Futur of services
for agricultural
cooperative and farmers

In the context of digital transformation, the project aimed to help the client (a major french company) to imagine what could be a living business offer for the futur of agricultural cooperatives and farmers.

This project was divided in two parts, the first one focusing on research and strategic design, looking on what could be the near futur of french agriculture with farmers at its center. The second part aimed to quickly design and test simple products.

A large amount of opportunities and pain points came out of the research. Some of them were related to the french political context and to upcoming law forcing to rethink the business. It also clearly appeared that cooperatives and their employees were key actors in the local rural life. Nevertheless lack of communication between national and local business strategy was a big break down in empowering collaboration and trust. Last but not least, farmers were the foundation but also the first victim of the business changes. In this context, as designers, ethical responsibilities were strong.

Along with a four people team, this project started with two months of field immersion and co-creation through workshops and sharing time. My role was to co-lead the project along with one of my coworker.

As we were not completely familiar with the agricultural univers, we took time to first interview a large amount of representative profiles, from the big company CEO in Paris, to the local business manager, to different farmers typologies. Based on our first understanding, we started to map out the overall system and to list our first hypothesis we wanted to look for during our research.

We then created two different research teams to be able to cover different part of France. We spent days taking picture, interviewing, talking and sharing coffee and drinks with wonderful farmers and cooperative managers. We also created workshops directly on the field with key actors to start the co-creation process, to have multiple actors on board for the project.

Doing that several times, we started to show by examples, how a design process could lead the innovation part of the company’s futur.

As we were moving forward, we strongly started to cluster and organise information. We saw from the beginning that a big part of the overall business revolve around selling product to farmers and farmer producing as much as they can. Taking the farmer as our end-user, it clearly appeared that there was a lot of other opportunities to create value (grouping, saving time, informing were part of the most obvious one).

It was clear for us at this stage that we really needed to help farmers find other value inputs and all for a limited cost. The lack of communication between national and local level also appeared to us, and revealed the need to create a link in between.

Last but not least, at this stage we truly believed, that by unpowering the farmers financially but also as key society members, it would have a snowball effect on the local market.

Building on those opportunities, we gathered a large number of key actors to a workshop, where we discussed and ideated around its.

Over those months, we kept iterating on ideas, sketched screens and service maps that we shared with our client. All of that naturally led to our final delivery.

To conclude this first part, we gathered all the ideas and opportunities collectively created, and we created short story cards that described what could be the futur of agricultural services and how the business could change for the good of farmers (and as a consequence, for the overall business and for the consumers one)

Those story helped our client to picture aspect of the business that they did not necessarily imagined before. It also had the goal to question themselves about the values and the ethics they want to carry with their company and what type of design strategy they need to do it. Therefore it helped to create a first version of a design roadmap for the company. From this road map, we could take on the second part and test with prototypes some of our ideas.

Starting this second part, we reduced the scope to really co-create and test features we thought of during the first part. A new research phase was conducted to go more in detail on behaviours and needs of farmers and agricultural cooperative. It was important to us to also directly start some co-creation and test directly with the farmers.

We worked around different pain point: First it appears that a lot of process based on paper were made difficult by the lack of visibility that it create. Second and important point, the capability to take in account the context would strongly help on an ethical point as farmers could be more precise and reactive in their choice and avoid overuse of chemical product. On an other topic we also explored how to share and collect informations on a local level.

Through multiple iterations, we created journey posters, screens, and working prototypes, that we shared and tested with farmers and cooperatives.

The working prototype was then delivered and used by an other team to develops a fully functional product.

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