Lean Scoping Projects

In some cases, you may find it difficult to define a clear and focused project scope for your next Business Design project. Why? Because it is not easy. Especially the definition of a customer and / or internal problem and (entrepreneurial) objectives that actually can be measured may give you a hard time. You need to have profound knowledge about your innovation area already before you even kick off a Business Design project. Innovation = something new  = lack of knowledge? Well, profound knowledge about "something new" may sound like an oxymoron, but it is not. We just can't work with a briefing such as "We need a new business model based on data". This is why the Project Charter is so important at the start. If you are not able to formulate a precise Project Charter (without bullish*t), we often squeeze a so called "Scoping Project" into the process, which serves the purpose of gathering as much relevant knowledge as needed to fill the gaps in order to define a proper Project Charter for your next Business Design project.

Scoping Projects

This may include

  • Doing interviews with potential customers and users

  • Conducting desk research around potential competitors

  • Gathering existing research on the topic (internal and external)

  • Having conversations (over a coffee) with a handful of experts

Based on the results from theses activities, we define or refine 1:many Project Charter and continue with the Setup phase.


Very often, we feed 3-4 different ideas / innovation areas into a scoping project  in order to evaluate them for prioritisation. Use a simple portfolio matrix for this exercise.

Key Activities

The following activities represent the core of a Scoping project:

  1. Describe your initial ideas / innovation areas: 
    The starting point here is a very brief description of your idea(s) or innovation area(s) including information around potential customers, their problems / challenges, a high-level perspective on a potential solution to the problem / challenge and special resources needed to build and market the solution (e.g. technology, data). Be as visual as possible and condense your information to a simple story. 

  2. Gather insights: 
    The prerequisite for a better project scoping is to collect smart questions around your brief idea descriptions worth digging into in order better evaluate the ideas / innovation areas and framing focused Business Design projects. Turn the most relevant questions into tasks and start working on them to gather the insights you need.

  3. Scope your Business Design project(s): 
    Based on the results, the final step is to revisit your descriptions of your idea(s) or innovation area(s), refine them and select the idea / innovation area as the cornerstone for your next Business Design project. The final outcome is a complete Project Charter ready to be executed in our usual way.


  • Research workshop (4-5 h)

  • Research phase (2-3 weeks)

  • Scoping workshop (4-5 h)


  • Innovation manager

  • Innovation experts (1-2)

  • Coach

  • Optional: Sponsor

Tools & Materials