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H2O to H2Wow : Translating a Scientific Innovation into an Usable solution.

Identifying market potential and customer base for a novel ozone water technology and creating a viable product.

Overview

This project centers on translating a promising scientific discovery into a commercially viable product.  The scenario centers around Chicago-based startup Aquamox who developed a groundbreaking technology utilizing diamond-based processing to convert regular water into ozone water, a potent and environmentally friendly sanitizer. Recognizing its commercial potential, the client seeked our assistance for  innovative solutions to transition it from a lab technology to a user friendly product with market appeal.

Objective

Validate ozone cleaning technology's commercial viability through user-centered design and market research. Identify industry gaps and user pain points to inform product prototypes and strategy.

Outcome

The project validated the commercial viability of ozone cleaning technology for a newly identified consumer base, resulting in product prototypes (click to view), user research findings & insights, and a product strategy.

Client

Aquamox. Inc

Sector

Hard-tech Startup

My Contributions

Design Research and Product Development

CONTEXT

Aquamox Targets $2 Billion Disinfection and sanitation  Market with Ozone Technology

Aquamox identified a significant market opportunity in disinfection solutions, fueled by growing hygiene awareness and pandemic concerns. The global market holds immense potential, with segments like food safety exceeding $2 billion annually. Their vision is to capitalize on this demand by focusing on the food safety sector, leveraging ozone's existing 'Generally Recognized As Safe' (GRAS) status. However, comprehensive research on market size, user needs, and regulatory requirements is crucial to ensure successful market penetration and brand trust.

..the concern in camping is not about being dirt free, it about being safe. Those are different things!..

- Research Participant

Process timeline

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RESEARCH STRATEGY

Understanding how established habits shape consumer trust in new tech-enabled cleaning experiences.

In order to fully immerse ourselves before conducting primary research, it was important to first understand 3 areas to identify the unique value proposition. namely, understanding the competitive landscape, market perceptions, and the technology limitations and regulations. 

Understanding how established habits shape consumer trust in new tech-enabled cleaning experiences.

Deep dive research revealed new insights that adoption of new behaviors in cleaning is associated with those prioritizing extra caution due to health, environment, or social responsibility. This high-risk aversion segment led us to a 2x2 matrix, analyzing "risk vs. control" alongside luxury/necessity and adoption potential. This framework helped us to move beyond  residential kitchen (Aquamox initial idea) ,  towards diverse user groups—everyday cooks, moms, campers—valuing high sense of sanitation across environments, from controlled kitchens to unpredictable outdoors.

Understanding how established habits shape consumer trust in new tech-enabled cleaning experiences.

As the next phase of research, we employed a multi-method research approach. Observational studies (in kitchens provided contextual insights into cleaning routines, behaviors, and interactions.) In-depth interviews (and explored user needs and pain points). Finally, photo diary studies (visually documented how users utilize space and handle appliances, informing product design.)

Our research goals included:

  • Identifying ingrained cleaning routines and ritualistic behaviors.

  • Understanding how sanitation practices differ at home vs. away from home.

  • Examining the role of technology in existing cleaning routines.

  • Uncovering consumer perceptions of cleanliness and trust in cleaning methods.

20

3

13

2

Interviews

hours of desk research

Photo diary study

Contextual
inquiry

RESEARCH ANALYSIS

Analysing how established habits shape consumer trust in new tech-enabled cleaning experiences.

We employed a combined approach utilizing user personas to understand motivations and Jobs-to-be-Done (JTBD) to identify unmet needs and frustrations. This allowed us to pinpoint the target group with the highest potential and craft a unique value proposition that directly addresses their challenges for product development.

Droplet: A Portable Partner for Safe Water, Anywhere

Droplet is the brainchild of this research, designed specifically to address the concerns of campers.
The prototyping process evolved iteratively, incorporating feedback from both the Aquamox Team and users during testing phases. Here, we outline key features of the product and its anticipated usage by campers.

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Small Footprint, Big Impact:

Droplet features a compact and lightweight design that fits easily into any backpack or camping gear.  The sturdy casing, constructed from stainless steel or titanium, ensures durability and can withstand the rigors of outdoor adventures.

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Clean Water, Made Simple:  

Droplet uses ozone technology to effectively sanitize water within 30 seconds. This eliminates harmful bacteria and ensures safe drinking water, even from questionable sources.

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Efficiency Matters: 

Droplet's compact design and easy-to-use interface allow for effortless water sanitation, freeing up time for enjoying the outdoors. Additionally, Droplet integrates with a complimentary mobile app, offering campers further data insights

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Built to Last: 

The droplet is built with a modular design, enabling easy access for maintenance and replacement of internal components. This extends the lifespan of the product and minimizes waste compared to disposable water filters or sanitation solutions. 

How it works.

The functionality of the solution involves submerging the unit in water, initiating the generation of ozone. This ozone, produced within 30 seconds, can then be utilized for sanitation purposes initially and subsequently for safe drinking water applications.

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Take a water container

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Drop the unit in water

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Set timer

Set the water amount

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Enjoy sanitized water 

"This is such a nice product to be able to kill harmful germs and viruses in the water! This can be a nice alternative to filters. 
I didn’t know much about ozone,  it is really great to see such a cool looking product."

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“This is game-changing! I don’t have to worry about water access anymore. I can totally see myself using this. 
 
I would be more comfortable with using this if I could know how to store it in."

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The Future : A Connected Experience

The user-friendly mobile app that complements Droplet offers a glimpse into the future of connected experiences.  This app allows users to:
 

  • Monitor the Sanitation Process: Campers can remotely track the water purification cycle through the app, ensuring complete peace of mind.
     

  • Extend Functionality: Future iterations of the app may offer additional features such as localized water quality information, educational resources on safe camping practices, and even a community forum for connecting with fellow campers.

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They started from the hard part, understanding the technology and creating a vision for believable products that are not currently on the market. Product development is an intriguing process that takes perseverance; In the last week, all the work came together in your visualizations, building final prototypes, design decision making, and storytelling. It was exciting to see it happening. 

- Dr. Donato Ceres PhD. Founder and CEO of Aquamox Inc

Client Testimonial

Process highlights

Industry Analysis

Conducted comprehensive analysis of ozone products in market, trends in the space and regulations.

 

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Ethnographic research

Conducted observational ethnography, contextual inquiry, in depth interviews, and photo diary to get pain points and behavioral insights. (n=15)

 

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Opportunity ranking

Created evaluation scorecard to prioritize focus area based on consumer insights and market outlook.

 

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Design and development

Developed sketches, use-case scenarios and developed prototypes both physical and digital (app) in paper and 3D printing.

 

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Usability Testing

Conducted 2 usability test with potential customers using 3D printed prototypes for further evaluation and refinement.

 

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Branding strategy development

Developed branding collateral, packaging concepts, brochures etc, for visual merchandising.

 

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In reality how the process went!

 

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