Market and User Research, Early-Stage Design Concepts

Post-App Mindfulness

Identifying long term innovation opportunities in the mindfulness space
Design Principles
Client details
Open Experience (OX) is the Royal Bank of Scotland’s innovation lab, based in Edinburgh and London, and established in 2016. They address challenges from across all parts of the bank, while championing a human-centered and collaborative attitude to innovation through design thinking approaches. 

Mindfulness Everywhere is a creative studio working at the intersection of design, technology, and meditation. They are best known for Buddhify, a meditation app designed to fit into a busy modern lifestyle, but they have also produced a range of other products such as Kara, Sleepfulness and Meditation Now.
The world of meditation apps has been increasingly influential on the mindfulness industry; they offer simple, low friction routes into mindfulness practice. However, this massive adoption of meditation apps is having a profound impact on the practice — more and more people are identifying with meditation as an activity which is done alone, with a phone, listening to guided audio with headphones. This project aimed to identify and understand business viable innovation opportunities within the mindfulness space which are not app-led, and instead promote social forms of meditation, challenging the current status quo.

Parallel to the project’s primary goal, there was also a goal to build innovation capability within Mindfulness Everywhere’s team, upskilling them in early-stage design approaches, while helping them build out a cycle of thinking around medium to long-term innovation opportunities.
Using a mixture of desk and field research techniques, we developed an understanding of key groups and archetypes who engage in mindfulness, or are ‘mindfulness-adjacent.’ Across these groups, we built a robust understanding of people’s journeys towards and into mindfulness, mapping out what attracts them to mindfulness, how they enter the mindfulness space, and how their relationship with mindfulness evolves over time, as well as identifying the key drivers and pain points on these journeys. While the research phase concluded with a large body of insight, there were a few key learnings which emerged:

Meditation apps are an attractive entry point
Especially when approaching mindfulness after periods of self-help, mindfulness apps are the most accessible and attractive point of entry into meditation, as they allow someone to meditate in their pyjamas, without needing to emotionally open up to others.

Beyond the App
At some point, most people find that guided audio meditation apps aren’t satisfying their needs, and start looking ‘beyond the app,’ usually due to finishing the content in the app, or wanting to connect with others they can share their practice with.

The Leap of Faith
Moving from the security of meditating on your own, in the safety of your home (using apps), to meditating with strangers in an unfamiliar space (attending classes or retreats) is a huge leap, and few offerings exists in-between to ease the journey.

Surrounding these four learnings, we developed a series of design opportunities, from which we developed, prototyped, and tested a series of product and service concepts.
"The project created a trove of valuable insights about the behaviours and future social opportunities within the emerging mindfulness marketplace. Additionally Andthen’s future-oriented design approach has given us a framework to better understand our current work as well as the basis of how we develop new products in the future."
Rohan Gunatillake, Director, Mindfulness Everywhere



The design opportunities and concepts which were proposed at the end of the project have been de-risked through a round of prototyping and testing, and may be incorporated into an innovation pipeline. Beyond these specific concepts, we have also created a template for Mindfulness Everywhere to supplement their core products by building out more formal medium and long-term innovation cycles.


The body of knowledge generated throughout the research phase of the project has been assimilated into other parts of Mindfulness Everywhere’s business — new terms to describe concepts, challenges, pain points, or types of meditator introduced throughout the project have now been assimilated into the company’s shorthand.


Our emphasis on embedded learning throughout the project has developed Mindfulness Everywhere team’s way of working, introducing them to human-centric, systems-centric and futures oriented approaches to innovation, even inspiring one team member to pursue a Masters degree in Design Innovation and Service Design. 

"The project was so impactful that it inspired one of my team to actively look to deepen their own design skills as part of his career development."
Rohan Gunatillake, Director, Mindfulness Everywhere
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