We spend 1/3 of our day at work and apparently many people from various industries are suffering from well-being and mental health problems. Is there a way to “promote greater wellbeing when people are at work that will contribute to higher productivity and better overall mental health?”

Design brief: Design a vision and business case for a way to promote greater well-being when people are at work, wherever that work takes place, that will contribute to higher productivity and better overall mental health


Front-line workers have poor
communication with their management


We created an open and collaborative environment for solving problems within the organization.

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Web Platform

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Sprint Service

Design Process

  1. Defined topic and scope through brainstorming and dot voting
  2. Conducted user interviews and ethnographic observation to gather insights
  3. Ideated possible solutions
  4. Faced challenge of starting over the solution phase
  5. Prototyped and tested with user groups
  6. Finalized and presented a business case and a design proposal

Define a Topic

According to March 2014 Report on prevalence of mental health conditions in the workplace by PwC, transport operators were found to be 23% more likely to have well-being and mental health challenges than others. Also, transport operators have been consistently ranked at the top of industries with these challenges.

After initial research, our team chose public transit authority vehicle operators as our target audience and as we continued our research, we realized that the target audience was too broad. As a result, we scoped our audience down to GRT transit operators.

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Brainstormed and analyzed different industries

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Dot voting to choose a topic

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Understanding different types under the transport industry

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Brainstorming why public transit sector

Prepare for User Research

Before conducting user research, we made lists of assumptions that we had and questions that we wanted to explore. Some of the examples of lists are:

  • Assuming there is a definable cause of mental health and well-being challenges
  • Assuming all transit workers have mental health and/or well-being challenges
  • Assuming better mental health and well-being will increase productivity
  • What are the reasons for poor mental health and well-being for transit workers?
  • What is the outcome of current well-being and mental health programs in the workplace?
  • How are organizational issues weighing against mental health and well-being issues?
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Whiteboarding assumptions and questions

From those assumptions and questions, we did the How Might We exercise and a Card Sorting exercise to come up with our main research question.

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How Might We exercise

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Card Sorting exercise

“What causes GRT transit operators
to have more wellbeing challenges than the
general population, and
what can we do to mitigate those issues?”

User Research: Survey

Key Statistics


Transit operator respondant


are full-time workers


of participants are between the ages of 41-50


are willing to participate for further research

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Survey results summary

Top responsibilities include: routine bus inspection, safe operation of vehicles, being on time, navigate routes and detours, and ticketing/fares

Pain Points as a Transit Operator

  • Poor shift scheduling
  • Lack of support from upper management
  • Always held responsible for complaints
  • Rude passengers
  • Physical limitations

User Research: Ethnographic Observation

To start with, we planned out our routes, dates and times for the observations. We made lists of observations that we wanted to focus on. Apart from those ethnographic observations, I conducted further research and did 10 extra observations on different routes and different buses.

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Planning for ethnographic observation

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Map of bus routes


  • Drivers’ cabins were filled with water bottles, coffee mugs, and food such as fruits or bars
  • Drivers’ seats had back supports, cushions and blankets
  • Drivers’ get off during terminal stops to take a break
  • When drivers are resting, they are on their cell phone, taking a smoke break or answering passenger’s questions
  • Schedules are tight, which forces drivers to rush in order to be on time
  • Drivers radio to communicate the current situation
  • Drivers are sometimes forced to multi-task when chatting with passengers and managing ticketing fares or driving
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A driver’s cabin

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Operator taking break at the terminal

User Research: User Interviews

After a week of ethnographic observation, our team shared each other’s observations and made questions for the user interviews. We were lucky that transit operators kindly showed us their lunch room and were able to talk in a group. Other interviews were conducted over the phone.

We interviewed
19 transit operators & 2 managers

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Interview Notes

We identified pain points
& grouped them into 5 categories

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Experience map showing pain points


  • No positive interaction
  • Lack of interaction between drivers


  • No formal way to address concerns
  • One way communication

Mental health/well-being

  • Feels unsupported by GRT
  • Chronic pains


  • Slow scheduling process
  • Difficult to switch shifts


  • Not updated detours/routes
  • Paper/manual updates

Possible Solutions

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Possible solution ideation

Possible solutions for each of the following categories:
1. Interaction, 2. Communication, 3. Mental health/Well-being, 4. Scheduling, 5. Timing/detours

Challenge and Core Problem

GRT transit operators have
a poor relationship with their management

We had a few interviews that gave us some challenges to work with after our inital solution ideation. After conducting interviews with both drivers and management, we realized there was a bigger problem than what we originally assumed. All the pain points pointed towards an underlying problem of a poor relationship between GRT Transit Operators and their management . At this point in time we only had two months left, so we had to quickly turn around and iterate our solution for this new problem.

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Diagram of operator/management relationship

Redefining the Problem

Front-line workers have poor
communication with management
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Journey map

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Service blueprint map

Iterating the solution

Through a process of brainstorming and wireframing a solution, we created an open and collaborative environment for solving problems within the organization.


We developed three components: a web platform to anonymously submit and vote for concerns, an ideation based sprint service for conflict resolution, and a follow up process that makes sure the solution is being implemented.

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Web platform prototype workflow
Try it out here

The development of the web platform was not a required outcome, however we felt that it was an important component to create because:

  • No single tool exists to host our framework
  • We wanted to challenge ourselves to build the web platform
  • We wanted proof of concept from a technology perspective


We ran tests of our proof of concept with 11 people (3 admins, 8 students). In university there are similar communication issues, so we worked within that context for this testing session. We discovered our proof of concept was effective, and the admin from the university itself was also interested in implementing our concept for their own students and administration.

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Photo of a sprint session

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Outcome of the sprint session

Several functional tests of the web platform were conducted.

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Sample text added in the submission form

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Submission data recorded in our database

Design Proposal

A service for crowdsourcing workplace issues by providing a platform to gather workplace issues and a tested Sprint process for rapidly developing solutions.

Slides of the RSA design proposal


  • Another research and test in other type of environment would've been interesting to see if our solution is scalable
  • We weren't able to test our concept with the particular target audience yet we conducted tests with similar user group
  • Due to the time restriction, we weren't able to prototype all of the core features that we identified and mentioned in the business case
Group photo

Group photo of our inSource team :)
From left, Jessica Braun, Seul Lee (Me), Seyitan Oke, Jeff Towers & Dhara Pitroda

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