Smart Potato

Goal: Envision what a  truly "smart" entertainment experience looks.

Our video prototype helps communicate the Smart Potato concept by focusing on the human experience, not the technology.

A team activity to map out routines at the micro and macro level.

A co-creation session with customers to help us learn about their entertainment experience of the future and their vision for a "smart" TV.

After some brainstorming sessions, and co-creation with customers, the team did some rapid storyboarding, which helped make our ideas tangible.

We used storyboards as a low-fi prototype for getting concept feedback, helping to further validate/invalidate the core aspects of the experience.

Shooting the Smart Potato video...I can now add producer and writer  to my resume!

A still from the video, showing the contextual information the Smart Potato system accounts for.

The final deliverable was a (fake) Kickstarter page, which showed not only the video, but provided details on the key themes and guiding principles of the experience.

One of the key opportunities identified in the Entertainment project was the concept of routine as the primary way that customers get to watching TV and that context of the customer’s broader life plays a crucial role in how they decide what to watch. We also recognized that while routine is a key factor, everyone’s routine and watching style is different. Therefore, how can we design an entertainment experience that is personalized to customers’ routines, understands their behavior and lives, and takes the work out of watching?

This project aimed to envision what a truly “smart” entertainment experience would look like for customers, taking a cue from Nest Thermostat, Google Now, FitBit and other smart devices that learn behavior, anticipate needs and are context-aware. Furthermore, the goal was to inspire the enterprise, by providing a point of view on what the next generation of our entertainment platform could be, providing a northstar for the product roadmap. Finally, as an internal goal, the team wanted to make a prototype in the form of an envisioning video, which we believed to be the most effective way of communicating the concept.

Having gained a lot of insight in the research phase of the Entertainment project, we dove into a variety of brainstorming sessions with the team, to define what the key use cases could be for such a system. We also held a co-creation session with customers, doing a “design the box” activity where they designed their ideal “smart” TV experience. After finding common themes, we storyboarded a number of ideas and did some concept testing/feedback at the Santa Monica Promenade. Through feedback, we refined our ideas to five key scenarios, which we turned into a script and then shot a video.

This project has been influential in a number of ways. The video has served as a way to broadly communicate a vision for the future of DIRECTV in a way that a presentation deck never could. It taps into the audience’s emotions and represents the human experience at the center this future, without focusing on the technical implementation of such an endeavor - a huge win for a company that is traditionally driven by engineering. Additionally, other teams have started to make video prototypes and concepts in the video have provided a framework for current projects.