Microsoft MSN – women were a blind spot in our business


MSN – Microsoft’s world wide news and infotainment platform has ambitious business development goals. User data revealed a lack of younger women in the user base and the MSN team asked design-people for help.

After two months of user studies and data analysis, design-people’s “inspired by women” experts met with six international MSN teams for a two day workshop in Munich.

The agenda in short: A) learn to understand what matters to the younger female target groups, B) translate the preferences of two female personas into improved MSN content, and C) estimate the business impact of the new concepts.

design-people presented their initial research on how the MSN news content and advertisement resonate with “Ann” and “Charlotte”, two female personas, and the list of valuable research insights to inspire new content and advertisement concepts was long.

The workshop participants learned, for example, that financial news could be made more attractive to women by introducing stories with female lead characters. Sports content, so far not women’s favorite, could be made more attractive by introducing social dimensions instead of mere “achiever” stories. News could be integrated with social media, which would be attractive for the younger profile “Ann”, as much of her time is spent on social media.

After two intense days, the workshop groups shared their new female inspired concepts. The forecasts of revenues from a deeper engagement of women on MSN are stunning – they sum op to billion dollar business potentials. A wake up call for everybody in terms of the gains in addressing women more explicitly as a MSN target group.

As the implementation work is carried out in the MSN teams around Europe, Berlin has been chosen as site for a strategic Microsoft event about diversity potentials in tech. Stay tuned.

“We needed user studies to fully understand our user data. The “inspired by women” workshops with our MSN teams were eye-opening and highly productive. We are eager to move forward with the promising concepts and business potentials. This initiative creates sustainable momentum in our leadership group for applying a diversity lens to our innovation and business development. We chose design-people as a partner because they have a research based diversity toolbox and they are experienced practitioners in this field”

— Ulrike Irmler, Principal Program Management Lead on the fruits of the collaboration with design-people


Gender diversity analysis of
news and media

Users studies with female MSN
users in two countries

Workshops on diversity inspired
MSN concepts & business cases

INTRIGUED? – let’s talk

Henrik Mathiassen
CEO, co-founder
+45 28 40 40 14

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