Collaborative Innovation Platform

For eCampusOntario

eCampusOntario is launching a new platform that helps local businesses connect with education institutions to work together on research & development projects.

Businesses benefit from being able to conduct affordable research for new products or projects, while students get a chance at professional work experience, and networking within their communities.

I worked on this project in it's very early stages, conducting qualitative research and analysis across our 3 main user groups and also lead a pilot with the City of Toronto. I also developed materials key to the product's strategy such as personas, insights, sourcing potential business collaborators, service design maps, wireframes, and value propositions.

Researching and Engaging Our Users

We determined our platform would have 3 main user groups:
    • People at local businesses looking to propose a project
    • Staff and students at education institutions looking for research projects
    • Funding partners seeking projects to finance

We recruited several people from each of these groups for in-depth interviews over Zoom, to determine how they were currently approaching collaborative research projects, and if a platform like our would be of use to them. 

We also engaged the City of Toronto in 2 pilots, to test the user experience and processes required to run the platform. 

Outcomes of Research

Our research demonstrated that there was a need for our platform within the province, which helped  secure ongoing funding for the project.

More importantly, the research helped us develop a deeper understanding of each of our user groups’ needs which helped inform the first prototypes of the platform. 

Some of the key insights from this research includes: 
    • Different groups have different needs for confidentiality
    • Most users have low capacity for admin tasks relating to using the platform
    • Start-Ups may need extra support
    • Education Institutions benefit from more formalized processes 

Both pilots we ran through the City of Toronto saw the successful completion of several research projects, in collaboration with education institutions across the province. These projects helped departments at the city determine new policies to enact for resident needs, and led to the proposal of a new policy to make internet more accessible to lower-income earners across the city.