Our students, the task force of future changemakers and innovative thinkers will tackle your company’s actual problems. We help you adjust your point of view, to try a different approach or to get out of your comfort zone.

WHY JOIN?

Visibility

We provide you more visibility among our students and the design thinking community in Tartu.

Validation

We help you validate the problem statement and work towards a solution as part of the project course.

New Skills

We provide an opportunity for the partner company’s employees to advance their own knowledge and skills.

New Talent

Together we can create an environment to foster future product managers.

HOW TO JOIN?

We accept new partner companies twice a year, in August-September and December-January. In order to become a partner for the Sandbox programme, a fee applies. This financial support from the partner companies allows the Sandbox team to further develop and refine the programme to improve design thinking and digital product management education at the University of Tartu. If your company is interested in joining the programme, contact us through the form below or write an email to sandbox@ut.ee.

We are also always open to guest lecturers who wish to give a talk on topics related to digital product management and design thinking. If you are interested in joining Sandbox programme as a guest lecturer, write an email to sandbox@ut.ee.

DESIGN THINKING PROCESS

TESTIMONIALS

COMPLETED PROJECTS SHOWCASE

Partner company: SEB

Course: Digital Product Management Industry Project
Team Emotional Payment: Kaisa, Birgitt, Tejas, Peeter
Semester: Spring 2022

The challenge
Making payments from your account to someone else’s account is a rather technical thing. However the intentions are not always technical. SEB assumes that people sometimes use money as a gift, as a bonus for a well-done job, as a help or support, as a donation etc. However, the bank’s existing payment forms in Internetbank or Mobile App do not support people to fully convey the emotion when making the payment, and people look for alternative channels to deliver it (SMS, call, Messenger, WhatsApp, cash).

Process and solution
Team Emotional Payment analyzed stakeholders, built a persona and an user journey map, and identified six stages, from initiating a bank transfer to communicating with the receiver about it. After user research, the team came up with three different design opportunities. The one they decided to focus on was: How might we add an emotional personal touch to the bank transaction?

The ideation phase proved to be very productive for team Emotional Payment, as they brainstormed a lot of exciting and innovative ideas. The team presented a product prototype that allows enriching the regular money transfer with a wide variety of features, from poems to interactive images of birthday cakes.

Sneak peek at Emotional Payment team's ideation phase 
Sneak peek at Emotional Payment team's product prototype
Partner company: SEB

Course: Digital Product Management Industry Project
Team Finbest: Monica, Karl, Asso, Binghua
Semester: Spring 2022

The challenge
SEB presented the challenge that a large proportion of the society is facing financial stress on a daily basis. Some people are able to manage their finances well but some are struggling. Different customer groups have different approaches to managing financial stress and therefore also need different solutions. In addition, financial stress can create not only financial problems but also impact health. The challenge of this project was to find out the customers' financial stress and lead them to solve it with our product.

Process and solution
During the course, team Finbest analyzed four different personas, conducted seven interviews, built a journey map, and tested various assumptions. After thorough user research, they came up with ten design opportunities. The team decided to focus on the following opportunity: How might we support customers to reach their financial goals based on their life priorities?

After the ideation and testing phases, team Finbest presented a product prototype that would help users assess their financial situation, make and follow a budget, increase financial literacy, and, most importantly, release financial stress.

Sneak peek at Finbest's product prototype
Partner company: Metatellus

Course: Digital Product Management Industry Project
Team vME (Virtual ME): Helena, Joonas, Joy, Yashar
Semester: Spring 2022

The challenge
Our modern everyday digital environment has created many problems for both users and providers of digital services to deal with. Two most significant problems are:
1. Increasing disconnectedness from real life
2. Poor human-computer interaction
When applied to the field of Metaverse and the onboarding processes, these problems lead to one big question. How to build up the onboarding and retention so that the app gets as much information about the user as possible with as little input as possible?

Process and solution
Team vME identified its primary goal as follows: build trustful relationships between a virtual creature and its owner via the mobile interface. During user research, they focused on testing the assumption that people leave onboarding when the app asks too many questions. To test this assumption, vME team conducted ten interviews with ten potential users at age 16-53. The team was able to pinpoint primary users’ concerns, weaknesses of virtual assistants, and identify what onboarding should include.

Taking findings into consideration, the team decided to focus on two How Might We questions:
1. HMW build trust between the user and app so that the user feels secure.
2. HMW create a visual onboarding algorithm that studies the user thoroughly.
After a few cycles of user tests and improvement, team vME presented a prototype of an onboarding application that focuses on building a complete virtual version of the user while rewarding the user with a unique abstract piece of art.

Sneak peek at vME team's user research process
Sneak peek at vME team's product prototype
Industry Project with The Estonian National Museum

Our commitment to working with the industry has been well established since the beginning of the Sandbox program. With every passing semester, we are filling up our partner wall.

