From brainstorming to product development – Week 41

This week our project switched from the brainstorming phase to the product development phase. We had one group meeting this week to ensure that everyone was on the same page (as not all of us were present in the last meeting, when we met with our advisor) and to plan the next tasks, that start the product development phase.

photo_2017-10-15_21-11-51

During the meeting we decided that for the product development phase we will not only analyse the market formed by VR and its competitors, we will also produce an interactive computer model. This model would demonstrate some routes in Finland where trains, lorries, planes, etc. operate and compare for example travel times, costs and quality of service. The model would support our general analysis and conclusions about the market.

We also planned the concrete tasks that we have to do next and divided them among ourselves:

  • Valtteri updates our product plan, so that it will include our youngest decisions.
  • Jani, Jaakko and Nikke will produce a plan on how we will be analysing the current market situation of VR and its competitors.
  • Aaro writes the next blog (this one).
  • Yi writes a summary of the problem we want to solve and the users of our solution (This week’s blog task).
  • Mikko does a rough model of the computer model, that shows how the computer model could work and what it will contain.

 

The main points of the plan (rautalankamalli) on how we will analyse the current market situation of VR are represented on the following picture:

Untitled

Below is a short explanation and a picture (rautalankamalli) of how our computer model could work in finnish.

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Järjestys: ALKU -> VALINTA -> VERTAILU
Johdannoksi (ei kuvaa):
Ajatuksenamme on tehdä projektin ohessa jonkinlainen malli, kuinka rautatie, autot ja lentokoneet vertautuvat toisiinsa kaukoliikenteessä. Emme vielä ole kovin varmoja sen tarkasta toteutuksesta, mutta tässä on muutama kuva, millainen se voisi olla.
ALKU:
Mallin käyttöliittymässä on Suomen kartta ja laatikot lähtö- ja määränpääkaupungeille. Kaupunkien määrästä ei ole vielä varmuutta, mutta esimerkiksi kartalla on muutama kaupunki.
VALINTA:
Laatikoista valitaan haluttu lähtö- ja määränpääkaupungit. Tavoite on, että kaikki reitit eri kaupunkien välillä toimivat. Vähimmäistavoitteena on kuitenkin se, että Helsingistä on mahdollisuus saada reitti kaikkiin muihin kaupunkeihin. Jos tällöin valitaan joku toinen lähtökaupunki, muuttuu määränpää kaupungit saatavuuden mukaan (vähintään Helsinki).
VERTAILU:
Kun kaupungit on valittu ja nappia painettu, ilmestyy kartalle valintoja kuvaavat merkit oikeiden kaupunkien kohdalle ja näiden väliin toivottavasti saadaan piirettyä oikeaa matkaa seuraava reitti. Oikealla puolella näkyy yleistietoa matkasta, kuten pituus, hintavertailu, päästövertailu ja aikavertailu.

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Rough model of our computermodel:

SCI-Projekti_Rautalankamalli_ALKU

ALKU

SCI-Projekti_Rautalankamalli_VALINTA

VALINTA

SCI-Projekti_Rautalankamalli_VERTAILU

VERTAILU

 

And lastly, here is a short summary to clarify the key points of our project:

  • What is the problem that our group is solving?

We need to find out whether VR is competing regardless of the fact that it is the only railway company in Finland.

  • How does the user experience the problem?

The user, which is the general public, sees that VR doesn’t have competition yet which is why the railway industry should be exposed to the competition by bringing other railway companies to the market.

  • Our value proposition.

We will provide a model combined with qualitative analysis to give an insight into the true nature of VR’s current competition state.

Tilaisuusturnaus

Edellisviikolla pohdimme, VR:n kilpailua ja erityisesti sen “näkymättömiä” kilpailijoita. Jaoimme tässä kilpailijat kolmeen eri osa-alueeseen. Osa-alueet ja niissä olevat kilpailijat on alempana taulukossa.

 

 

Lähiliikenne

-Yksityisautot

-Bussit

-Metro

-Ratikat

-Taxit (Uber ym.)

