Hybrid Sled is a Co-Venturing between a Norwegian husky tour company and MERPHI. The project included concept design, CAD modelling, engineering, user study and MVP testing. Read the story of lowering the risk of innovation by choosing the right tool for testing the market acceptance.
The story started from the decent warm summer of 2020. When MERPHI just started it’s journey and was bursting with lots of creative ideas wishing to come true. During that time, an entrepreneur from Norway reached out and shared the story of his challenges at that time. Although we had a nice decent summer in Nordics, but the huskies were suffering from heat while training.
Husky is made for cold climates and need constant training. However, the husky owners have to keep them training even during summer. But the sleds and gears are not made for summer. Moreover, the sled tour industry has been under developed for many years and digitalization has not reached there yet. In fact, a digital solution can help huskies live longer by helping them carry less load. Besides, the current sleds are not safe enough neither for the passengers nor for the huskies.
As a result, these unspoken issues made us think and think and think! What could be the solutions to overcome these challenges?
We performed a set of activities to do in order to bring the concept into reality. First, It started with a need analysis, competitor analysis and trend analysis. As a result, the designers had an overview of the users’ needs and market situation. Secondly, the team created lots of hand sketches based on the defined requirements. Then, engineering team and the stakeholders validated the sketches and choose the final concept.
Thirdly, the selected concept was shell modelled in CAD (in this case SolidWorks) containing all the design and engineering details. Moreover, Several renders were made to see how does the final product looks like. Here we stopped developing the concept, and moved into MVP testing and user study.
At the beginning, MERPHI UX team designed a study and survey questions. Furthermore, the team created a website that represents the idea and ask the viewers to participate in the study. Final goal of the study was to understand if this concept is what fulfills the target users’ requirement.
In conclusion, the survey was answered by 65 Professional musher (as expert users) and some people who were the second users of this industry. As a result, the concept got lots of interests and were considered novel and useful. However, final price that was calculated as the selling price for this product, was way above the expectation of the prospects. So, final decision was to not to pursue the concept in this direction and find other usages for the same platform.
Although we decided to pause the project, the need is still there. Later, we also identified some other usages for the designed platform. But the key takeaway of this project, was the agile approach of MVP testing. In fact, we lowered down the risk of innovation by testing the market acceptance, before we invest in R&D and production. This method is a cheap and reliable method to save the time and money and overcoming the uncertainty. (Read more about MVP approach)