Sandbox offers students a set of courses that focus on Digital Product Management and Design Thinking. In Sandbox, you can acquire theoretical knowledge as well as practical skills working on real-life problems provided by our industry partners.

WHY JOIN?

Develop your digital product management skills at the master’s level

Understand the role and the importance of a product manager through real-life examples

Experience practical problem-based learning in collaboration with companies

Learn to cooperate with interdisciplinary students and grow your professional network through interactions with professional product managers

Earn credits that count towards the Practice Module or Internship in the curriculum

COURSES

Human Computer Interaction

Course code: LTAT.05.007
Amount of credits: 6 ECTS
Schedule: Autumn or Spring semester
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With computers evolving from large mammoth machines, to literally fitting in the palm of our hands, the way in which we interact with them has also changed dramatically. Going from programming with

Software Product Management

Course code: MTAT.03.325
Amount of credits: 6 ECTS
Schedule: Autumn or Spring semester
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This course introduces a range of methods for managing software products. The course covers the entire life-cycle of software products, from identifying customer needs, the validation of initial ideas, the design of

UX in Digital Products - Words and Visuals

Course code: LTAT.05.031
Amount of credits: 3 ECTS
Schedule: Autumn semester
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An introductory course to digital product creation with the main focus on linguistic and visual design. The visual design introduces graphic design and main principles in composition; linguistic design introduces the types of microcopy

Digital Product Management Industry Project (DPMIP)

Course code: LTAT.05.019
Amount of credits: 6 ECTS
Schedule: Autumn and Spring semester
Recommended: LTAT.05.007 Human Computer Interaction, MTAT.03.325 Software Product Management
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Final launch of the DPMIP course, Spring 2021

With a strong focus on industry collaboration, this project based course

Digital Product Design Introductory Project

Course code: LTAT.05.011
Amount of credits: 3 ECTS
Schedule: Autumn and/or Spring semester
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This course's focus is to give students first-hand experiences of conducting a digital product management project, understand the complexity of such projects and prepare them for a real-life experience.

On successful

Digital Product Management Seminar

Course code: LTAT.05.022
Amount of credits: 3+3 ECTS
Schedule: Autumn and/or Spring semester
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Ever wondered what goes into building and managing great digital products? This course is designed to answer just that with a focus on examples from different companies and research papers.

Professional Self-Development Seminar

Course code: LTAT.05.030
Amount of credits: 2 ECTS (Autumn) + 1 ECTS (Spring)
Schedule: Autumn and Spring semester
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The objective of the course is to support students participating in the Sandbox Programme and provide the necessary abilities for them to complete it. A student that has

Creative Principles of Design Thinking

Course code: LTAT.05.029
Amount of credits: 3 ECTS
Schedule: Autumn and Spring semester
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The course aims to introduce the basic principles of design thinking to apply creative and imaginative methods to point towards future solutions in different fields.

Design thinking offers an opportunity to experience,

HOW MUCH DO YOU KNOW ABOUT DIGITAL PRODUCT MANAGEMENT?

N o t much! Quite much! H o w much do y ou w a n t to kn o w about digital p r oduct manageme n t? H o w much mo r e do y ou w a n t to lear n ? I w a n t to decide wh e the r it s i n te r e s ting f o r me I w a n t to learn mo r e ad v anced things I w a n t to put m y skills i n to p r actise I w a n t to acqui r e s o ft skills E v erything! Digital P r oduct Design I n t r oductor y P r oject L TA T . 0 5 . 011 S o ft w a r e P r oduct Manageme n t M TA T . 03.325 & Human Compute r I n te r action L TA T . 0 5 . 007 Digital P r oduct Manageme n t Semina r L TA T . 0 5 . 022 U X in Digital P r oducts - W o r ds and Visuals L TA T . 0 5 . 0 3 1 Digital P r oduct Manageme n t Indu s tr y P r oject L TA T . 0 5 . 019 P ro f essional Sel f - D ev elopme n t Semina r L TA T . 0 5 . 030 C r e a ti v e Principles o f Design T hinking L TA T . 0 5 . 029

COMPLETED PROJECTS SHOWCASE

Partner Company: Autonomous Driving Lab and Bolt

Course: Digital Product Management Industry Project
Semester: Autumn 2023

Another semester of the Digital Product Management Industry Project has been successfully concluded. In this industry collaboration-focused course, the participating students are tasked with producing high-fidelity prototypes that could solve the problem statements provided by the industry partner. This time around, the course had five teams that all tackled problem statements from Bolt and the Autonomous Driving Lab here at the Institute of Computer Science.

