From personal experience, all members of the team agreed that coordinating group trips provided ample pain points that could have a cognitive solution. As the UX designer, I helped guide our conversation to focus on specific pain-points for a specific user - a Milennial traveler.
1. Coordinating group travel is difficult, esp. getting a group to commit to a basic itinerary.
2. Young travelers want a unique “authentic” experience tailored to their preferences, not something pre-packaged or ‘one-size fits-all’
3. No trip is perfect - users need options when the unexpected interferes with their plans.
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Solution & impact
Our working prototype, MARCO, placed within the top 50 teams globally (out of over 8000) in IBM’s Cognitive Build competition. A few months later, it drew significant interest from established hotel and travel chains at IBM’s World of Watson conference.