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Mission-Centered Growth in EdTech

Mission-Centered Growth in EdTech

Staying Close to Needs and Unlocking a Path to Monetization for Remind

Brief
Goal

Remind’s clear mission carved their path as an edtech leader in the communication space. But how might they create value through a paid product?

Outcome

With our research and guidance, Remind aligned on a B2B strategy that mitigates risk while maximizing potential opportunities and upholding the organization’s core values.

Service
  • Generative Research
  • Contextual Inquiry
  • Diary Studies
  • In-Depth Interviews
  • Evaluative Research
  • Research Education & Coaching
  • Rapid Prototyping 101
  • Cultural Insights
  • Organizational Alignment
  • New Product Development
  • Service Design Strategy
  • Workshops & Sprints

Background

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Used in more than 80% of American public schools and with nearly 30 million monthly active users, Remind has become a household name in K-12 education. This critical communications platform connecting teachers, students, and parents is backed by some of the most powerful, mission-driven venture capitalists like Social Capital’s Chamath Palihapitiya and Kleiner Perkins’ John Doerr.

Remind app

Remind won with an SMS-only version of their product, and scaled it to an app, demonstrating a great example of low-tech, high-access thinking.

Remind started as a free messaging app; its co-founders, brothers Brett and David Kopf, built the company to scale a system they had designed that helped Brett succeed in school while grappling with the learning challenges of attention deficit disorder and dyslexia. His high school teacher, Mrs. Whitefield, restored his confidence by spending time helping him after school.

“When I first started the company, I thought to myself, ‘If I could make the Mrs. Whitefields of the world more efficient and help them as teachers, it could have an enormous impact on the education system,’” Brett Kopf shared in a Business Insider interview. From the company’s inception, building teachers’ needs right into their strategy was a key driver in product development, and research continues to be a critical investment in ensuring alignment.

When we connected with them, what Remind struggled with – as so many edtech companies have – was figuring out how to monetize the free product that supported millions. In addition to their core product strategy challenge, we guided their diversity and inclusion efforts with strong research methodology, and infused their culture with strategic ethnographic thinking.

Integrating Foundational Research as a Practice

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Learning firsthand from district leaders and administrators was critical for the product leadership team. Here we study the many factors, including geography, that affect a school district.

From leading generative research to managing the usability program, and teaching leaders across customer success and marketing teams methods and theory to align efforts, we had our hands in everything. Immersing the team in-field from Texas to the Bay Area, our practices brought the challenges of administrators and districts alive so we could design with them.

Remind Say Think Feel Do Chart

To probe into new technologies and unfamiliar territory, prototyping is critical. We use concepts to explore impressions, messaging, and values.

With so many customer-facing teams, Remind experienced a common challenge – learning to distinguish signal from noise, and customer solution requests from their underlying needs. Remind’s powerful Executive, Sales, and Product leadership teams dove into our workshop on expertly navigating customer conversations toward needfinding. We helped leaders in Sales and Customer Success improve operational workflow and align with Product through service design, creating a smooth transition from the very first touch point with the company through regular use of Remind.

I can’t overestimate how important this work was in helping us find the right direction for our product.
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Remind Icons Curriculum
Each discipline in district administration had distinct goals and needs, which became crystal clear through research.

Culture & Organizational Alignment

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Remind’s culture is one of openness, learning, and cross-pollination. CEO Brian Grey writes a weekly update to the team, blog-style, and regularly makes space in his calendar to connect with individual contributors across the company. With full investment in advancing diversity and inclusion and a thriving culture, we guided organizational insight initiatives to help ask the right questions and make sense of each critical inflection point. Helping companies find their center, and adapt to emergent needs is our sweet spot.

Remind Problems Solution Chart No BG 01

Prototyping & Design Thinking

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Once the core architecture of user experience research, product design, and engineering is established, a familiar pathway emerges – a linear workflow that works well for fixes, updates, and incremental changes to an already stellar product. Strategic innovation, however, requires different inputs – and architecture. We brought on key rapid prototyping methods to catalyze the team into thinking – and testing assumptions through lower fidelity methods. Counterintuitively, this actually speeds the whole process up – by slowing the start. Equally critical were tools like the design sprint we created on the tail-end of a vast exploration into districts and schools. This tool brought key stakeholders together to immerse into actual data on a learning journey, create substantive and progressive activities to evolve our thinking, and immediately prototype to find the missing pieces.

The research and sprint workshop that Blumline conducted for Remind led me through a powerful process in which I realized that we could not pivot away from our core values as we introduced a new offering. We uncovered deep insights into new territory and translated this work into a simple, accessible, and rich strategy that touched every part of the company, our executive team and our board.

Outcomes

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We created a shared language and vision based on rigorous insights that ensures that Remind continues to deliver for the millions of people depending on it every day – creating value for administrators and educators, based on their shared and distinct needs, while remaining committed and integral to teachers. Their team is thriving, more synergistic than ever, and continuing to serve millions in education through their dedication, ingenuity, and collaboration.

Video courtesy of Remind
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