-Pyörät/Kävely

 

Kaukoliikenne

-Lentokoneet

-Yksityisautot

-Bussit

-Helikopterit

-Taxit

-Laivat

Tavarankuljetus

-Rekat/Pakettiautot

-Laivat

-Lentokoneet

-Toinen junafirma

-Taxi/Yksityisautot

 

Ensimmäisellä kierroksella hylkäsimme ne ketkä selkeimmin eivät olleet suurimpia kilpailijoita. Tämä ensimmäinen kierros oli melko nopeasti mietitty. Kaukoliikenteessä helikopterista kukaan ei uskonut, että sillä on mitään suurta markkinaosuutta. Tavarankuljetuksessa taxit ja yksityisautoilu on myös vähäisiä kilpailijoita, koska niillä ei ole tarkoituskaan kuljettaa samoja määriä tavaroita. Lähiliikenteestä hylkäsimme ratikat ja pyöräily/kävelyn. Ratikat saivat lähteä, koska ne toimivat helsingin sisäisessä liikenteessä, kun taas lähijunat ovat tärkeämmässä asemassa koko pääkaupunkiseudun liikenteessä. Paljolti sama kysymys oli pyörien ja kävelemisen jättämisessä, niitä käytetään lyhyillä matkoilla, missä junat eivät muutenkaan toimi.

 

Lähiliikenne

-Yksityisautot

-Bussit

-Metro

-Taxit (Uber ym.)

 

Kaukoliikenne

-Lentokoneet

-Yksityisautot

-Bussit

-Taxit

-Laivat

Tavarankuljetus

-Rekat/Pakettiautot

-Laivat

-Lentokoneet

-Toinen junafirma

 

Seuraavalla kierroksella olimme vähän tarkempia ja muotoilimme kysymykset myös tarkemmin, minkä perusteella jätimme kilpailijoita pois. Kilpaileeko junat ja <kilpailija> samalla tontilla? Onko kilpailijalla riittävän suuri markkinaosuus. Käsittelimme siis melko samoja asioita, kuin ensimmäisellä kierroksella, mutta formaalimmin. Lähiliikenteestä jätimme pois metron ja taxit. Metro oli jäänyt sinne, koska länsimetron valmistuessa se olisi merkittävä kilpailija junille Espooseen päin. Ongelma on siinä, että se ei ole valmis ja vaikka se olisi valmistunut ei siitä olisi kertynyt tarpeeksi dataa analyysiämme varten. Taxien koimme olevan niin pienessä asemassa, että niistä ei ole syytä välittää. Kaukoliikenteessä jätimme pois taxit ja laivat. Taxeissa oli sama ajatus, kuin lähiliikenteessä: niiden markkinaosuus on pieni. Laiva voisi olla merkittävä kilpailija, mutta se ei toimi suomen sisäisessä liikenteessä ja rannikkokaupunkienkin välillä junayhteys on todennäköisesti parempi. Tavarankuljetuksessa olimme kuulleet toisesta junafirmasta, mutta toistaisesksi sen markkinaosuus on liian pieni pohdittavaksi. Lentokoneet jätimme pois, koska vaikka kaukoliikenteessä pohjoiseen lentolippu on halvempi kuin junalippu emme kokeneet saman koskevan tavaraliikennettä, joka on säännöllisempää. Tavaraliikenteessä junilla on myös määrä etu. Alla taulukossa “voittajamme”, joiden tutkimiseen pääosin paneudumme.

 

 

Lähiliikenne

-Yksityisautot

-Bussit

 

 

Kaukoliikenne

-Lentokoneet

-Yksityisautot

-Bussit

Tavarankuljetus

-Rekat/Pakettiautot

Blog for week 40

This week we had two meetings and our agenda was to make a project plan, complete the opportunity tournament and most importantly meet our instructor Raphael Giesecke.

In the first meeting we went through our ideas which came from our brainstorming last week. The ideas helped to form a better understanding of the competition configuration of VR. Assessing the ideas was the basis for the opportunity tournament.

IMG_6812

The next step was to list the methods and the sources for the data collection. We thought that the company annual reports and the reports from government agencies could be our main data collection sources. In terms of analyzing the data, we could use different frameworks or alternatively we could establish a computer simulation of the competition. However, due to limited resources and time, we should carefully decide whether we program a simulation and how broad the simulation should be.

We also discussed the content that we will put to our project plan. First, our starting point was to bust the actual myth that VR doesn’t have any competitors. Second, we defined the client or user for our project and we ended up that our project should serve the general public. Third, we considered the scope and the goals of our project. The scope was still unclear because at the moment we haven’t met our instructor yet but our goal was quite clear that we wanted to increase the general awareness of the fact that VR still might have those “invisible” competitors. In addition, we wanted to make our project human-oriented using the scientific methods. Last but not least we discussed the scheduling of our project and the roles of the project. Three different roles were formed:

Project manager: Responsible for the project progress.

Communications manager: Responsible for the external messaging in our project.

