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  • Caoimhe O'Connor

SEAGO: Extreme Consumers research project

Last semester, I completed a module named 'Consumers in the Digital Age'. As part of that module, myself and a group of fellow students were tasked with producing radical innovation in a consumer category inspired by insights gathered from extreme consumers (interviews).

The significant upsurge in sea swimming popularity in Ireland inspired us to focus on the sea swimming app category. You can read the executive summary below.

I really enjoyed this project as it allowed a lot of room for creativity and open collaboration.

I am particularly proud of the app interface, which I designed [pictured below].

We received an A grade for our efforts. You can read the full report here.


Executive Summary

This report details the process of gathering insights from extreme sea swimmers, which

inspired radical innovation within the app category. To achieve this, the IDEO process of

development was employed. This involved observation, brainstorming, rapid prototyping and

refining (Bhavnani and Sosa, 2006).

Traditionally market research focuses on average consumers. However, as is implied, this can

result in ‘average’ insights (Avery and Norton, 2014). To gain exciting insights and innovative

app ideas, this report performed Netnography, in-depth interviews with sea swimming lovers,

haters and opt-outers and went extreme ourselves.

In 2019, swimming was the second most popular sport in Ireland, with 22% of this cohort

choosing to swim in the sea (Sport Ireland, 2019). Since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic

and the subsequent closure of pools and gyms, participation in sea swimming has surged

(Fegan, 2020). Currently, there are two main sea swimming apps on the market, ‘EU Swim

Project’ and ‘Tides Near Me’. Notably, neither wholly fulfil customer needs.

The brainstorming stage uncovered four key areas for development in the sea swimming app

category: conditions, safety, alerts and community. Following this, the team created

prototypes which reflected these areas for development. During the refinement stage, the

team reflected upon the key advantages and limitations of each prototype before creating

the fully realised product.

The innovative product developed was a user friendly and informative sea swimming app

named ‘SeaGo’. By supplying all the relevant information in one place, the app aims to provide

swimmers of all abilities with a never-before-seen sea swimming experience. Such

information includes live webcam view of the user’s selected swimming spot, tide and sunrise

times, weather, real-time weather alerts and sea quality. In line with user recommendations,

SeaGo is compatible with wearable tech and contains a community function, where users can

log their swims, participate in events and challenge their friends. The team intends to market

SeaGo using owned social media and brand ambassadors.

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