At Sensonomic we use an iterative approach to product development where we through user-centred and agile methodologies develop our technology. We believe using this combination of methodologies will not only create products which are efficient, profitable and sustainable, but also enjoyable and intuitive to use. As our products are used by everyone on the farm: the worker out in the grove; the technical manager; the mill manager; the lab technician, and the CEO, a deep understanding of our different users are important. We need to understand not only our users and their needs, but how they work together and in relation to each other. Immersive experiences have been a very successful method as we can gain an understanding of the user perspective on a deep level. Although we are now living in a world where we are fully able to connect with our users through technology, nothing compares to meeting them face to face in their own work-environment. Being on the farm with our users gives us the opportunity to see what they see, touch what they touch, and do what they do – all essential to understand when developing a user friendly product.
Then came March 2020 and Covid-19, making it impossible to travel and leaving us geographically distanced from our clients. Covid-19 has shown us just how fragile “business as usual” is, and how easily it can be disrupted. However, as we are working in an agile environment we did the only thing sensible when meeting a roadblock: we passed around it. Modern technology has been tremendously helpful and we have replaced face-to-face interviews and immersive experiences with video calls, Youtube videos and Whatsapp chats. Nothing can replace the experience and understanding of being in the same place with a farmer, but we have been able to progress with our development.
In the end the disruption we have experienced in our working situation can be compared to what the farmers are experiencing year after year. It might be that Covid-19 has been the ultimate immersive experience and we now have an even better understanding of the farmer. It is then motivating that we are providing technology which enables the farmer to easily adapt to the changing environment: after all the only thing we can expect with full confidence is change.
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