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Bridging Business and Design By Building Experienced- Based Knowledge

Having the knowledge to bridge business and design is very different being able to execute on that knowledge.  The problem originates with a significant number of project managers that are promoted or released with less than two completed projects under their belt. This leaves the managers to rely on design consultants with significant experience to take the ideas to market.

Managers can experience a great deal of trouble for delivering an offering that fails to work well technically, but that’s only half the problem with successfully developing a product that ultimately may not have an existing market.  The current risk environment of the technology market rewards managers for playing it safe by focusing on incremental innovation, feature development, performance improvements and cost cutting rather than market creation. One of the most recent examples of this are Apple’s latest offerings.  Apple was the company whose products were paradigm and culture shifting, giving us technological advancements that we had yet to discover we even needed.  However, their latest products are much less a breakthrough in innovation than a slight marketable performance increase.

Our own innate human intuition biases contribute to this trend with new product development. These factors often result in product line extension rather than new and unique business opportunities.  The three most common biases that are in effect are:

  1. Hard-win Easy: being overly optimistic  of an ability to perform and achieve easy wins
  2. Pro-innovation: narrow focus on the positive sides of innovation
  3. Anchoring effect: tendency to stick with the first idea that comes to mind

The cycle of incremental innovation and even mediocrity can be broken with new behaviors and  novel processes for manager as well as designers. The dependency on historical data for sharing  business cases and creating business endeavors has also formed a bias for learning.  This bias can lead to a false sense of direction and confidence.  Modifying the current Design Thinking process could be the answer to this bias.  Combined with the Design & Business Model Experimentation, it can assist teams in challenging current assumptions and can produce truly clever ideas. 

 The Design & Business Model Experimentation + Design Thinking method has four steps: 

I. Creation of a Business Strategy
II. Business Model Experimentation
III. Formulation of Business Plan and Inspirational Design Brief
IV. Design Thinking: The step-by-step execution, which is described and visualized in the following: 

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Acknowledgement of limited project management skills, incentive towards minor product upgrades and an intuitive bias against innovation is a good starting point for change.  The next step is a committed effort to apply new processes to address the bias challenge.  With consistent practice competitive advantages can be built into bridging business and design and when that happens, it becomes the new normal and it then becomes impossible to return to doing business as usual.