User Research Inspires Innovation

BOLTGROUP conducted ethnographic and consumer insights research to help Generac introduce new innovations in gas powered generators.
What We Did

Ethnographic Research

Consumer Insights Research

User Insights Videos

User Personas and Scenarios

New Product Idea Generation


Gas powered generators are essential tools to many homeowners and professionals. Unfortunately the user experience is not always stellar. Concerns with power control, safety, noise, and ease-of-use plague many products in the category. Generac is a leader in portable generators, holding the primary position at Lowe’s. But hungry competitors are always circling. Generac saw an opportunity to evolve generator design with better user experiences. But first they needed research to get into the heads and hands of users, and a strategy to get it right.


BOLTGROUP’s research encompassed users of all types, as well as a wide range of user scenarios. We addressed everyone from homeowners who occasionally wanted back-up power, to contractors needing power every day. Ethnography was conducted throughout the US—at homes recently hit by power outages, at construction sites, and at RV camps and tailgating events. A “day in the life” of a generator was documented through video. Highlights covered the user experience at all touch points—opening the box, assembly, set up, fueling, starting, controlling, running, stopping, moving, lifting, storing, and living with a generator. In addition, we researched the purchase experience—both in store and online—to gain insights leading to better marketing and point of sale.


BOLTGROUP used these research findings to flesh out our Opportunity Matrix—combining the User Personas and the Innovation Opportunity Portfolio. The matrix became a tool Generac could use as they made decisions. Our designers then worked with Generac to create product ideas solving some of the thorniest problems associated with generators. Through this effort Generac introduced innovations like the Power Dial and the HomeLink combination package. Other advanced products are in development. Stay tuned!


BOLTGROUP's research revealed important user insights, which they then helped us explore in their Creative Ideation iLab. The ideas they helped us imagine there became valuable product concepts that we've since capitalized on.

— Russ Minick, Executive Vice President, Generac

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