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The Kellogg Design Challenge is the largest MBA product design case competition, and 2020's challenge was sponsored by Exelon.

I worked in the role of design strategist with teammates from Kellogg including a sustainability operations manager, a management consultant, a CFA, and a petroleum engineer.

Our team chose to design a solution that was focused on energy management and demand response for the small business market.


the prompt

How might Exelon engage with energy customers in urban areas to reduce demand when the grid is overwhelmed?

our solution

We can leverage community bonds and social norming in the energy ecosystem to motivate small and medium businesses to reduce their demand and redistribute energy when the grid is overwhelmed.

research process

Industry expert and customer interviews

We interviewed stakeholders from across the energy generation and consumption value chain to understand what activities most overwhelm the grid and who has the most to lose from potential blackouts.


I led the discussions with small businesses and neighborhood associations to uncover what would motivate this segment to change their behaviors around energy consumption.

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market segmentation and targeting

I came up with the framework to segment the potential participants in the market based on their behaviors rather than their demographics.

Key insight: nobody wants to lose power, but the severity of power loss consequences varies wildly across different businesses. Our solution would need to draw attention to key differences before everyone would recognize the best role for them to play.

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Inspiration-seeking and brainstorming

We collaborated virtually via miro to brainstorm. I organized our ideation session to pool all of our insights focused on the biggest pain points, most motivated stakeholders, and highest potential for results.


We sought inspiration from benchmarks outside of the energy industry including the Alex platform for explaining human resource benefits and Yelp window stickers and awards.

We decided to
build an online platform that would empower small businesses to create a customized energy response plan and motivate them to do so using social norming, community partnerships, and rewards system.

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an issue tree to organize around an overarching goal
some art to de-intimidate a complex value chain
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organizing five brains' thoughts on pain points



I tested out a prototype's ease of use by watching a small business office manager walk through the full product usage journey. This was particularly to test if the flow of the product made sense and what messages and incentives were most motivating.

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Our solution was Zap, an online portal that engages small businesses to prevent potential blackouts through engagement, commitment, action, and reward.

Our team advanced to the semifinals of the Kellogg Design Challenge where we presented our research and solution.

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