Identifying long term innovation opportunities in the mindfulness space

Detailed Documentation
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 busy modern lifestyles, but are also the producers of Kara, Sleepfulness and Meditation Now.
Overview
Mindfulness Everywhere is a company best known for their digital mindfulness products, and the world of meditation apps has been increasingly influential on the industry; they offer simple, low friction routes into mindfulness practice. However, this massive adoption of meditation apps is having a profound impact on the space — 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 —named ‘Post-App Mindfulness’ — focussed on identifying and understanding business viable innovation opportunities within the mindfulness space which are not app-led, and instead promote social forms of meditation, and which consider the next evolutions of the mindfulness industry.

Parallel to the project’s primary goal, there was also a capability-building component. For parts of the project, we embedded ourselves in the Mindfulness Everywhere team, and a significant part of the project’s deliverables were structured around communicating our process and methods. Mindfulness Everywhere had traditionally used research insight to refine their products, and not define them; we focussed on upskilling their team in future-oriented early-stage design approaches, and helping them build out a cycle of thinking around medium to long-term innovation opportunities.
"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
Process
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, outlining what attracts them to mindfulness, where they enter the mindfulness space, and how their relationship with mindfulness evolves over time.

We were able to broadly map the typical life journeys these groups of mindfulness-engaged and mindfulness-adjacent people have, with focus on how they find out about, move towards, enter, and grow within the mindfulness space, 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 key four 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 and the general mindfulness world. The ability to meditate in your pyjamas, without needing to emotionally open up to others, reinforces a much needed sense of safety and control.

Beyond the App
In many cases, at some point people find that meditation apps aren’t satisfying their needs, and start looking ‘beyond the app.’ Most commonly, this comes down to one or a mixture of three reasons; finishing, or exhausting the material in the app; concerns around their meditation technique; desire to share their experiences with peers.

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 little exists in-between to ease the journey.

Make other entry points attractive
While the most obvious opportunity is to try and facilitate the ‘leap of faith,’ another approach might be to focus on making other beachheads more attractive or accessible, by for instance, integrating them within contexts and spaces which people are already comfortable with.

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 for Mindfulness Everywhere.
IMPACT
Innovation Opportunities
The design opportunities and concepts which were outlined at the end of the project have been de-risked through a round of prototyping and testing, and are now being further explored. 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.

Research outputs
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.

Embedded learning
Our emphasis on embedded learning throughout the project has affected Mindfulness Everywhere team’s way of working, introducing them to human-centric, systems-centric and futures oriented approaches to innovation.

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