• Summary: Build a minimum viable product that has the potential to generate significant revenue over 2 years.

  • My role: Head of product, founder, research, prototyping, business modeling, go-to-market strategy

  • Target users: Women 30-60

  • Impact: Created a working beta version of the product in 5 months while leading a cross-functional team of 4 people and 1 direct report. Secured trademark, equity investment, and led successful alpha launch with hundreds of users. Product will have a public launch at CES in 2019.

AARP is an organization with 38 million members that serves the 50+ population. As a product manager in The Hatchery, AARP's innovation lab, I head up a vertical of new products focused on wellbeing and personal fulfillment. My task was to launch a new startup that would deliver on our mission while generating revenue.

When I was hired, the lab was still very new and there wasn't any work being done in the personal fulfillment realm. It was my job to take a completely blank canvas and come up with an idea to turn into a minimum viable product. To get there, I started by going straight to the target market to embed myself in their stories, and I worked with them to co-create a range of concepts.  

After a few months of working on my own, I eventually led a team of nine through a design process to validate concepts, and build the winning idea, Confetti, into an MVP. 

The challenge 

How might we make it easier for women 30-60 to live their most fulfilling lives? 

focus group.jpg

Research approach

  • 35 AARP studies reviewed

  • 14 focus group sessions

  • 16 one-on-one interviews with target market

  • 7 expert interviews, including academic, financial advisor, and spiritual director

  • 4000+ respondents via quantitative surveys


We developed 2 personas based triangulating data from interviews with survey responses.

Jeannie, Gift giver

"I know what matters most to me - it's family. But it can be hard to keep them at the center with all I have going on." 

  • Age 41

  • Therapist, two kids, divorced

  • Derives value from her relationships and is very close to her family

  • Often acts as family convener and connector, but it’s difficult with lack of time

  • Wishes she knew more about her family history

  • Enjoys being making crafts and trying out new recipes

  • Spends time on Facebook and Pinterest


Gwen, Recipient

“I'm thinking a lot about how I want to use the time I have left.”

  • Age 64

  • Registered nurse

  • Three kids who all live across the country, two have kids of their own

  • Loves to make time to celebrate life’s big moments, and believes gifts should be personal (not practical)

  • Enjoys looking back on and reflecting about the past

  • Has a large network of friends, but wishes she saw family more often

  • Concerned about long term finances and health


Three key opportunities emerged from the research:

  • In the center again

  • Make it count

  • Disconnection

In the center.jpg


In 8 weeks, we developed 18 concepts that we tested with 30 people in person and 4200 through surveys. We built many of the concepts into prototypes in order to validate the winning idea.

We hosted groups of our target market in the lab every other week to give us feedback on the prototypes and do usability testing.

Early concepts from a co-creation session with our target market.

Early concepts from a co-creation session with our target market.

The earliest wireframe of our concept.

The earliest wireframe of our concept.

3 different prototypes of the same idea.

3 different prototypes of the same idea.

The winning idea

Bringing people together around moments that matter.

Your secret trick for celebrating milestones, Confetti helps you bring the most important people together to create a gift they’ll never forget. 

Confetti makes it easy to create a collaborative keepsake gift for someone you love. We're different from other players in the market because...

  • Collaboration: Quickly and easily gather content from a whole community of people in one place.

  • Simplicity: As soon as you accept content, it’s added into our book maker.

  • Shareability: Easily share the final digital collage with contributors, who have the option to buy their own copy of the book.

  • S imple pricing: Add between 30 - 100 pages at no additional cost.

The impact

In five months, my team created a working beta version of the product, and secured the trademark and equity investment.

Initially, we launched an MVP of Confetti with AARP staff and their friends and family. This “alpha launch” was a step before a typical beta, and allowed us to test the product in a relatively safe environment with hundreds of users. You can watch a recording of our launch party here.

We will be launching the next version of the product at the Consumer Electronic Show in Las Vegas in 2019.