Partner wall at the Sandbox

To the end of working more closely with the industry, one of our course offerings is Digital Product Management Industry Project (DPMIP). The course is designed to provide a real-world setting for the students to practice their Design Thinking and Product Management skills.

As a quick summary here is a timeline of how the course works.

  1. The Sandbox partners with companies
  2. Problem statements for students are created
  3. Students are onboarded, teamed up and given context
  4. Checkpoints for solving different aspects of the problem are laid out
  5. The teams conduct user research, build personas and user journeys
  6. The teams then agree upon a product vision, strategy, and metrics to measure success
  7. Possible solutions are ideated upon and sketched
  8. Prototypes are built using industry-standard tools such as Figma
  9. The prototypes are used for user testing and iterating
  10. The course concludes with final presentations and reports that add value to the partner's attempts to solve the problem

This semester (Autumn 2021/22) we had a fruitful collaboration with the Estonian National Museum (ENM) or Eesti Rahva Muuseum (ERM) in Estonian. A total of 15 students with various backgrounds in IT worked as teams on two different problems of interest to the museum. By the end of the course, the students delivered and tested four prototypes (two per problem). These prototypes can now be further developed by the museum, and can be used to build the final solutions.

Credits: ERM - BTH Studio

The problems ranged from making museum visits more engaging to different demographics to coming up with different ways in which the digital assets of the museum can be used by visitors. At the Sandbox, we are firm believers in Design Thinking and the students get to use the tools that they’ve learnt about in practical settings. The process starts with empathy and building personas of the people for whom the solution is to be designed. For example, the teams Estonian National Museum and The New Wave came up with the following personas for the problems that they were solving.

Other teams too created personas based on their problem statements and target audience. Once these steps are validated, teams moved on to the next steps of validating their assumptions and picking the right "How might we.." questions to answer.

With the questions picked, the teams then come up with multiple solutions that can answer the questions. With many options on the table, the teams then work with the mentors and the partners to pick a solution that might be best suited.

This entire process of diverging over questions to answer, converging on a few important ones, then coming up with multiple solutions to those questions and picking the most suited ones is called the Double Diamond Design Process.

Double Diamond (Credits: Digi-ark)

The next step that the teams went on to was to create prototypes of the solutions that can be tested. Some of the solutions that were proposed for the museum were: A digital tool that helped create treasure hunts to engage students and building intuitive interfaces that could help artisans make handicrafts.

The course ends with final presentations and reports which capture the entire journey of students and give them practice in designing digital products. The partners also benefit immensely from the course since the students are a great source of fresh ideas, and come up with multiple points of view. The final reports from the course provide valuable insight into the problems faced by the company. The prototypes built by the students can be iterated upon by the partners to build final working solutions. Additionally, in working with the students over an extended period of time the partners can easily hire new talent directly.

Working with ERM this semester has been a great pleasure. The organization has been approachable and open to new ideas. We hope that this collaboration exceeded the expectations and gave actionable insights to the challenges that the museum faces.

Partner company: Pipedrive

Course: Digital Product Management Industry Project
Team: Mait, Sandra, Mario, Maria, Uko
Semester: Spring 2021

The challenge: Explore what possibilities are there to use natural language processing (NLP) technology in Pipedrive’s customer relation manager software to create additional value to their customers.

Team Pipedrive worked out a mobile friendly feature that uses NLP technology to read, interpret, categorize and react accordingly to emails.

Partner company: Arvato FS IT Services Estonia

Course: Digital Product Management Industry Project
Team: Maria, Tobechi Michael, Mariam, Emilia, Norman
Semester: Spring 2021

The challenge: Redesign an in-house spreadsheet-based software access rights system.

Team Arvato proposed a role-based solution that is intuitive and easy, includes predefined software packages, simple add/remove features and change history export options.

Partner company: SEB

Course: Digital Product Management Industry Project
Team: Elari, Katrin, Nino, Esther, Edvin
Semester: Spring 2021

The challenge: Find a way how to help its clients on the journey towards a green home.

During the course, Team SEB discovered that the biggest gap for customers was how to define a green home and the benefits it brings, for example if it is costly, or financially efficient. The team developed a solution that will address the awareness and understanding of green homes, while helping SEB’s clients make more environment friendly and financially wise decisions.

Partner company: City of Tartu

Course: Digital Product Management Industry Project
Team: Ülle, Anu, Tarmo, Laura
Semester: Spring 2021

The challenge: How to offer public services in a more accessible, personalized and convenient way for the users?

Team Tartu City created a prototype of the gateway to the city services by an example of leisure services for the elderly, that would be simple and easy to use for less tech-savvy user groups.