Our ‘test-users’ gave valuable feedback. For example, someone noted that the word “renovations” in our original project title raised negative thoughts about trouble and mess. We therefor changed our title. - Samuli Rinne, Enespa Ltd.

This is an excerpt from the pilot project story Micro-ESCOs – Enespa working with the Make Energy Change Happen Toolkit. Here, we explain how Enespa benefited from Step 8 of the Toolkit: Test your ideas with your target group.

Testing ideas was, of course, done throughout the project. However, one crucial stage at which ideas needed testing was the first communication material developed of the project. This was a brochure describing what the project offers to residents. It was the first material we sent to residents, accompanied by a small ‘self-audit’ questionnaire, which helped both the residents and Enespa to find out who was interested and what their houses were like.

In order to test our brochure and questionnaire, we organized a focus group with six participants, and interviewed a few others by phone who couldn’t attend. We couldn’t involve the ‘actual target group’ (as we were just planning our first contact with them), but tried to find people with similar residences and similar problems in our own networks. We tried to involve a diverse range of participant. We made a draft of our brochure and questionnaire and sent it to participants beforehand. At the focus group discussion, we asked the following questions: 

  • What problems do you encounter in your own home heating?
  • What questions does the proposed service raise?
  • How interested would you be joining and why?
  • Are there any details in the brochure that could be improved?