Digital Product Management Industry Project is a unique course in the Institute of Computer Science. It teaches the students WHY they should solve some problem instead of jumping directly to HOW they should solve it. Most of the courses focus on methods and algorithms, but before that, you need to be sure you are solving the right problem. We got many imaginative ideas from students on how different customers would use robo-taxis in the future, and these guide our vision for the autonomous vehicles of tomorrow.
— Tambet Matiisen, head of the Autonomous Driving Lab

The challenge
Autonomous driving technologies are making steady progress, and you can already hire a completely driverless taxi on the streets of San Francisco. As the technology matures, more focus goes to the user experience of actually using services built with those technologies. We want to understand the crucial differences in user experience when using a human-driven taxi or driverless taxi. In particular, we are interested in some of the weaknesses of driverless vehicles that can be overcome by altering the way users interact with them.

Process and solutions
The participating students hailed from various Master’s Programmes: Computer Science, Conversion Master in IT, Software Engineering, Innovation and Technology Management, and Data Science. Such a diverse group of students brought many different skill sets, experiences, and perspectives to the table. They had the following five user groups, or Personas, to focus on:

- Families with children
- Elders and people needing medical transport
- Tourists visiting new cities
- Tourists handling oversized luggage
- The business travellers

Each team, consisted of 3-4 students, dedicated an entire semester to focusing on a specific Persona. This approach allowed teams to cultivate a profound sense of empathy for their Persona, and create a solution tailored to chosen Persona.

Family Team's Personas — mother Laura and her daugther Mia

Throughout the semester, students diligently adhered to a structured progression of steps:

  1. Introduction, Process Overview, and Methods. The semester kicked off with a comprehensive introduction, providing students with an overview of the processes and methodologies they would be employing.
  2. Partner Problem Statements; Team Formation. Students delved into partner problem statements, forming teams that would collaboratively tackle these real-world challenges.
  3. Problem, Market & User Research. The teams engaged in extensive research, exploring the problem landscape, market dynamics, and understanding the needs of their target users.
  4. Product Vision: Design Opportunities. With insights gathered, students defined a compelling product vision, identifying design opportunities to address the identified challenges effectively.
  5. Ideation & Solution Sketching. This creative phase involved brainstorming and sketching potential solutions, fostering innovation and diverse perspectives within the teams.
  6. Prototyping. Students translated their ideas into tangible form through prototyping, developing both application interfaces and in-car displays.
  7. User Testing and Iterating 1. The initial user testing phase allowed students to gather valuable feedback, leading to iterative improvements in their prototypes.
  8. User Testing and Iterating 2. Building upon the initial feedback, students conducted further user testing and made additional iterations to enhance the usability and effectiveness of their solutions.
  9. Final Presentations. The semester concluded with students showcasing their journey and presenting the final versions of their solutions, reflecting the culmination of their efforts and the valuable lessons learned.

Navigating through complexities and uncertainties, students encountered diverse obstacles that tested their problem-solving skills and resilience. The journey, though demanding, proved transformative as it equipped them with a robust understanding of the intricacies involved in designing and managing digital products.

The project showed the importance of flexibility and resilience. I discovered the importance of a backup plan and being prepared to take the initiative when faced with unexpected roadblocks. This project was a profound learning curve, both professionally and personally. It wasn't just about developing a product but crafting a service that genuinely resonates with users' needs. I am thankful for the opportunity and look forward to leveraging these insights.
— Alicia Sudlerd, student of Elderly Team

Moreover, this time, the Industry Project course also had a guest lecture by Prof. Kuldar Taveter, Head of Chair of Software Engineering at the Institute of Computer Science, titled “Emotional Goals for Travelers in Autonomous Vehicles.” Professor Taveter walked students through the Do-Be-Feel method, allowing them to build deeper connections with their Personas.

Do-Be-Feel Workshop conducted by Prof. Kuldar Taveter

In the end, students delivered high-fidelity prototypes tailored to their Personas. For instance, the Family Team developed a two-sided prototype with entertainment features for the child and additional safety measures for the parent. The Elderly Team took into account the Persona's potential discomfort with new technologies, ensuring sufficient support and addressing medical needs. Meanwhile, the Business Traveler team innovated with "The Moving Office," a solution allowing business professionals to maximize productivity seamlessly.

