Marc Guigon (UIC Passenger Director) introduced the second UIC innovation workshop of 2020 organised by the Passenger Service Group. It was the second workshop of the year held entirely via video-conference, as more than 25 participants representing CFL, CP, ENTUR, FSTechnology, Lithuanian Rail, MAV-START, OEBB, PKP Intercity, RFI, RZD, SilverRail, SNCB, Trafikverkert, TrainOSE, Trenitalia, UIC and VIA Rail joined online.
Stefano Scarci (EY) started the morning pitch session by giving an introduction on “Reinventing the passenger experience”. The presentation included a discussion of the concept of customer experience, a review of approaches to understanding what customers really want and an outline of reasons to review the passenger experience in view of the disruptive transformation of the market. Eventually, the presentation introduced the concept of Design Thinking.
Vanessa Perez (UIC) presented next. Her speech, “A perspective on PRMs and post Covid-19 passenger experience”, included a presentation on the UIC PASSAGE working group, which started in 2010 to address obligations arising from Passenger Rights regulations but has now evolved to encompass much more, allowing members to share and improve common practices and learn from each other to deal with a very special type of assistance in the most cost-effective manner. The speech included also a very insightful case study applied at Ottawa Station by VIA Rail in order to improve PRM assistance, as well as a testimony by Matteo Salandri (RFI) on his personal PRM travel experiences.
The pitch session was concluded by Maria Monteleone (EY), who offered an insight into the topic of Design Thinking, including origins, key principles and five-step process. Design Thinking, first used to make physical objects, is increasingly being applied to complex, intangible issues, such as how a customer experiences a service. It is both a set of methods for innovating and an open mindset characterised by a curious attitude that helps to reframe problems. Design Thinking encourages organisations to focus on people needs and leads to human centred products, services, and internal processes. The presentation was enriched with case studies and examples.
In the afternoon session, participants split into three groups to participate in breakout sessions, in order to apply key Design Thinking principles to approach challenges related to the passenger experience. The three topics for the Breakout Sessions were: (1) PRMs cross-border, (2) Tourism beyond Covid-19 and (3) International Business Travel. The newly created groups met in separate virtual rooms. Thanks to a virtual collaboration workspace, participants tackled a three-part Design Thinking journey. The first part was dedicated to framing the challenge statement, the second part asked participants to empathise with target customers by compiling an empathy map, while the third part was dedicated to imagine possible solutions to real life problems. The collaborative work was supported by Design Thinking Canvas templates.
The workshops will continue, with the next one currently planned on 26 November on “Internet of Things and 5G”.