Every day, teams in large organizations work to push complex innovation projects forward. Defining a service suite to ensure successful commercialization of a new spinout company. Developing a new employee onboarding program that will increase retention. Building a center of excellence to fill a stubborn healthcare gap. Shaping a new, disruptive consumer product. Every project includes brigades of stakeholders, batches of data, a thicket of legality, and somewhere at the end, a real user.
It’s an understatement to say these are hard equations to solve. Worthwhile, but hard.
Whether their innovations are large or small, teams that apply design thinking gain a holistic, human-centered perspective that gives them an edge. One of the three essential components of design thinking is viability: can the innovation be sustained? Does it have legs? Commercially, organizationally? Unless built for viability, the worthiest innovations suffer poor life expectancy.
At ThoughtForm, we’re about cultivating the value in new initiatives. Some time ago, we realized that viability was an increasingly essential component of this value. As we’ve grown from explaining our clients’ innovations to helping shape the strategies that deliver them, we’ve sought tools to boost the innovation viability. The discipline of business design is a powerful such tool. So much so that we’ve built business designers into our core team.
So what is business design?
At ThoughtForm, business designers work alongside design strategists and project managers to cultivate value. Their special focus is how new ideas can grow strong roots. This takes many forms. It may mean tinkering with a business model to fit customer preferences. It may involve scanning the market landscape to find innovation-shaped white spaces. Or helping to boost a project’s organizational capital internally.
Our business designers are MBAs who bring wide industry experience in strategy, innovation, digital development and other areas, combined with practical expertise in business analysis. But they also think creatively about business problems. Like design strategists, they work from a user-centered perspective, but focus on how to strengthen the value exchange between your organization, its users and stakeholders. With this perspective, we can help ensure that your new initiatives are not only engaging, but also sustainable.
Here are four of the ways that business design helps build the viability of projects:
- Navigating organizational dynamics. Most large organizations are incredibly complex. You likely have your own brigades of stakeholders to satisfy, each with their own reporting structures and objectives. Business designers help piece together how stakeholders connect and what cultural perspectives may need to shift in order to accomplish lasting and meaningful change.
- Injecting fresh insights. With broad industry knowledge, business designers translate lessons drawn from finance, health care, manufacturing, and other industries to help tackle the challenge you’re facing. Often these insights can provide the key to a stubborn problem or uncover a new path forward.
- Connecting the dots. Trained to think holistically, business designers can help integrate a broad set of perspectives to the project. The investor view, the regulatory view, the customer view, the competitor view, the supplier view, and above all, the end user view. Each perspective informs the solution differently. By helping to reconcile and address them in a broad, systematic way, business designers reduce risk and increase value.
- Building the case. No project launches successfully without the belief of leadership, the support of key stakeholders, or the customer’s perception of value. At each turn, business designers help define the criteria that the project must meet to win the day and ultimately gain a lasting place in the world.
To learn more about how ThoughtForm’s business designers can help guide your next initiative to success, shoot us an email at [email protected]. We’d love to give your innovation a long and successful life.