The methodology and process during the first innovation lab of UOL’s C&I team

In the actual maturity of economy, where more and more services become commodities, competition for customer preference is no longer dependent solely technological or structural differences.

The advance of productive media, that allows copying almost everything that is offered to the market, expands the necessity for brands goes beyond the basic service and works with larger ecosystems, where the relationship with people is in the center of the service.

This is one of the biggest motivations to increase of UX discipline, once this matter investigates people to build truest and most relevant service dialogues.

Even with little investment it is possible to achieve a significant improvement in what we are offering. This is where innovation can make a difference, either incrementally, either in profound ways, changing the whole chain of the service.

In order to exercise more an innovation culture, we, the team of Design and Interface Product at UOL, come together to explore tools and methodologies that induce to it.

The aim was to complete the first cycle with suggestions for incremental innovations or even a redesign of a user’s journey, to improve it experience or even the relationship with the brand.

In the first cycle of this innovation lab, we met and decided to use as a reference model the double diamond diagram, proposed by the United Kingdom Design Council in 2005. The double diamond has been proposed as a visual representation of how designers solve challenges during their professional’s life.

Thus, we separate our activities into four broad groups: Discover, Define, Develop and Deliver.


Because it was a time of discovery and exploration, we decided to do an initial dynamic to define which of the company’s products we could work.

The dynamics involved a conversation with the entire group, which arbitrarily talked about their interests, desires, problems and general thoughts, all recorded in small sticky notes on the wall.

Then we grouped these sticky notes in affinity groups that finally received votes to reach a final one.

Within this group, the insights were worked to become the great challenge that we would work.

From the chosen challenge, we began our entry into the double diamond structure. At each step we use a bunch of different methodologies to achieve the expected result and move on within the structure.

In all time of this cycle, we also attended the product analyst to ensure agility in the creation and greater intimacy with this product.

Images of staff working
Images of staff working

During the discovery stage, and from the limited time we had, our choice was to work with methodologies that bring us a faster result. And, since one objective of the cycle was more exploratory, we allow ourselves to be more economical with the fieldwork.

The methodologies used at this stage were:

  • Desk research: The group was divided into small teams responsible for research information across multiple channels, for example, searching on internet, books, social networks and others.
  • CSD Matrix: Each group shared the information they had in three columns: Certainties, Assumptions and Doubts. We also used Desk Research at this moment and made some group discussions to refine all data.
  • Time Matrix: After reviewing the research, we initiated a brainstorming activity about as we thought it would be the users’ behavior with this service in the Past, in the Present and in the Future.

In the definition stage, we gather all the content that we had and discussed the topic analyzing the information and synthesizing the results.

At this stage, we downloaded and processing all data to define the general rules for the solution will be proposed.

The methodologies used at this stage were:

  • WDM Matrix: After we discuss in group our findings, we defined the project’s guidelines in three columns: We want, We don’t want and We must.

In the development stage, we gather all the content and set off for the ideation, associating the project guidelines with all the information gathered, creating connections between these elements.

From these links, we work in possible solutions for key parts of the new user journey and discussed it in groups.

The methodologies used at this stage were:

  • SWAP: In smaller groups, each participant created a group of ideas alone that was later presented and enhanced by the rest of the group. At the end, each group had important parts of the journey to be idealized.

In possession of all the ideas, we organize the structure of the new user journey in the service studied.


In delivery step, we completed the new user journey joining the parts we created into a cohesive story.

At this time, we created a story from a real persona of the product using the solution chosen in a stress scenario.

The methodologies used at this stage were:

  • Storyboard: We create a storyboard with part of the journey, emphasizing the critical moments and how service reacted during this moments to make a better experience.
  • Role-playing: For other important aspects, we decided to develop a scenario of a real situation. The scenario was videotaped for registration and was accompanied by the analyst of the product that even staged one of the characters involved.

After finalize deliveries of these prototypes, we also developed a report with findings that were delivered to the analyst responsible for the product.

The document had suggestions for changes and new features that improve the user experience.

For the next cycles of innovation lab, there is the aim to involve more internal and external customers, also using depth interviews, sprint ethnography, among others.

For me, as the main point of learning, I saw the importance of dialogue and the limits for building a creative project. It was also noticeable how much collaborative work enriches the result of design.

So even the organize and the moderations of dynamics and group activities were a big challenge, it was clear that the result worth all the effort.

Images from the beginning of the laboratory process.

Images of staff working
Images of staff working

For more information on the methodology, see the following references.

A big hug,

Design Council; Just4letters; Design methods for developing services; Design.Gov;
PINHEIRO, Tenny. The service startup: Design gets lean. Hayakawa, Altabooks e Createspace, 2014.

Infographic compares minimum wage in the country with congressman salary

I developed this infographic during the course of computer graphics at the University of Texas At Austin. It compares the salaries of the Brazilian congressmen with the minimum wage and even the amount considered necessary to live well in Brazil.



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