Sneak peak at Family Team's prototype
Sneak peak at Business Traveler Team's prototype

The Regular Tourist Team devised a solution enabling tourists to effortlessly plan their day in a new city, eliminating the need to engage with strangers or navigate unfamiliar roads. Finally, the fifth team, the Tourist with Luggage Team, developed a solution to assist travellers with oversized luggage in swiftly and easily securing a taxi, alleviating the stress of uncertainties about whether their belongings will fit.

Sneak peak at Tourist with Luggage Team's presentation

Furthermore, students not only created prototypes for applications but also developed prototypes for in-car displays, aiming to consider the entire surroundings of the rider.

Therefore, the collaboration between Sandbox and Autonomous Driving Lab proved highly fruitful. Working hand in hand, we navigated challenges and harnessed collective strengths to create solutions that hold significant potential. We at Sandbox are hopeful that in the future, all users can enjoy smooth, safe, and comfortable rides in Bolt's self-driving taxis! 🚕

Partner Company: Triumf Health

Course: Digital Product Management Industry Project
Team Triumf Health: Liina Aru (Conversion Master in IT), Kadri Koit (Conversion Master in IT), Araz Heydarov (Master's in Computer Science), Gulnar Mammadli (Master's in Computer Science)
Semester: Spring 2023

The challenge
Triumf Health has created the Triumfland Saga mobile health game for children to improve their mental health and wellbeing. This age-appropriate adventure game is for building resilience in a fun and engaging way – it’s methodology is backed by science and it helps build measurable skillset to navigate through feelings and emotions. The game is personalized and made accessible for everyone, whenever children may need it. Triumfland Saga wellbeing game for children aged 7-12 has been selected as the best technology in the world for health and wellbeing. While the methodology is highly accepted by children globally, adults are making the decisions on behalf of children and they often choose to deal with consequences rather than focus on prevention and promotion that Triumfland Saga offers. We must change this and here is where this project comes to play!

Process and solution
Throughout the course, the Triumf Health team effectively utilized various approaches and resources from Design Thinking and Digital Product Management. During user research, they created Empathy Maps for a parent, a teacher, and a therapist. Moreover, the Triumf Health team carefully crafted — based on interviews — a user persona named Teele Maasikas, a 37-year-old accountant and mother of two residing in Tallinn. By doing so, the team was able to identify and understand the primary challenges and pain points of their persona. The team constructed a user journey and determined that a crucial "How might we" (HMW) question should revolve around effectively communicating the advantages of mental health problem prevention to parents — "HMW convey to parents the benefits of mental health problem prevention?" Among numerous generated ideas, the team highlighted the development of a progress dashboard, to-do lists of the activities, a community for parents, and providing online assistance from psychologists. After several rounds of user testing, the team delivered a final prototype that included these ideas.

Sneak peak at Triumf Health Team's presentation
Partner Company: Nõo Lihatööstus

Course: Digital Product Management Industry Project
Team Nõo Lihatööstus: Lichettey Aavik, Pirgit Pajoma, Pille Neider-Kuusalu, and Lauri Ütsik (Conversion Master in IT students)
Semester: Spring 2023

Team Nõo Lihatööstus

The challenge
Nõo Lihatööstus transports their products to clients using various plastic boxes. Once the delivery is made, clients are expected to return the empty boxes. Unfortunately, a significant number of boxes are being misplaced during this process. Nõo Lihatööstus is seeking a digital solution that can effectively monitor and keep track of the quantity of the boxes returned by each individual client.

Process and solution
During the course, the Nõo Lihatööstus team proactively utilized various methodologies and tools of Design Thinking and Digital Product Management. The workflow encompassed several sequential stages: pain-point identification, user research, idea generation, prototype development, and usability testing. As an integral part of this process, the team thoroughly examined and visualized the journey of the boxes. They pinpointed the key stakeholders involved and conducted interviews with truck drivers, logistic center personnel, and high-level management from Nõo Lihatööstus.

The team successfully identified Design Aspects and Design Opportunities related to the challenge. They formulated various How Might We (HMW) questions, and following their research, they pinpointed a crucial HMW question: HMW design a solution to make the entire journey of the transport boxes fully traceable? Employing diverse ideation techniques like Crazy 8 and Mash Up, the team generated numerous solutions for this key design opportunity. Some of the proposed solutions included an Automated System for box transportation, RFID scanners, and a Personal responsibility system.

