Product innovation dependent on user involvement

SnitkerGroup conducted a range of tests for Danfoss. Devi, which is the department at Danfoss that works with under floor heating, has developed a new heating control panel with touch screen. Through the entire process Danfoss has had a desire for involving the users. The project’s technical project manager, Jesper Vraa, tells:
“We cared a great deal about finding out what the client’s need is and what their everyday looked like. If one asks: “What would you like?”, it can be difficult to get an answer, but if you ask about people’s everyday, it is easier to assess what can make their everyday easier”.

Thinking the users into the innovation process is not a new thing for Danfoss. However this project has been a great bet and because of this there has been an even bigger focus on the users. The heating control system has been tested in several different countries and the tests have been part of an iterative process, where the product continually has been tested. Jesper Vraa tells:
“We ran three large test processes where one process could last several days and in several countries. In between we made corrections and made sure to tune in the product all the way. I thought that was very rewarding. It was also rewarding that we were a part of it an were able to see it for ourselves and sometimes we brought subcontractors to SnitkerGroup for them to see what it was all about..”

The challenge of the project is that the majority of the product is hidden, while only a small part is available for the end-user. At the same time Jesper Vraa is pointing out that the heating control system is not used daily and therefore needs to be as intuitive as possible – so that the user does not experience having to start over each time the under floor heating needs regulation.
Jesper Vraa evaluates: “Because the user surface is such a large part of our product, it would have been a catastrophe had we failed. Here SnitkerGroup has generally been part of improving the usability of our product”.
Other than that Jesper points out that SnitkerGroup in the following three areas has been especially strong:

1. The cooperation.
2. The understanding of the application.
3. Recruitment of the correct respondents.
Danfoss is a family owned Danish company. Globally there are approximately 23.000 employees of which approximately 6.000 are employed in Denmark. Danfoss produces products in areas such as refrigeration automatics, heating automatics and water hydraulics.

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