International Personnel Exchange Program


There is a network of not-for-profit community bicycle workshops around the world that provide affordable transportation options and mechanical education.  Each shop is independent, having its own decision-making policies and processes.  Through the annual international Bike!Bike! conference, stronger relationships have been built between shops across several nations and an interest in the value of facilitating more exchange of key personnel has been desired.


Business Problems

  • To facilitate beneficial personnel exchange between the loosely affiliated community bicycle workshops in the western hemisphere
  • To be able to flesh out the ambiguous challenge on an international scale into something attainable and sustainable

Designer Challenges

  • Became a web-based project due to stakeholder locations and budgets.
  • The project was being built for multiple autonomous nonprofit organizations.
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Developing the journey map for the international personnel exchange for the bike collectives community
Service Blueprint for International Personnel Exchange for the bicycle collectives community
Full Core and Enabler Service Blueprint for International Personnel Exchange for the bicycle collectives community
Business Model Canvas for International Personnel Exchange for the bicycle collectives community


Design Methods Used

To tackle this project I chose to use a combination of methods to clearly identify the challenge, stay within its constraints, compile insights, determine minimum viable product and prototype. 

  • Service Blueprint
    • Reason for use: one place where relevant information lives and can be referenced.  Provides an idea of how the service would look fleshed out.
    • Challenges: Thinking broadly versus focusing on sections. Determining which in information was core, enabling, or enhancing to the challenge.
    • Successes: a strong core and enabling blueprint to keep to what was important to the challenge, as well as a master blueprint to maintain a record of all stakeholder insights. The minimum viable product was pulled directly out of the core blueprint.
  • Storyboard
    • Reason for use: the initial prototype to be put in front of stakeholders to begin to see how the service could play out.
    • Challenges: consistent remote feedback. 
    • Successes: gaps in the service and stakeholder roles identified. A visual of what the service could look like was produced. Minimal investment high return. Feedback from multiple countries and states. 
  • Business Model Canvas
    • Reason for use: plot out processes, costs, resources, revenue, and people involved.
    • Challenges: not all stakeholders were available to weigh in on the initial canvas.
    • Successes: core processes and rough annual costs determined and presented in one easy to read document.
  • Marvelapp’s Prototype on Paper
    • Reason for use: an easy build of an interactive prototype of the web presence design.
    • Challenges: versions in multiple languages.
    • Successes: interactive prototype built and played with from multiple countries. Versions in English, Spanish, French, and Portuguese produced.

New Things Tried and How They Worked Out

  • Sending prototypes to people individually rather than to large groups. This got people to be more responsive rather than being quiet and thinking someone else would speak up.
  • Switched from drawing out web elements to creating them digitally in Marvelapp. Sacrificed personality for time and ease of use.

Overcoming Design Challenges

  • Making every step count due to a tight budget
  • Small incremental iterations with user testing
  • Used the service blueprint as a reference to stay on track

Challenges Were the Process Had to be Modified Midstream

  • Stakeholder service blueprinting and ideation workshops
  • Receiving prototype feedback remotely
  • Creating prototypes on paper by drawing then placing in Marvelapp

Dealing with Political Challenges

  • Stakeholder ownership of previous work. Robert had to be supportive of this and provide space for them to share what they had done so it could be woven into the project.
  • All the organizations involved were working together by consensus. That meant learning how to operate within that decision-making model.

Dealing with UX Skeptics

  • Robert found allies in the stakeholders who understood the process. They had sway with the other stakeholders and recruited them as champions to share their voice.
  • He recognized and supported skeptic’s views during workshops. He focused on their stories to pull insights from.


How It Was Received by Users

  • When prototypes were sent to large groups remotely, the analytics showed high usage but no shared insights.
  • When prototypes were sent to specific users individually more qualitative feedback was shared.
  • Users in Mexico, Brasil, Argentina, and Montreal felt alienated due to initial prototypes being in English.
  • Users desired to interact with the prototype on a deeper level than was allowed.

How It Was Received by Coworkers

  • My graphic design partner loved the simplicity of it.
  • There was difficulty following the comic-style storyboards – needed to be more clear-cut and linear.

How It Was Received by Stakeholders

  • Positive feedback about the direction the solution was moving in.
  • Several were very adamant about adding multiple languages and information about visas.

Role Successes and Impacts

  • Stronger working relationships were developed with teams in Guadalajara, Montreal, Portland, Toronto, and Chicago.
  • Stakeholders now have a holistic view of what the experience of a personnel exchange could look like, cost, and maintain to move forward when they are ready.
  • Journey mapping workshops were well received and looked at as a tool that could be utilized to break up processes and target efforts.
  • Members reached out to see how to develop blueprints for their own projects.

The project has not gone to market yet.

Mobile view of web app prototype for international personnel exchange 2 1