BabyBloom is one of the 10 new teams in the Design Leaders Program which started late in October, 2016 at the Columbia Entrepreneurship Design Studio.
Team BabyBloom, makers of the The Boost Smart Bottle, is aiming to provide a platform for nursing mothers to monitor, understand, and take back control of their breast milk production and supply through automated tracking, community support, and a network of lactation consultants available for personalized feedback and advice.
Through the Design Leaders Program at the Columbia Entrepreneurship Design Studio, they are learning how to gain more insight into users – both nursing moms and lactation consultants — and integrate those insights into their product.
Designer-in-Residence Adam Royalty and Design Lead Alice Bosley ’17SIPA introduced the idea of a “user archetypes” a description of their customers and important steak holders that fit a set of known characteristics. Alice and Adam tasked the group with identifying and interviewing five new potential users in order to begin to build their archetypes. To start, the team sought to interview moms about their journey without bringing up our mission and product. Instead, we were instructed to obtain an objective portrait of them as people (as moms) – who they are and what they do throughout their day – in order to best understand the community we are trying to serve.
In search of these new mothers, two of my teammates, Krista and Bastien, and I headed to the Upper Breast Side in the Upper West Side of Manhattan, where we have built a relationship with the owner, Felina Gallagher, a woman central to the breastfeeding scene in Manhattan (and a true carer). The Upper Breast Side sells all kinds of new mother items, ranging from baby products to nursing bras and breast pump rentals, and provides consultations on how to effectively use breast pumps. They also provide a space for moms to come nurse their babies and normalize breastfeeding in public, so we know this as a good place to find new mothers.
We arrived at around 11am on a Thursday morning and it was quiet. We had a chance to catch up with Felina about the newest products coming into the mommy market. The first mom to come into the store, Tina, was accompanied by her two children and her parents. Tina has a 4 year old daughter and a 5 month old son. I talked with her as she shopped. She shared that she had felt “lost and confused” with her daughter and has felt a lot more comfortable the second time around. Regarding breastfeeding, Tina believed that she would just “figure it out naturally” with her daughter, but learned that the reality was much more difficult. Tina said that she felt the most alone once she left the hospital and didn’t have the support network of nurses. She knew that she wanted to breastfeed for a long time but she didn’t know for how long. With her first child she breastfed for about 3 years, until she became pregnant with her son. She says she also plans to breastfeed her son for as long as possible.
The second woman that we talked with, Jamie, was a mother-to-be. She was about 8 months pregnant and was preparing for the baby’s arrival. She already purchased a breast pump but wasn’t concerned about using it. She said that she hasn’t done any research and figured that she’ll just “figure it out” and if she has problems she will talk to friends (she has a friend who is a lactation consultant and lots of mommy friends). Jamie has received a gift certificate for a session with a nursing consultant and plans to use it after giving birth.
We also met Elsa, a first-time mother who produces a high volume of breast milk and donates the extra milk to a milk bank. She started tracking her milk volumes as soon as she gave birth and soon noticed that she was producing more than her baby was eating. She said that she started using the data about milk volume to monitor how much excess milk she produced so she could decide how much to donate. She tracked for about 3 months and then stopped because she wasn’t using the data anymore and felt comfortable with her supply. She is returning to work and we’re going to keep in touch with her about her changing supply as her expression routine changes.
We were unable to discuss all the questions that we planned since these women were busy. I collected their contact information and have followed-up to schedule interviews in the future.
In the following Design Leaders session, we brought these experiences and had the opportunity to build archetypes based on these three user interviews. We considered Jamie (the expecting mother), Tina (the mother that highly values breastfeeding), and Elsa (the overproducing, new mom returning to work). We had the opportunity to share these archetypes with the other groups and get feedback from Alice and Adam about how to identify their values and how these values can influence the product. As Adam has taught us: if we can solve the problem for one of our users, we are on track to solve it for many of our users. As the next step, after identifying our archetypes, we are now building prototypes that we will put into the hands of users in order to test our assumptions.