An article excerpt from Peloton Smart Retro Acceleration Program:
Join the Smart Retro Program and make your way to test your service or product with real people, in real life, in the testbeds of Lahti city centre and Stockholm’s Bagarmossen! Read about the purpose of testbeds and get to know ‘Bagis’ and Lahti here.
What is a testbed?
At the Peloton Smart Retro innovation camps, the new product or service concepts of the entrepreneurs and startups will be developed better with the partners, community leaders and experts So the camps are about co-creation. After that, in the testbed phase these concepts will be tested in real life, with real people in collaboration with a partner or partners. The testbed phase is about experimentation: the startups and entrepreneurs will conduct a temporary experiment where they together with users and partners try out their new service or product concept in a real-life environment. The goal is to learn about the concepts together.
The experiment means that volunteer users use the concept in their everyday lives. Depending of the concept, it might happen in their homes, or in their mobile phones, or it might be a temporary service point in the urban space or in an existing shop. The experiment can run from days to two months. The experiment will be partly designed at the Bagarmossen part of the Peloton Smart Retro innovation camp. The partner for the experiment can be one of the partner organizations involved in Smart Retro or a local entrepreneur, or even a new one.
The experiment is meant to gather feedback and knowledge on the concept. For example: How people use it? When? For what? Will they return to use it? Who uses it? What is the value of it for them? Which features are important for them and what not? Does it work technically? What does not work? What works? Does the system work? How does the collaboration between the producer and partner work? Are people or partners willing to pay for it? So many questions, but only certain questions will be chosen to be learnt about during one experiment.
The companies are not the only ones who learn. The users also learn about new products and services and how they can help them in their everyday lives. They might become regular users of the services later on.
The results of the experiment (the feedback and knowledge) are used to evaluate and improve, or radically change, the concept or the business model. Some of the improvements and changes, also known as iterations, will be done already during the experiment.
Feedback and results gained in the experiment are also used to convince new customers, users, partners or investors to buy the service, to collaborate with the company or invest in it.
The value of testbeds and experiments is also that they help to imagine together what is possible and what the future of an area and the life in it could be like and thus help to generate more action after we have been inspired by the experiment.
See pictures of the opening event of an ongoing testbed in Kalasatama area of Helsinki. The concepts tested in this testbed include Piggy Baggy, which is a peer-to-peer service for transportation of goods, a self-service mini-library by the City of Helsinki, an organic food buying club, electric car rental service and solar panels for urban use. These experiments in Kalasatama run for a month and people use them in their normal everyday life. If you want to know about more why experimentation is important, see a video on experimental culture.
Psst…In the beginning 2015 we will be looking for residents in Lahti and Bagarmossen who want to be the test users and co-developers of new sustainable services later in spring! Stay tuned!