Sharing economy for your possessions
If we are to manage to make the transition to a more sustainable future, two key areas are the circular economy and space-efficient residential development. One measure, which has already been implemented in the majority of Norway’s cities and large municipalities, involves making good use of inhabited areas and the existing building stock – urban densification, pure and simple.
However, urban densification is not without its consequences.
Today, approximately 32% of all Norwegians live in an apartment block or a small house that has relatively few rooms and a lack of storage space. In combination with greater centralisation, urban densification is creating a need to find new solutions for storing and keeping things.
Globally, there will be more than 6.2 billion people living in cities by 2050. The Norwegian start-up ADD + SPACE has taken on this challenge, and is developing a service that will fundamentally change our perspective on how we store our things in the future.
In the summer of 2021, Itera and some of Norway’s most skilled students helped the company to develop a demo app.
Helping private individuals to be part of the circular economy
ADD + SPACE is following in the footsteps of companies such as AirBnB and Nabobil. With an intuitive application and a simple subscription solution, anyone can access empty storage space in other people’s homes, sheds and garages. At the same time, it gives homeowners the opportunity to earn money from any empty space they have.
ADD + SPACE takes responsibility for pickup and delivery via third-parties. The solution is simple, seamless and free of inconvenience for all involved.
Another factor that makes ADD + SPACE different is its un-Norwegian approach of investing globally from day one, with the company targeting the USA as its primary market. This created an extra dimension to the collaboration, both for Itera and the summer students.
Demo app developed in eight weeks
As ADD + SPACE wanted to develop a demo app, an eight-week project was carried out during the summer of 2021. The project involved summer students from Itera, who got the opportunity to be part of the development of the app, the concept design process and the insight work that the customer would use for its further work.
With a short time horizon, it was a question of making mistakes quickly and often and learning at lightning speed. The project was therefore set up in an agile way with short iterations and close dialogue with the customer throughout.
Developing a solution on the end-users' terms
In order to develop the best solution, we took the user and the user journey as our starting point. The first thing we did was to map the existing solutions in the market in order to identify the opportunities and challenges facing ADD + SPACE. The insight from this analysis work was then used to determine the success factors such as user friendliness and security.
We then developed semi-fictional representations of users, known as personas, and the UX designers used these to produce a tone of voice and to ensure the application flowed well and met end-users’ actual needs.
Technology that creates a competitive advantage
In parallel with the insight work, different technologies for making the application simple and fun to use were tested out. The developers on the student team tested out technology including Cloud Vision API, AR and Lidar in order to map the opportunities that were available and how the various technologies could help create added value for both ADD + SPACE and end-users.
This focus area eventually ended up with a technology that provides a unique user experience for both those who rent out space and those who use it. It was just as important to ensure that the technology would continue to give the application a competitive advantage in the future, because new areas of use will develop as the technology becomes more integrated into our everyday lives.
An agile method and collaboration created added value for the customer
Throughout the project, the student team held weekly planning meetings with ADD + SPACE in order to ensure a good level of collaboration. The demo was therefore created in sprints, with stand-up meetings held every day to ensure shared problem solving, as well as weekly retrospectives to identify areas for improvement.
The close collaboration between the team’s members and the customer created a good process that delivered on the objectives and provided the customer with added value in the form of new insight, well-developed ideas and a high quality delivery.
“Our collaboration with Itera was compelling from day one. Itera’s professionalism and expertise in combination with the summer students’ entirely fresh approach and outside-the-box thinking proved to be very successful”
Valuable summer projects at Itera
Every summer, Itera employs some of Norway’s most talented students to contribute to projects for actual customers. Itera’s delivery to ADD + SPACE is typical of such projects, which allow students to tackle new challenges, to obtain relevant work experience from a strong specialist environment and to develop their knowledge.
The summer projects also give the students a unique opportunity to solve concrete problems, while providing customers with the chance to develop new, digital services with a low level of risk and for an attractive price.
“It was really interesting to see what an interdisciplinary student team working with a new start-up could achieve. We were really excited when we started, as we were given a relatively broad problem to solve. Over the summer we learned from each other and developed each week. I was really satisfied with the result at the end of the summer.”