In this article Startup Soda sits down with Andrèz to learn more about Knowlly, an online platform that connects you with solar suppliers that suit your home and lifestyle, and why customer experience and human centered design are critical to success.
Taking one step back though Andrèz highlighted how coming from a retail marketing position at Vodafone in the Netherlands allowed her to discover her passion for customer experience and human centered design. In particular Andrèz remarked that “taking the user as the starting point you are designing for, understanding what drives them, what their needs are and how that translates into a meaningful and long lasting experience” is both challenging and rewarding.
Andrèz role at Vodafone led her to Australia four and a half years ago, where after a further two years at Vodafone she went on to work as a service design and innovation consultant for leading brands and organisations including Qantas, Transport NSW, a project for the UN in collaboration with the Bank of South Pacific and TEDxSydney.
While each of these roles had their unique challenges they all required focused on “solving problems for people to have a positive and durable impact on their lives and society” according to Andrèz.
This provided the impetus for Andrèz to apply for the SheStarts Accelerator program. For a long period of time Andrèz “wanted to have an impact in an industry that was currently falling behind in meeting people their needs”. And the industry that Andrèz felt matched that criteria was the renewable energy sector. In particular, Andrèz stated that she saw the “disconnect in the renewables industry between the rapid growth in technology”. This is largely due to the “complexities for users to understand and figure out what it is they need, how they would go about it and who to go to” according to Andrèz.
Solar is definitely a solution of the future but currently delivered in a way as if we are living in the past.
As a result Knowlly was born with the goal to use tech as an enabler that helps simplify what it is that people need to know and that then help to guide them through that total end to end process. Andrèz went on to state that “at the moment there are a lot of parties involved in going solar and it is up to the user to make sure they keep track on everything that needs to happen, which is hard because most people don’t know and don’t understand what the entire process entails.”
Building on her background in innovation and human centred design Andrèz started their first product development sprint with research to understand the experience of residential homeowners who went through the solar process and also households who had started to look into it but had stopped for different reasons.
Following this the team behind Knowlly then looked at what the biggest insights were that could help us in creating a tech solution and the biggest thing that came out was education and guidance. In particular, “how can we create a platform, a companion that educates and guides the customer independently?”.
This led to a few ideas being investigated before landing on the concept that is now Knowlly. Essentially, Knowlly believes that every home is unique. Therefore they analyse your house and lifestyle situation so that you end up with solar that’s best fit for you. From there they present you with a list of committed and trusted solar suppliers, help you compare their service and connect you with the one’s you prefer.
In rounding out our interview Andrèz also spoke about the power of the SheStarts accelerator program stating that “the SheStarts accelerator is an amazing opportunity to learn and do a lot in a fairly short amount of time. It comes with this fantastic ecosystem of advisors, partners and super skillful people all really willing to help you create a successful business.”
Not only that but the SheStarts accelerator program fosters innovation and a desire to aim high, as Andrèz highlighted by stating that the “environment has inspired me to keep pushing and keep aspiring for those big dreams of change and to turn them into a reality.”
With SheStarts showing Andrèz that she is “capable of being a disruptor by doing what I believe in and giving it my all” she has now moved beyond validating their initial prototype and is focusing on an in depth study with several customers to provide them a concierge service. This way we really get to understand what is currently lacking in how customers need to be guided through this journey and how we can translate that back in to a digital interface. After this phase Knowlly will be ready to launch their product and bring it to market.
You can learn more about Knowlly on their website.