Finding Opportunities for the Future of GS Caltex
GS Caltex is the Korea’s first oil refinery, providing oil to over 1/3 of the country’s consumers. With its continued effort to provide convenient energy services for customers, GS Caltex has always sought out innovation–something that is reflected in the way they train their employees. As a long-time SAP customer, GS Caltex saw SAP’s design thinking as an opportunity to get innovation into the company after meeting Christopher Han, Vice President of SAP Design & Co-Innovation Center (DCC) APJ and requested DCC’s engagement to train the employees in design thinking. From mid-level managers to newly hired staff, SAP introduced the employees of GS Caltex the innovation strategies and provided hands-on experience. During two days of research gathering and a workshop at SAP’s AppHaus Korea, 30 – 40 participants conceptualized a new vision for the future of gas stations.
Hearing the Voice of the Real-Users
Unlike anything the company had done before, the design thinking workshop with GS Caltex was specifically designed to include onsite field research to help better understand real users’ experiences. The participants went out to the nearby GS Caltex to interview and observe customers’ behavior–from entering the station and pumping gas to cleaning seats and emptying trash. After the onsite research, participants used various tools and methods to fully understand the users like creating personas, recreating user journey maps, and generating free flowing ideas.
After defining and emphathizing phase to truly understand the problems and needs of the users, the workshop participants created working prototypes to resovle some of the common issues that rise during customers’ experience at GS Caltex stations. One group came up with ideas for mobile apps that may solve the lengthy gas-filling procedure and ideas that improve the overall user experience. Another group recreated an entire customer experience using cutout cardboard pieces resembling life-sized filling machines to engage in role-playing sessions.
Telling Different Stories of the Reimagined GS Caltex
With the space now turned into a make-believe gas station, the participants tested their prototypes using various ideas from wild ones to more feasible ones for problem-solving, including entertainment system, self-driving mode and cordless gas pumps. The solutions were diverse, but all were grounded in users’ real needs. At the end of the second session, prototypes telling different stories of the reimagined GS Caltex were showcased throughout the workshop area.
Following the design thinking process that draws upon various methodologies and validation tools, the two-day workshop paved the way for participants to break free of constraints and think outside the conventional box. The session helped participants validate their prototypes with real users and take their findings to the next level.
"The wonderful location left me an impression that I'm in a foreign movie. The participating teammates at the DCC Korea functioned as facilitators were very helpful and making this collaboration meaningful."– Borami Kim, Manager, GS Caltex
"I always believed that innovation is something only those with creative minds could deliver... Companies like ours that haven't changed in 4 to 5 decades gave me some skepticism whether we could change. But with this experience, anyone can change with the right education."– YeonHui Ko, Manager, GS Caltex