How might we develop a set of innovative design management workflow in the fast-paced automobile startup to help product development teams co-working from UX perspective?

My Role / 
In this hands-on long term project, I focused on strengthening the foundation of the design practice. The aim is to get the right tools, systems and practices in place to allow successful delivery of design at scale. These tasks include: Research lead and Design Collaborator.


Client / 



Project Deliverables/ 

Research insight report

Ecosystem and stakeholder map

Blueprint map and user flow

Bluebook and design guideline

UX Toolkit 

NIO Persona

UX strategy canvas


Year / 


Milestone / 


I have helped over 390 design decisions to be reviewed in 7 design review meetings in just one and a half years, and over 70% of the employees have started to pay attention to the changes that experience manager and design thinking have made to their work.

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As the IoT continues to evolve, the focus of future cars has shifted from purely functional purposes to cross-touch point, multi-sensory experiences. The automotive industry is on the cusp of profound change. We believe that it is not just the products and technologies that must change, but the way people interact with those products and the whole human experience of ownership. 


At present, most of the new energy vehicle manufactures in the market still have a relatively large proportion of technology research and development. However, the other way of thinking is different, and NIO believes that in the near future, cars will go a step further, freeing people from driving and giving them the freedom of time. Not just a car company, but an IoT company that sees itself as providing an experience that offers four different touch points. Car, APP, power service and sharing physical space. Users can get a better driving experience after each FOTA (Firmware Over-The-Air). At the same time, NIO is the first EV company in the world to allow EV owners to order valet charging van directly on the NIO APP. This demonstrates the company's commitment to service design as a valuable way to build a sustainable EV ecosystem for end users and all stakeholders. This has spawned NIO as a "user enterprise".


To do this, the key task is to stimulate creative thinking between designers, engineers and product managers, improve teamwork capabilities, and allow cross-functional teams to interface around real end users, the biggest challenge in the process of adopting an end-to-end new product development ecosystem is to open up communication between different departments and interface with people with a design thinking mindset. All experts in the business need to break out of their old working inertia and translate market and consumer understanding into new products. This needs to be done in terms of decision-making mechanisms, cultural introduction, design thinking training, etc. The management of a range of design strategies and design activities to influence and change product development in a more rational and scientific way to maximise profits for the business. This groundbreaking design process is more than a simple roadmap; it is implemented as an industry milestone.













Design Process

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Key Insights and Highlights

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In order to figure out the problems that arose during the current car development process, we identified the main ones by forwarding feedback from our employees. The existing workflow is traditional with no fast-paced iterations from a user experience perspective, and we also know that efficiency is critical for any startups to grow and survive at scale. 

In addition, the lack of communication channels makes it difficult for most people to co-work with other internal stakeholders. How do we unite all the employees of a company for the same goal? This is the biggest challenge we face in large collaborations. Through several rounds of interviews, we unearthed the design opportunities of the future in the automotive industry. In which we urgently need to improve the design process and cross-departmental communication.


As user expectations grow, they tie the sustainability of a business to the voice of the user, and we understand that selling cars is not the end of our interaction with users. We need to resonate with the daily lives of our users to help us improve our products. The user needs to be at the center of our service and product development process. We need to ensure that users have a voice in making critical business decisions. One step we have taken is to incorporate the performance of the user experience into the overall performance of the product department. To do this, we need to work across teams to integrate design and development efforts, starting with re-planning the product development process.

It's also a redesign of internal organizational management.







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NIO has rich and diverse digital and tangible products, such as car, APP, AI assistance system, attempting to build a complete product experience ecosystem
Through in-depth interviews to help with pain point discovery in various departments, finding pinning design opportunities to optimize the experience

Problem Statement

How might we develop a set of innovative design management workflow in the fast-paced automobile start-up to help product development process much more efficiently from UX perspective?

Design Solution


NOUN [mass noun]

Tiny bits of plastic measuring 0.1μm - 5mm

The Atlas platform is designed to help cross-functional teams produce effective guidance materials through user storyboard structure. It is based on a service blueprint architecture that allows work team members to fully grasp the user's perspective and back-end development resources, transforming the team's experience into a collaborative experience definition that can be further communicated and complete in detail.

End-to-end workflow design for EM, we encourage all experience managers start the product planning project from contextual inquiry  
Combined with online product management platform, the toolkit
helps teams consider the customer journey from UCD perspective
The innovative Persona allows teams to access the latest key info
about target users by scanning QR code while product planning
Run regular design thinking training for all EMs, coaching on design
methodology, interview techniques, usability testing, etc.
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Conducted internal product validation and pilot test with real user
in test vehicle before official launch

"Electric vehicle startup NIO ranks highest in J.D. Power’s inaugural China New Energy Vehicle Experience Index Study, which measures new-vehicle quality by monitoring problems reported by EV owners in the first two to six months of ownership. "

-- 2019, J.D. Power

How did we get to this achievement in just one year? The answer is EM system, through a combination of evaluation systems and tools, we successfully implemented this system in the highest product decision streams throughout the company to help R&D teams no longer work with the traditional one-way product manager thinking, but to re-engage the workflow horizontally with customer journey concept, enabling a good experience from the user's perspective.

We use mechanism design to help EMs master together:

1, Problem description and judgment.

2, Scenario description and experience principles.

3, Experience impact, problem impact on experience and improvement options.

4, Market impact and development resources.

5, Resolutions and plans 



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We designed several project management platforms that incorporates the Service blueprint concept to help EMs collaborate remotely. 
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Projects Completed

In 2019, through the EM mechanism, we have iterated the product and successfully delivered ...


Delivered FOTA


Product Experience


Experience Definition

( Firmware Over-The-Air )

Vehicle remote charging mode experience
NIO Power Service - Charging Navigation Map Upgrade
Independent development - NIO Poli User Scene Refinement


As a pioneer in the electric vehicle market, NIO has spared no effort to invest in design innovation. The team hired experts from different industries to create products that exceed users' expectations. In this way, NIO can effectively mobilize the creative thinking of designers to transform market and consumer understanding into new products, influence and change people's lives in a new and more rational and scientific way. and manage a series of design strategies and design activities. I found it's so key to maximize profits for enterprises at the same time. To do so, we need to trial and error again and again.


When I was leading the whole service design knowledge introduction, I found that as a real project to be landed, it needs to be integrated with the original product development system to ensure that the cost of learning of all the staff is reasonable and digestible, so that they are willing to work with the new working mode.

In the book ”Creative Confidence“ published by IDEO, the concept that everyone can be a designer no matter their original background and should have the confidence of being a designer to change the world. I hope I can spread this belief to all of my work partners as I work on this huge system design project. It's great to have many engineering background partners  were happy just like children during the co-creation workshop with me. Beyond improving the function design, they had positive praise for the benefits of design thinking for them, which is my most valuable asset in this project.