Transforming the E-bike rental business model
Energy & Mobility
Prototyping & Testing
Applied Methods

→ Rapid prototyping
→ User testing
→ Design sprint

Digital tools

1 week design sprint

Smide, a mobility startup offering an E-bike rental, wanted to transit their business offering from a free-floating system to a station-based bike rental system and find out how to best implement the charging solution.
User testing
Continuous refinement


From whiteboard drawings to cardboard to metal-based prototypes. The aim was to build functional prototypes of minimum viable products to be able to test the key features with real world E-bike users. These activities were carried out during a one-week design sprint.

User testing

The teams refined three charging station prototypes and tested them in real world environments with e-bike users, by bringing together subject matter experts and specialists from different backgrounds.

Continuous refinement

Throughout the design sprint interdisciplinary student teams received coaching to facilitate the successive refinement of the prototypes to test key features: safety, UX, robustness and user incentives.


week design sprint


functional prototypes


months until solution implemented


Just four months later, Smide decided to launch charging stations at selected locations across Zurich. Riders were offered incentives to drop off their bikes  at the charging stations. This meant that the company successfully transitioned their business offering from a free-floating system into a hybrid system of station-based plus free-floating. 

4 months later: product on the market

Project Lead
Michael Augsburger
Senior Innovation Consultant
Michael has a background in Environmental Sciences. His research focuses on the use of human-centred innovation processes for policy design. Believing in the benefits of interdisciplinary work, he has experience in coaching student teams to develop and push forward their own innovation projects. At Spark Works, he supports our team in the execution of agile work sessions with our clients through workshop facilitation.
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