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User Journeys and Future Services for Forest Carbon Monitoring

Creating value through real users’ needs and behavioural understanding are among our main goals in the Forest Carbon Monitoring project. By achieving that, we can better understand how to enhance engagement with customers on carbon information and its benefits.

Another target is to engage individuals with differing interests into co-creation. Firstly, by aligning our views to the vision of possible futures for Forest Carbon Platform services, and secondly, by assessing and validating the impact these services can create.

But before we show a snapshot of what we did during Sprint II, let’s remind ourselves about the work of VTT designers in this project. Our job is divided into five Sprints. Results from Sprint I can be found here. Sprints III, IV and V will take place during 2022 and 2023.

Understanding Future Services’ Value through co-creation

Based on the work done in the WP1 – User Requirements, we created two scenarios for future Forest Carbon Monitoring solutions (or platform?), which encompass company profiles, related roles & goals (Figure 1). The intent was to summarise, and best represent the main findings and users’ requirements. We applied Scenarios to:

  • Ensure that users and their contexts are at the centre of what we do.
  • Understand the skills and capabilities that can lead and deliver on the promise of the solutions.
  • Build operations and structures that respond to real needs considering the contexts.
  • Integrate thinking through multidisciplinary lenses into a single view.

We defined the co-creation activities to immerse participants into the scenarios, understand the user’s point of view and ideate on the platform capabilities that could deliver value.

Figure 1: Forest Carbon Monitoring Scenarios, November 2021

Due to the project’s timeline, we also prioritised features and practical ideas into three groups: must-have, good to have and not now (Figure 2). The must-have serves as the foundation for the mock-ups and further demo development.

Figure 2: Prioritisation of features and practical ideas on Forest Carbon Monitoring, November 2021

Furthermore, to identify the main operational tasks and requirements to develop these must-have features and continuously operate in a user-centric way, we captured insights in the form of Service Blueprint (Figure 3).

Figure 3: Service Blueprint of tasks, requirements and features for Forest Carbon Monitoring, November 2021

Early concepts, sketches, and mock-ups

The most cost-effective way to achieve meaningful products and services is by testing early on and failing fast. Lean methods help reduce risk and find the best product-market fit by making continuous adjustments.

Together, we created early concepts, sketches of our aligned views that later served as the base for mock-ups of the platform (Figure 4).

Figure 4: Future Forest Carbon Monitoring Platform mock-ups, November 2021

These mock-ups are tangible representations of the Carbon Monitoring Platform future applications. They were validated by selected user-partners, who gave us honest feedback by testing the mock-ups. Early platform concepts also enabled a more focused dialogue between stakeholders, partners, and users.

Interview results and insights

We performed a qualitative analysis of the information gathered through the interviews. We identified common topics and grouped the interview data into insights. These insights refer to topics that we may not be able to fully address during the project, but which need to be kept in mind in order to inform the technical and methodological development. They are useful in showing us what potential users are thinking about, pointing to some aspects of the project that need attention (plus put a pin on some critical points to be kept in mind moving forward). For example, interviewees imagined different use cases for the tool, but they didn’t always think about using it in their work, which raises some questions: What type of services could be based on the work done in this project? Who would use it, and what level of expertise do they need? (end-user, consultant, developer…)

Most interviewees were from the private sector, which may have affected the results and perspectives represented. Next sprint, we’ll seek participation from the public sector. Still, the current feedback supports further development of the ideas, and the results are insightful.

To better communicate the Forest Carbon Platform users’ motivations and insights gathered in this initial user research, we illustrated the users’ flow through the platform using the journeys below.

User Journeys
Source: https://www.forestcarbonplatform.org/for-whom/

Even though this project concentrates on the scientific and technical development of the underlying processes, and we are not building user interfaces for the type of applications envisioned above, thinking about possible future services is helping to define better and prioritise the groundwork of our tasks. Once the interfaces are considered, user flows through the system can be made easier with automation and interaction design. In addition, further studies on service models could lead to new use cases; for example, negotiations with regulatory entities could provide compliance services with regulatory frameworks or standard calculations addressing specific reporting or certification purposes.

Want to know more about what VTT Design and Forest Carbon Monitoring consortium is cooking right now? Do not hesitate to reach out.

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