The General Motors First Mile Incubator works with GM business partners to ideate, test, and deliver MVP solutions on the future of mobility. In just a few months, the First Mile Team launched Carzuo, a web application that offered on-demand vehicle maintenance services for Peer to Peer fleet owners. The Carzuo pilot program ran for one month and was unfortunately cancelled due to COVID-19.
Peer to Peer (P2P) car sharing is a rapidly growing industry in which a vehicle owner rents out their car to others on a short-term basis, often on applications like Turo and GetAround. Think Airbnb but for cars. GM was in the process of expanding their car-sharing service, Maven, to include P2P owners. This expansion brought to light the logistical challenges that P2P owners face: Many manage a fleet of 5 or more vehicles and are solely responsible for cleaning, maintaining, and repositioning between bookings.
Legend has it that someone somewhere along the line came up with the idea for Carzuo when they needed to borrow a snowblower. They thought “hey, wouldn’t it be a cool idea if there were an app where you could borrow various tools and equipment from your neighbors!?” Neighborly was intended to be a sharing platform where people could do just that. The idea pivoted into a broader assessment of underutilized staff and assets related to auto services, named project Omni.
Around this time, General Motors had launched their car-sharing platform, Maven, and had been exploring car-sharing/ride-sharing as growth industries.
The Project Omni lean canvas was created in a 3 hour working session. The team hypothesized a full suite of services to help ride-share and car-share owners manage their vehicles.
Project Omni founders spent a few weeks engaging in quick, unscripted, guerilla research like conversations and collecting insights. They spoke with P2P car-share owners, ride-share drivers, and average owners. Extensive research with ride-share owners illustrated they had low income, and tended to be haphazard entrepreneurs; not interested in a systemic solution. P2P car-sharing owners appeared to be making decent money, but had issues with logistics of servicing. Average owners also appeared to have issues with the logistics of car servicing (finding time when you’re a parent or professional).
GM Research (GMR) also conducted a survey that confirmed a desire for mobile maintenance by average owners.
To achieve consensus on MVP scope, we gathered 7 participants for a 3 day inception workshop.
• 2 designers
• 2 Business
• Product owner
• 2 engineers
We spent the first day reviewing existing research and generating a shared understanding of the problem space. The remainder of our time was spent participating in activities that resulted in user personas, low fidelity wireframes, and a prioritized list of MVP features.
Over the course of 3 weeks, I worked in collaboration with one of our engineers to design and develop a white label prototype to be used for research and testing. I spent the first week unpacking the problem, refining personas, creating wireframes, and user flows.
At a week long research clinic in Anaheim, CA, we tested the overall usability of our prototype and held focus groups to unpack the concept in depth.
I led key stakeholders through a two day branding workshop in Detroit, MI. The objective was to align on the overall "personality" of our brand, as well as a name for the product.
For the MVP, I designed "just enough" brand to keep us moving forward.
Carzuo was a one-stop shop for P2P vehicle owners to conveniently manage the logistics of fleet maintenance. P2P owners used the Carzuo web application to schedule valet vehicle services on demand from the comfort of their home. Users could schedule Routine Maintenance, Cleaning, Refueling, and Repositioning. A valet provider, or Runner, picked up the vehicle and took it to a local service provider to have the services performed, and returned the vehicle to a location designated by the owner.