Ultimately, the Nõo Lihatööstus team successfully created a high-fidelity prototype of a mobile app designed to facilitate truckers in tracking the number of boxes returned at each location. Through multiple rounds of usability testing, the team diligently identified and addressed numerous minor issues, greatly enhancing the convenience and user-friendliness of their solution.

Sneak peek at Nõo Lihatööstus team's usability testing results
Partner Company: City of Tartu

Course: Digital Product Management Industry Project
Team Tartu City: Veronika Moskalenko, Oleksandr Hranat, Erdem Güngör (Master's in Innovation and Technology Management students), and Gunay Hajizada (Master's in Quantitative Economics)
Semester: Spring 2023

The challenge
Tartu possesses exceptional prerequisites that position the city as a potential international test and development center for novel technologies. These prerequisites include:

  1. Open, flexible, and inclusive municipal governance.
  2. High-level research capacity offered by universities.
  3. Well-established business incubation environments like Tartu Science Park and Tartu Centre for Creative Industries.
  4. A vibrant and active start-up community.
  5. A top-notch education system.
  6. Convenient and accessible e-services.
  7. Expanding the availability of open data covering various aspects of urban life.
  8. An airport that enhances connectivity.
  9. Well-developed public transport connections.
  10. A safe and inspiring urban environment.

However, despite the presence of these excellent prerequisites, they currently exist in a fragmented manner. The untapped potential to attract both domestic and international entrepreneurs to Tartu is apparent.

Therefore, we are seeking an informative, convenient, and digital solution that can integrate all the aforementioned prerequisites into a single development service. By doing so, we intend to effectively market this service both domestically and internationally, showcasing Tartu's strengths and enticing entrepreneurs to explore the opportunities it presents.

Tartu City Team - champions of the Marshmallow Challenge

Process and solution
Throughout the course, the Tartu City team actively employed a range of methodologies and tools from Design Thinking and Digital Product Management. The process involved a series of steps, starting with issue identification, followed by user research, idea generation, prototype development, and concluding with user testing.

As part of this process, they carefully crafted two personas based on interview insights. The first persona is Kati Verskii, an aspiring entrepreneur interested in launching her own business in Estonia. The second persona is Andres Kivimägi, the Head of the Research and Development unit at a prominent technology company based in Germany. The team then proceeded to construct user journeys specifically tailored to these two personas, mapping out their existing interactions and experiences. Additionally, the team dedicated efforts to creating Empathy maps and providing a Value Proposition Canvas.

Tartu City Team's User Research

Following extensive research and multiple rounds of developing "How Might We" questions, the team identified several design opportunities. Ultimately, they narrowed down their focus to the following question: HMW create a digital, and easily accessible platform that combines all useful information and resources for startups, companies, researchers, investors and other target groups?

Following multiple rounds of user testing, the ultimate iteration of the website consists of distinct sections tailored to Startups, Researchers, Students, Investors, and Companies. The platform showcases crucial information and consolidates essential links, providing users with a centralized information hub. The website also features information about Tartu projects and the main facts about Tartu. Furthermore, it offers insights into Tartu's life and culture.

Partner Company: The Estonian Health Board

Course: Digital Product Management Industry Project
Team Health Board: Katrin Põldsepp and Maris Palgi (Conversion Master in IT students), Merey Beisembayev and Toghrul Pashabayli (Master's in Innovation and Technology Management students)
Semester: Spring 2023

The challenge
The Estonian Health Board, or Terviseamet, is a governmental agency under the Ministry of Social Affairs responsible for healthcare, health protection, environmental health, chemical safety, and medical device safety in Estonia. They also provide chargeable laboratory services for assessing water quality. Terviseamet has received more user feedback that environmental health data is not conveniently available to citizens, research institutions, companies, or other state institutions. The data is scattered across different sections of the Terviseamet website as well as various other government websites and news outlets, posing difficulties in locating the necessary information. Despite the surge in public concern over health and well-being, the current Terviseamet website needs help to provide an efficient, user-friendly, and interactive platform for various stakeholders to conveniently access environmental health data for personal awareness and research purposes.

On the other hand, business clients that have to report and cooperate with Terviseamet experience time-consuming and error-prone manual data entry process that causes delays in data availability. Furthermore, organizations dealing with radio frequencies and water management have expressed the need for an updated and modernized data collection system.

