Designing a Heating Service in Germany

the challenge

The client sought to gain share in a longstanding yet underserved heating market segment. The German energy sector is convoluted and the corporations doing production, or delivery often neglect the needs of the end user. By launching a service design project we had a great opportunity to build innovative solutions that create added value for the customer. Our main challenge was to reach and engage end-customers and to design a research that enabled us to understand what customers value most when it comes to heating their homes.



As part of Germany-wide research efforts, we carried out 12 deep interviews in Hamburg, North-Rhine Westphalia, Hessen, Bavaria and Berlin. Throughout these 120' long sessions we asked open questions about the relationship between heating, the 'family fireplace'  and the feeling of home. We've discovered people's weekly schedules, how they live, what they do in their free time and how they spend their time in and around their homes. These interviews gave us deep insights into individual conceptions of home and warmth, as well as practical insights into how people live with their heating. 


Following the research, we took time to download all the research findings and created a war room as the central intelligence hub for the project. It allowed us to invite external experts and bring them quickly on board and gather feedback and more questions from them. We then worked with the client to make sense of the data and create a problem understanding together. 


co-creation and value propositions

Collaborating closely with the client was crucial throughout the whole project. Our co-creation sessions with a heterogeneous group of employees were paramount to our success as a team. Well planned, facilitated and time-boxed co-creation allowed us to efficiently move the project forward by bringing a variety of experts into a single room and work. Having a clear point of view on the customer's problem in sight helped us to ideate around solutions. The focused co-creation workshops  were paramount to the success of the projects. By bringing a mixed group of experts into the same room we could cover many different possibilities and create a great variety of value propositions for the customers. We then went out there again and tested the solutions we created together.

the outcome

As a result, the client received clear directions what value propositions customers liked and disliked. It gave a good customer-centric starting point for quickly scalable product and service development.

the skill set

  • Service & Business Design
  • Ethnographic & Quantitative Research
  • Workshop preparation, facilitation and documentation