Business Design usually doesn't happen in isolation. A couple of factors are absolutely key when introducing Business Design to your organisation.
Here are some of them:
- Executive commitment: Business Design requires top management attention and commitment - and here we mean the owners of the company and / or the executive level. The reason is simple: Innovation and more specifically the design of new business models is highly connected to the overarching strategy of the company. You have to make sure that the key decision-makers for the future strategy are involved in your projects. Otherwise you won't get any decisions at all, which will slow the process down to zero. How do you know whether an executive manager is really committed?
- If he shows up in workshops,
- if he has time for regular "sneak previews",
- if he is willing to act as a project sponsor,
- if he gives his mobile number to the project team and allows to call or text him at (almost) any time.
Ask for it and you will see what you get.
- Link to business lines: Business Design should also be connected to business lines that earn the big money in a company. Leaders of theses divisions should know about the power of Business Design and why it is helpful for them to propel their business to the next level. If Business Design has been implemented into a centralised department (e.g. corporate strategy or innovation management), it may happen that business line managers consider Business Design (or the centralised department) as a threat and loss in independence. Involve them from early on and ask for support from top management if necessary.
- Guiding principles: Never betray the guiding principles of Business Design. You will quickly get in situations, in which people want you to work with unqualified teams, to start a project even without top management attention, to "take it easy" and allow shortcuts (like skipping the Discover phase), to allow people having parallel meetings during your workshops etc. Overcome those temptations and find your personal style to be as rigorous as necessary but flexible enough to adapt Business Design to the specific needs of a project setup. Your job as a coach is not necessarily to make people happy. Your job is to make them succeed (which is sometimes not the same).
- Quick wins: Focus on quick (market) wins and tangible output right from the start. It is easy to get caught in "fake innovation activities", such as ideation workshops, 2-days hackathons, brainstormings, "let's be visual" meetings, fuck-up nights etc. Don't get us wrong: There may be good reasons for some of those events. However, the ultimate success for us Business Designers are happy (end-) customers who bought the new product or services via our intended sales channels and refer the new business to their friends (apart from financial KPIs). The number of coloured post-its on walls is not a very accurate indicator of your success.
- High-performance teamwork: For you as a coach, it is tremendously important to keep a close eye on the project team and its performance. Observe carefully how Business Design as a methodological approach is applied and also what happens in the team below the surface (see "Iceberg Model"). At the end of the day, it is NOT the method (= Business Design) why projects fail. It is very likely poor teamwork, bad communication habits, no common sense or shared accountability for the project results that let teams perform poorly. Keep that in mind.