ChargeMe business plan for short-term (orange), mid-term (green), and long-term (blue) goals describing how ChargeMe, as a service model, will expand to the general public.
Power bank vending machine powered by green energy
ChargeMe was a project I co-led at Delta Electronics, it was for an internal innovation contest hosted by the company. I was given two months to develop a new product concept that would not only fit the company image but would also be attractive enough for the company to consider making it a reality.
We came up with the ChargeMe concept, a power bank vending machine powered by green energy.
I acted as the sole UX/UI designer, working together with nine other people across various departments in the company (HR, PR, marketing, R&D).
Tools: Adobe XD, SketchUp, Miro, Google Docs, Google Slides, Slack
What I did
Designed the UI and look & feel of the hardware
I was the only member of the team that had knowledge and experience in UI design, so naturally, the design aspects of the project landed in my hands. I was also responsible for designing the overall look and feel of the vending machine.
Hosted ideation sessions
I hosted ideation sessions at the early stages of the project. I also worked with my teammates to incorporate different ideas that can represent the company's ideals of using green energy.
Presented the results to get Executive buy-in
I helped prepare the final presentation for the team to pitch our concept to the management teams.
ChargeMe: how the idea came to be
To help us kickstart the project, the company provided us with a straightforward brief:
The concept needs to align with Delta's company image: develop products that utilize green (renewable) energy.
The rest is really up to the team's imagination and our ability to innovate, and so we get to work. We hosted an ideation session to discuss what kind of product would be the "next big thing" for Delta Electronics.
🤔 Our Thinking: Delta has been the company that constantly strives to incorporate its products with renewable energy, including its solar panels and wind power solutions. We know that Delta's sub-brand, Innergie, also makes power banks, so we connected that information to the high demand for power banks in Taiwan during our market research. As a result, we came up with the concept of a service model that lets its users rent power banks quickly and efficiently on the go while combining Innergie's power banks technologies and Delta's clean power solutions to power the whole vending machine. We named this concept ChargeMe.
Plan & Analyze
To further solidify how ChargeMe works, we developed a business plan to describe our short-term, mid-term, and long-term goals regarding how ChangeMe can be slowly implemented into people's daily lives.
Short-term goal: Setting up vending machines in places where there will be a lot of traffic, e.g. a train station or a bus station. This way the general public will have a first-hand experience with ChargeMe. During this time ChareMe would have to rely largely on regular electric power provided by the electric company.
Mid-term goal: Implement methods that can generate green energy such as wind power, solar power, and absorb energy via the weight of the pedestrians.
Long-term goal: To cooperate with other companies to bring ChargeMe into restaurants and convenience stores.
After we set the project goals for ChargeMe, we began looking at other competitors who are offering similar services, mainly paying attention to their business models and what makes them stand out from other competitors.
💡 Insight: Compare to its competitors, ChargeMe's biggest weak point is its cost since it is more expensive to maintain the hardware of ChargeMe. The major competitors at the time are all small-size vending machines that are designed to be installed indoors like restaurants or bars, which in turn could not get the expose that ChargeMe gets, but at the same time, the maintenance cost is lower.
Aside from competitor analysis, we also looked at the externalities that ChagrMe could cause.
Some positive impact that ChargeMe could cause are: promotions for green energy and meet the demand of power usage for consumer electronics on the go.
Some negative impact that ChargeMe could cause are: more space could be occupied due to the large size of the vending machines & customers losing their portable batteries and was unable to return them.
Once we set our project goals, we began working on the design of the vending machine. For the hardware, I used SketchUp to produce a mockup to describe how the team imagined the vending would look like. The biggest feature of this design is that we used a solar panel and wind power generator as means to generate clean energy, otherwise the design is pretty similar to a normal vending machine, except you pay for a power bank instead of drinks or snacks.
We also designed the hardware of the power bank itself; the power bank is compatible with all mobile devices as it offers a variety of charging cables such as USB Type-C, Micro USB, and Apple Lightning. During the renting process, the user can choose which cable he/she wants and rent the cable together with the power bank.
Apart from the hardware of the vending machine, I also designed the UI of the machine using Adobe XD.
🤔 Our Thinking: Inspired by the UI in ATMs and Taipei MRT ticket machines, the user interface of ChargeMe should be intuitive and easy to use. It is important to make sure that the UI is friendly enough to be usable by anyone since this product is marketed toward the general public.
I also designed a concept UI for mobile devices. However, the design is fairly bare-bones as we think the impact that the app has on the project is not big enough for us to focus our limited time and resources on it.
Nonetheless, the app is designed to help keep track of the status of the user's current power bank including battery percentage and renting hours. The app also offers a renting history function to help users keep track of where and when they last rented/returned a power bank. Users can also use the app to track down the power bank if they managed to lose it.
Contest results & reflections
After our hardware and software designs, we presented what we had to the management teams during the contest. We ended up earning third place, and our concept was well received by the management team.
Thanks to this project, I have learned valuable skills, such as working in a cross-functional team and managing a project from start to finish. Overall I am very happy with what my team achieved in just two months!