Blog Master: This role changes every week and basically blog master is responsible to write the general points for the blog.

In the end of the first meeting we listed the tasks that we should complete during the 8 weeks period. There were three milestones in the tasks list: project scope, data collection and analysis & conclusion.

In the second meeting we met our instructor. Four different points came up in the meeting. First, we should be aware that the topic is topical at the moment. Second, we should know who is the actual client for our project. For example, are we acting as consultants or something else. Third, we should consider what is the outcome of our project. Is it a report or does it have any concrete results e.g. a computer simulation. The last point was to consider the data availability for the project.

 

VR

Blog for week 39

 

kuva

This week we had three group meetings in total.

On Monday our group met up for the first time. During the meeting we discussed some general things about the course and our project. We also opened this blog to provide insight on how our project advances, and posted the first post.

The longest and the most important meeting of the week was held on Wednesday. The meeting can be divided into three parts: First we tried to come to a conclusion about what the main problem is that we want to solve during the project. Then we listed all of the competitors of VR at the moment. Lastly we thought together, what information do we need to collect to tackle the problem, and where and how do we collect it.

In the first part of the meeting we came to the conclusion that we will be indeed busting the “myth”, that VR is a monopoly, thus having no competition, which we already posted on the last week’s post. This led us to think about what competition does VR currently have.

We proceeded to list all the means of transport that compete with trains in passenger and goods transport, both in short-distance traffic and long-distance traffic. For this we used a brainstorming tool called “Group memory” that we learned in the second lecture of the course. This meant that we gathered all the competitors on a TV screen, so that everyone could easily follow which competitors were already discussed.

In the last part of Wednesday’s meeting we used the ME-WE-US method to gather ideas about what, where and how do we collect data from VR and it’s competitors. First everyone wrote their own ideas on a piece of paper and then one after another everyone presented their ideas. This was done to make sure, that everyone’s ideas will be heard. In addition, it made it possible to use divergent and convergent thinking, as first everyone presented new and creative ideas and then we critically evaluated them together.

Uncertainty Horizon Map

Uncertainty Horizon Map

 

The last group meeting of the week, which was on Friday, was dedicated for the planning of the first presentation, that will take place on monday the 2nd of October. We produced a short PowerPoint presentation during the meeting that introduces our projects topic. On Friday we also contacted our Substance advisor to arrange a meeting with him and get more advice.All in all, we managed to do many things this week. We have all met each other now, we have started a group chat and opened up a cloud storage for file sharing. These enable us to easily communicate and share

All in all, we managed to do many things this week. We have all met each other now, we have started a group chat and opened up a cloud storage for file sharing. These enable us to easily communicate and share information, and facilitate the progress of our project during the next weeks. We have also had in depth discussions about our project’s topic and how and where do we collect information. This blog was opened this week and the first introduction presentation was done.

Next we hope to meet our Substance advisor, so that we could nail down the problem that we will solve and to whom we will be providing the solution. This is especially important, since the next task for our group is to finish a project plan on how the project will advance. This week and next week of the course and project has and will be somewhat difficult to us, since our abstract topic makes it hard to plan the future of the project.

 

 

 

Our First Post

This is our blog for the SCI-project course.

“VR Group is a monopoly; it has no competitors.”

Our project is about busting the myth that the Finnish rail operator, VR Group, has no competitors.

Our goal for the project is to critically examine the competition of the Finnish rail company VR Group. VR competes in several areas, namely passengers and various freight domains. VR’s competitors include, for example, private cars, buses, aircraft regarding freight and passengers, other rail operators providing freight traffic, trucks and ships.

First, we will begin the project by analyzing the characteristics of the market with a few key questions:

  1. How many persons use VR on average per day/year?
  2. How much freight does VR transport?
  3. What are the short-term and long-term trends in the passenger and freight traffic industries?
  4. Who exactly are the VR’s competitors and how their businesses have developed compared to VR?

 

The interest groups of this project

Internal interest groups:

  • Our group members: We are responsible for the completion of the project.
  • Our instructor: He is responsible for giving feedback on our project and grading it.

External interest groups:

  • Other students on this course as well as the course staff
  • Our contact persons at VR: If needed, they can provide us with valuable insights about their competitive situation and how VR operates. In addition, they could provide us with useful data for our analysis.
  • Other sources of data, e.g.:
    • Ministry of transport and communications
    • Transport sector specialists
    • Companies that have already conducted analysis on this issue (e.g. Carnegie, Ramboll, Boston Consulting Group) (https://yle.fi/uutiset/3-9798473)