Process and solution

The Health Board team started with a thorough investigation of the different sections of the Terviseamet webpage to better understand the current situation with negative user feedback. Moreover, they identified and interviewed the main stakeholders: Citizens, Water management operators, Mobile Operators, and The Terviseamet team. Afterward, the team developed several personas and a user journey for a citizen.

After several rounds of How Might We questions and different ideation techniques, the Health Board team formulated the problem with one sentence, "finding information about environmental health," focused on the target group (citizens), and set up the goal to design a user-friendly webpage with up-to-date data and other features.

Ultimately, the Health Board team suggested a possible redesign of the current website to make it more interactive, user-friendly, and integrated with all the background business-related processes. Moreover, the team developed Business Process Map for both water quality and mobile operator sides. Maps included pointers for improving the speed of internal business processes that slow down data entry and collection.

Sneak peek at The Health Board team's prototype
Partner company: Centre for Ethics

Course: Digital Product Management Industry Project
Team Ethics: Aro Kivisild (Conversion Master in IT), Ojus Virendra Tudavekar (Master's in Software Engineering), Deepika Uttam Sambrekar (Master's in Software Engineering)
Semester: Autumn 2022

The challenge
The Centre for Ethics of the University of Tartu presented the challenge of digitizing the board game “Estonians 100 choices”. This game was created under a nationwide initiative, “Value Development in Estonian Society”. The game focuses on helping the players reflect on the causes of moral disagreements and the foundations of their own ethical positions. The development of four dilemma-based values games has resulted in board game versions of the game.

However, the high cost of a printed game has proved to be a constraint on development. Moreover, the printing involves a large amount of environmentally unsustainable material, and the printed version is too heavy. Therefore, the main challenge for Team Ethics was to digitize the game in order to avoid the high cost of printing and to reach a wider audience, keeping in mind the importance of game values.

The physical copy of "Eesti Rahva Sada Valikut" game. Sandbox students can try it out ;)

Process and solution
During the process, team Ethics conducted Stakeholder mapping, filled in a Value Proposition Canvas, developed Persona and User Journey, and identified Design Aspects and Design Opportunities for the challenge. The team came up with four How Might We questions and, after the research, highlighted a key HMW: HMW make the game more engaging to play in a digital environment?

Using various ideation techniques, such as Crazy 8 and Mash Up, the team came up with multiple solutions for the key design opportunity. Their final product prototype includes several scenarios, two main rounds and one bonus round of the game, a leaderboard, and the player's moral compass. Team Ethics hopes their work is one of the stepping stones for building a strong community of "Estonians 100 choices" players.

Sneak peek at Ethics team's user testing process
Sneak peek at Ethics team's product prototype
Partner company: Foxway

Course: Digital Product Management Industry Project
Team Foxway: Abhishek Giri (Master’s in Quantitative Economics), Siritorn Ploychareon (Master’s in Innovation & Technology), Marc Sahuguet (Master’s in Computer Science)
Semester: Autumn 2022

Foxway Team with a Foxway's representative, Marek Rüütli

The challenge
Foxway Recommerce has sustainability and a circular economy at the core of its business model. The company takes care of the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th lifecycles of electronic devices. To make the buyback of devices as easy as possible for the customers, Foxway is developing an online buyback channel.

As any ambitious endeavour usually does, the development of the online buyback channel presents several challenges. Customers have to provide functional information and grade the cosmetic conditions of the devices.
How to make sure that customers provide accurate information about devices? How to eliminate the subjectivity of the assessment? Especially when it comes to the cosmetic conditions of the device.
How to ensure the whole process is as smooth as possible for the customer?

Process and solution
During the course, team Foxway applied various techniques and tools from Design Thinking and Digital Product Management in order to discover problems, conduct user research, brainstorm ideas, develop prototypes, and conduct user testing.

After thorough research, the team highlighted several design opportunities and decided to focus on the following question: How Might We build trust and value for end users?

The final Foxway team's prototype is designed to facilitate semi-automated devices' price evaluation. To complete the evaluation process, users must follow four simple instructions: opening settings, pressing buttons, taking photos, and testing the touchscreen. Considering user research findings, the final application provides information about the amount of potentially saved CO2 emissions alongside the estimated quote price. Moreover, the final prototype offers a user the option to get paid and instructs how to send mobile devices to Foxway.

Sneak peek at Foxway team's ideation process via Mash Up technique
Picture contains three screenshots: first - start screen of prototype, second - price estimation of the device, third - "drope the phone at Omnova parcel"
Sneak peek at Foxway team's product prototype
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.