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The Design workshop is the most creative part of the Business Design process, in which the project team creates solutions to the sponsor's problem or challenge. This can be a new business model, a new product, service or software. The ideation is usually based on knowledge and insights gained in the Discover phase. The second part of the workshop is dedicated to the preparation of the Validate phase, which include the definition of success-critical questions and hypotheses and the setup of corresponding experiments to validate them with simple means. In some cases, we also design initial market offerings that allow us to charge customers and enable us to test questions or hypotheses under 100% reality. At the end of the workshop, we always define clear tasks and assign them to the members of the project team. 

An optional but highly recommended element of the Design workshop is the visualization of the designed solutions as different kinds of prototypes. This may include building a landing page illustrating parts of the business models, software mockups or even physical product designs with professional designers. In best case, this happens overnight between day 1 and 2.


2-3 full days

+ preparation and documentation


  • Innovation manager
  • Innovation experts
  • Business Design coach
  • Optional: Prototyping expert
  • Optional: External experts temporarily
Note: The innovation manager and innovation experts should attend a training before they join a kick-of workshop.


  • Experts for visualizing ideas (e.g. designers, prototyping engineers) invited to join
  • All tools & materials prepared and printed
  • Knowledge and insights from Discover phase visualized and printed so that it can be display and presented in the workshop room
  • Team members invited, travels and accommodations arranged
  • Availability of sponsor during Design workshop checked and short visit (day 2) scheduled
  • Agenda defined and aligned with innovation manager
  • Room & catering booked or organized

We usually don't send the agenda to the participants prior to the workshop. We only tell them when we start and end and what preparation is required from their side.


Signs of Success

We consider the Design Workshop as a success...

  • ...if we have designed promising solutions to the sponsor's problem or challenge based on insights we have gained in the Discover phase
  • ...well, not only promising: They should be surprising, sometimes unbelievable and occasionally "out of this world"
  • ...if the team stops complaining about time and personal availability: They start to be proud of what they do
  • ...if the project team is fully committed to work on the tasks assigned to them and see a reason why this is important
  • ...if the sponsor can't await to see the first results in a sneak preview

Q & A

  • What if we figured out that we haven't learned anything surprising in the Discover phase? If you realize that in the workshop, it is too late. Make sure that you get a feeling prior to the workshop what key learnings are.
  • What if our created ideas are boring and not really new? Three exercises help teams get out of their box:
    • Introduce the participants to the Business Model Inspirator and let them pick 2-3 examples from the Inspirator to build the generic pattern of the examples (e.g. Freemium) into their business model.
    • Build more scenarios with an increased level of the intended customer feedback from "surprising" to "unbelievable" or  even "out of this world".
    • Use trigger questions to expose your ideas to extreme circumstances, such as "How would you change your business model if you would have to cut your operational costs instantly by 50%? What if you have to make 10x more revenue over the next 3 years than actually planned? How would Google / Start-up X / Kim Jong-un run our business?".
    • Bring your "job(s) to get done" statements to another level to create disruptive ideas. See example.
    • Introduce other creativity techniques if none of the above worked out.
  • How can I smoothen the transition from day 1 (the fun part with designing products, services, business models etc.) to preparing the Validate phase on day 2 (the challenging or sometimes even nasty part)? We know that finding the right questions and hypotheses for the Validate phase is difficult and rarely a "home run". Before you introduce the Hypotheses / Experiments template, start with the following question and fill the answers on a flip chart paper: "What are killer questions investors would ask to challenge our ideas?" 

Coach Briefing

Day 1

Example Agenda

Day 1

08:30 - 09:00Arrival and "Good Morning Coffee"BAll
09:00 - 09:30Welcome and introduction to the Design phasePProject manager & Coach
09:30 - 11:30Presentation of the knowledge and insights from Discover phaseD / TAll
11:30 - 12:30Identification and categorization of "Golden Nuggets"TAll
12:30 - 13:30Lunch breakBAll
13:30 - 15:00

Ideation: Highly dependent on the project focus e.g.

  • Definition of primary target groups
  • "Job(s) to Get Done" statements
  • Design of product and / or service scenarios (surprising > unbelievable > out of this world)
  • Consolidation to one scenario
15:00 - 17:00

Design of business models incl. consistency check

...optional: Briefing of prototyping engineers and designers

17:00 - 18:00

Visual storytelling with videos

18:00 - 18:30


  • Today's (personal) highlights
  • Reflection of teamwork
  • Short summary of output
  • Outlook 

Optional: Visualization / prototyping

Virtual Design Workshop sessions

In some occasions, we run this workshop virtually through video conferencing. This requires some changes of the agenda and setup:

  • We slice the workshop day 1  in four sessions + preparation and documentation. There are two types of work modes: synchronous sessions in the whole team and and asynchronous individual work:
    Session A (1h): Introduction to the Design phase
    Session B (3h): Presentation of the knowledge and insights from Discover phase followed by the identification and categorization of "Golden Nuggets" 
    Homework (every team member individually): Ideation (preparation and visualization of business ideas)
    Session C (2h): Presentation and evaluation of business ideas...optional: Short meeting of sponsor 
    Session D (3h): Design of business models incl. consistency check...optional: Briefing of prototyping engineers and designers (followed by a session to review and iterate the prototype)
  • We recommend to schedule the four sessions within 2 days (4 days in total).
  • We pay close attention to our team rules for virtual teamwork.

Coach Briefing

Day 2

Example Agenda

Day 2

08:30 - 09:00Arrival and "Good Morning Coffee"BAll
09:00 - 09:30

Reflection of day 1 incl. "movie time" and reviewing the visuals / prototypes (may need more time here)

...optional: Short visit of sponsor

DProject manager & Coach
09:30 - 10:00Introduction to the Validate phasePAll
10:00 - 12:30Discovery of questions (= exploration) and hypotheses (validation) and setup of experimentsTAll
12:30 - 13:30Lunch breakBAll
13:30 - 15:30

Design of lean offerings / MVP

  • Functional requirements
  • Non-functional requirements
  • Scribbles / prototyping of key features
15:30 - 17:00Task managementTAll
17:00 - 18:00

Wrap-up and farewell

  • Today's (personal) highlights
  • Reflection of teamwork
  • Short summary of output
  • Outlook

* P = Presentation | D = Discussion | B = Break | T = Teamwork

Virtual Design Workshop sessions

Similar to day 1, day 2 requires some changes of the agenda and setup:

  • We slice the workshop day 2  in four sessions + preparation and documentation: 
    Session E (1h): Introduction to the Validate phase
    Homework (every team member individually): Collection of uncertainties (analogs and antilogs)
    Session F (2h): Discovery of questions (= exploration) and hypotheses (validation) and setup of experiments
    Homework (every team member individually): Detailed planning of experiments by responsible team members
    Session G (2h): Presentation of experiments and task management
    Session H (3h): Design of lean offerings / MVP and task management
  • We recommend to schedule the four sessions within 2 days (4 days in total).
  • We pay close attention to our team rules for virtual teamwork and use the recommended tools for virtual collaboration.

Music Playlist

Tools & Materials

Room & Infrastructure

  • 1x Empty wall: > 420 x 200cm 
  • 1x Empty wall: > 220 x 90 cm
  • Chairs or cube seats
  • 1x Low-distance projector for Project Workspace
  • 1x Table for catering
  • Hot & cold drinks, snacks or finger food
Consider running the Design workshop not in a boring meeting room, a hotel or conference center. Go to "semi-public" places where the challenge of the project is somehow visible and access to customers is easy (e.g. shops, warehouses, labs).

Example Layout

Room Layout Design Workshop

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