linking a credit card, anybody can support meaningful projects (while earning cash back) every time they shop at a participating merchant.
Greenstart worked closely with Carrotmob to create a rich visual and interactive user experience for this new model of a “loyalty program for planet earth”. To guide our efforts, we hosted participatory research design sessions with users and a set of prototypes. Hearing directly from the user helped the team to re-examine some core assumptions. For example, our prototypes gauged different user interest in the method and amount of money exchanged in a transaction. This led to the development of the 3/3/3 model – 3% for Carrotmob, 3% for the user, 3% for the community project.
It was becoming clear that we were building something much different than one-off flashmobs, but yet something still true to the team’s vision. The team felt the need for a new brand. Part of this process involved revisiting the name; Carrotmob no longer seemed an appropriate fit. “The Spring” — a name that captures the groundswell and life-giving nature of the community support that the company was seeking to harness – emerged as the metaphor to refocus the company offering.
The beauty of The Spring is that users have to do little more than are already doing (eating out, clothes shopping) to contribute to the community. The challenge for the team was to make the invisible just apparent enough so that users would see their contribution and start choosing to seek out and support businesses affiliated with The Spring.
The Spring wasn’t trying to compete with the myriad of apps that tell you the newest or hottest places to shop. It’s the app that shows you where to go if you wanted to make a difference when you shop. To this end, we designed an app, website and email product that highlights The Spring businesses, funded projects and individual customer impact. Businesses are highlighted for their contributions and what they sell is artfully captured on the site and app. User’s contributions are highlighted as well and they can see what projects they have funded and their cash back.
We love working with companies who want to bring a design practice into how they work. The Spring embraced design thinking all along their journey as they transformed into a community loyalty program.
They continue to demosntrate strong design instincts by focusing on improving and simplifying the user-experience of their product from the customer’s point of view.
Learn more about The Spring.