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HOCO Case Study

This case study brings entrepreneur and creatives together to develop new products by thinking big, starting small and making things real, fast.

The Challenge

Imagine. An entire design process which usually takes roughly 4-8 weeks condensed into 1 week.
A team of four who was to solve an issue that we’re currently facing in the world, an opportunity to reinvent what the home means to customers.

Our mission was to “Define a world-class customer-led venture that reinvents the home for a selected group of target customers.”

Financially comfortable families was our target customer.

Hypotheses that this customer segment struggles to:

  • Balance work and commute with household management
  • Spend quality time as a family
  • Find enough time for themselves (parents) and each other

The initial stage was to set up a discussion guide with three main topics:
1. The objectives – what were we to learn, what did we want to achieve out of this whole design sprint?

2. Topics – the areas we wanted to dive into and surface out of our users

3. Questions – the questions that we need to ask based on the topics we’ve chosen

The discussion guide was the foundation of surfacing problems, frustrations, desires and outcomes of our users prior to user interviews. The team and I were interested in how the users interacted with their home smart or not.

My Role

Photo by fauxels on

Our dream team consisted of four women two were consultants, a graduate and myself. Our personalities were all different. I was the only one who has a creative background, this was an advantage when it came to visualising the MVP product and getting into prototyping and presenting. The team collaborated well when it came to challenging each other and gaining a different perspective.


We hit the ground running on day 1 by conducting a customer interviews to gain insight. We each got to interview a user who was within our target market.

Day 1 of interviews

With COVID being present, the interview was done virtually and unfortunately couldn’t be physically immersed with our users. Although, we found that from conducting the interviews through observation, engagement and empathising with people we were able to understand their experiences and motivations. From this, we gained a deeper personal understanding of the issues involved based off our topics and key questions from the discussion guide.

Beautiful Insight Wall

After gathering our research data from the user interviews we collated our insights onto Miro and started to develop our persona. Throughout the process we discovered 3 main problematic areas:
1. Safety of the family and the home (on holiday)
2. Space at home
3. Quality family time


Meet Meghan, she’s a family orientated woman who loves to cook chimichangas for the kids on the weekends!

After gathering our notes from the interviews we created Meghan. The observations and insights addressed to solve our core problems. During the week, we consistently reverted back to Meghan to relate to for pain-points, desires and needs.

We had to develop the best possible solution for the user, with their needs in mind throughout our entire journey, and to keep in mind the fundamental issues that our users face everyday with their work/life.


It was important to get as many ideas or problem solutions as possible at the beginning of the ideation phase. We picked several techniques to challenge our assumptions and break them. This enabled us to investigate and test our ideas in order to explore the best way to either solve a problem or provide the elements required to circumvent it. We all challenged each other through collaboration and critical thinking, this was an all inclusive open space where we could bounce ideas off each other no matter how bizarre or odd they were, we were expanding our minds and ideas.

On the right side of the image above is the ideas template that each member of the team wrote based off our prior discussions, we’ll pitch the idea to each other (virtually, of course) then challenge each other to gain further insight. Finally, as a team decide on the best idea! This was based off the ‘Doable and Loveable’ chart, how valuable we thought it could be within the market, how doable in creating an MVP product and how loveable is it from the users perspective.

Our chart with our ideas.

In this case it was our home control centre idea.

Customer Experience

Once we established the idea we went through a customer experience map for our user Meghan. The flow incorporated the initial recognition stage, we had to put ourselves in Meghan’s shoes and understand what feelings, emotions, frustrations will she go through from being aware to the ongoing usage of the application. This was scaled from ‘damaging’ being the lowest to ‘magical’ being addictive!

Customer Needs

Meghan was always on our mind. There were scenarios where we became solution focused and forgetting the core needs of our users. Therefore, we had to always relate to our data and keep questioning what we’re including was beneficial to our users.

I conducted research in the market for smart technology. The research was based on the number of households in the UK that are/have smart technology, the number of families that own a smart device. Additionally, the increase of market growth within that sector, alongside the market trends, companies and structure.


A value proposition tells prospects why they should do business with you rather than your competitors, and makes the benefits of your products or services crystal clear from the outset. How beneficial our product is compared to others in the market. We did a competitor analysis at the beginning of the project realising there wasn’t an application that tied all smart home technologies in one place.


For our hypotheses to be considered, we must be prove our insights. Like anything else in life, there are many paths to take to get to the same ending. I developed these two hypotheses below. One from a financial standpoint and the other on an emotional perspective.
As a team we went through them together to discuss which was related to our target market and related to Meghan.


I created these prototype screens for the dream team, they helped guide the rapid prototype with the development of the “rooms” and “categories” screens.

Each smart device in the home links back to the home central application.

Here we are again doing a second round of user interview and testing the prototype.

Our user was really excited and keen on getting on board with our product. He contributed to how he would pay for the product and gave great feedback on the usage and parental control.

Thanks Chris!

Capability Requirements

From launch to compatible products, our vision statement allows parents to gain quality time back with their families by having a centralised home control centre providing transparency by linking smart devices, spending and sustainable solutions.


Storytelling describes the social and cultural activity of sharing stories, sometimes with improvisation, theatrics or embellishment. Every culture has its own stories or narratives, which are shared as a means of entertainment, education, cultural preservation or instilling moral values. We worked through the storytelling workbook to work on different parts of the pitch to stakeholders and I created a presentation deck for the final piece.

Storytelling is a journey and on that journey we all contributed to a part of telling that story.


What have I learnt from this one week project?

  • We must always remember the ‘why’. The main goal is to understand the user, their problems and then come up with a product/service that solves it. As a designer, we are often lured by attractive, trendy and out of the box designs.
  • Process and progress in essential. For a project that is fast-paced, it gives you a roadmap to navigate through what can be an obscure route.
  • Team work. It is important to have a dynamic team that can challenge and motivate each other, whilst fostering creativity.

We want you to enjoy your holiday in Cornwall with a peace of mind that your home is safe with Hoco.

When I know my daughters window is locked, that’s when I can finally get a goodnights sleep.

– Chris –