Discovery research project 

The contents of this project are subject to NDA with 3M. Images have been blurred to protect confidentiality.

Project Overview

Skills Developed:

  • Design Strategy

  • Blue Sky Research

  • Workshop Facilitation

  • Qualitative Synthesis

  • Executive Communication

Our team examined the oral care industry to identify barriers in patients achieving lifelong health. We applied design strategy to envision a disruptive product roadmap.

During this 1.5 year-long project, I led 6 rounds of research with consumers, clinicians, and internal stakeholders to create a refined product vision.


The end result resonated with dentists and patients, generating excitement for the future of patient engagement in oral care.

This project competed in the the 2021 3M International Hackathon, where we won the award for transforming digital culture at 3M.

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Our team won the Greg Anderson Award in the 2021 3M Hackathon for sparking digital transformation.

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I helped design a workshop that included our business partners to kick off this project to help create buy in.


During this workshop, participants would go through a series of activities to help them think outside of the box and identify a potential "hypothesis" solution that solves perceived user needs.

This workshop helped us collect SME knowledge from our partners who have worked in this field for years, and helped our partners find value in thinking creatively.

During the workshop, participants started by generating their understanding of a journey map for patients, dentists, and orthodontists, highlighting pain points in the journey.

From here, participants took the pain points and brainstormed an extreme "what if" scenario- (ex: What if tomorrow dental insurance didn't exist?)

Participants then voted on which "what if" scenario they wanted to brainstorm around. Once chosen, they did idea generation to think of possible solutions to address that "what if" scenario.

Participants then sorted these brainstormed ideas into a "now - next - future" framework and connected ideas together that could grow off of each other. (Ex: next year we can make a toothpaste, in 3 years we can make smart sensing toothpaste, and in 5 years we can use that data to predict when problems will occur before they happen) **This example is fictional and representative

Participants voted on their favorite "now - next - future" combination and wrote a hypothesis statement of why they think this idea would "win" in the market. 

These ideas would later be used to spark conversation in user testing.

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After the workshop, the design team synthesized all of the brainstormed journey map events and brainstormed ideas to understand common themes

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The outputs of the workshop became concept story boards that we could test with users.

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Leading a user interview virtually

I lead a round of international contextual inquiry interviews with 8 dentists and 8 consumers to understand their experiences, habits, and perceptions around the oral care industry. These interviews included participants from 9 countries and every major region (Europe, Asia, South America, North America)

During the second half of the interview, we shared a concept story board to gauge their reaction and understand the benefits and challenges in the concept.

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Synthesis from user interviews. Insights were grouped into attitude and subject area, forming a grid of data for each participant. Insights were then compiled into a larger grid including insights from each participant in each cell. With this framework, we could understand higher-level insights and takeaways, seeing where participants were aligned in perception and where there were tensions.

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Using insights from the user interviews, our team brainstormed a holistic solution to connect patients with their oral care. This solution connected IoT, digital, and environmental components to maximize engagement.

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Visualizing the proposed user journey cycle

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Our team generated a set of user stories and prioritized them based on feasibility, desirability, and viability. 

With our prioritized user stories, we were able to dive deep and use our time to start creating a focused MVP of the holistic ecosystem.

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After prioritizing user stories, we wanted to deep dive around the most critical piece of the puzzle: patient education.

We began doing research with dentists to learn more about patient education and treatment acceptance.

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Synthesis from sprint interviews

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Synthesis from sprint interviews:

2x2 showing patterns in data

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Synthesis from sprint interviews:

Journey map overlaid with 2x2 framework to understand they relate

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Synthesis from sprint interviews:

Spectrum of user archetypes grouped into 3 affinity groups

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Synthesis from sprint interviews:

3 personas developed from research to help inform rapid design decisions

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Digital prototype resulting from research sprint

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Digital prototype resulting from research sprint

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This project is currently under review for 3M New Product Innovation prioritization.

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Winning the Greg Anderson Award in the 2021 3M Hackathon for sparking digital transformation.

"I think this is the future of dental care."-Dentist

"When can I purchase this?"-Dentist

"This will definitely improve health outcomes." -Dentist