Walt Disney World Transit
Problem: Long-Term Product Strategy Needed
Walt Disney World’s ground transit system is the fifth largest in the US, but its digital products have not grown in years. I used strategic problem definition and ideation to help our cross-functional team determine and align on our path forward. We needed to present a long-term vision to executive leadership in order to gain funding for the next several years.
When I joined the Walt Disney World transit app team, its transit products had not been updated in almost three years. During this time, many problems had been identified and many possible solutions had been explored. I was essentially faced with a backlog of ideas and needed to determine a strategic path. To help find this path, I lead a two-day what/how workshop inspired by Google design sprints.
On day one of the workshop, we focused on the what: what problems are we solving? First, teams presented a survey of qualitative and quantitative data about the problem space. Next, each participant wrote down problems that needed the be solved based on that data. We discussed, categorized, and voted on these problems. Ultimately, we came away from day one with a shared understanding of the problem space and seven clearly defined problem areas.
For day two of the workshop, we focused on the how: how might we solve each one of the problems we’d identified? For all seven problems, we brainstormed using how might we statements, then voted. We also discussed the most important metrics we'd use to measure the success of each solution. By the end of the day, we had an aligned upon set of potential solutions for each problem.
Concepting and Iteration
Next, my teammate and I moved into a concepting phase. For our first iteration, we created mid-fidelity flows and screens utilizing the how might we statements for each problem. We shared these with our product team and used their feedback to narrow down.
We continued to iterate on design concepts and narrowed down to primary concepts for each of the seven problems we'd identified in our workshops. Because we'd aligned up front in our workshops, our second round was also our final round; only two rounds of iteration were needed.
Outcome and Next Steps
In the end, our strategic problem definition and ideation was a huge success because executive leadership agreed with our long-term plan and concepts for Walt Disney World transit and allocated a significant budget for us to bring them to life in the future.
In addition to this funding, our other big win was our expediency: by working directly with our product team and gaining up-front alignment, we were able to iteratively concept very quickly.