A New Discipline is on the Rise
The times of pure Design Thinking are over: Certainly, the last years have seen the rise of Design Thinking and similar processes that help entrepreneurs and managers to create more user-centered products and services. They are great tools to spawn desirability in customers. Nevertheless, they often fall short in creating a sustainable business model. Business Design is the remedy to this problem.
Business Design is on the rise. In the last years a series of influential books has been published with a clear focus on the creation and development of business models. They got special notice in the startup scene and beyond.
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The Business Models
Business Design Shows a New Way to Approach Business Models
The business model has always been an important part of doing business, but recently the designing of businesses got a new urgency. It is the advance of startups, quickly changing markets, and evolving technological possibilities that make it ever more important to develop innovative business models and rethink traditional ones. These circumstances shorten the time that old business models can stay viable. Today there are technological opportunities that enable lean implementation of business models and make them change too fast for the long cycles of traditional R&D.
Business Design provides the tools and methods to develop and test a business model. At the same time it makes the difference between a service that is just a marketing stunt and one that is a sustainable business.
The Business Design Process
A Process Inspired by Lean Startup
Business Design is foremost a new systematic approach. It is based on articulating assumptions, testing with prototypes, iteration and fast learning. Usually we follow these three steps:
- Understand the market, its players, constituents and forces; translate cross-industry best practices and articulate assumptions.
- Develop a business model prototype, evaluate it and identify the most critical assumptions.
- Test your model, learn, and iterate.
In our daily work we closely collaborate in teams with service designers and software developers to deeply integrate our business model with the value proposition of our product.
The Business Design Mindset
Mindset, Skills and Tools Make a Successful Business Designer
Business Design helps us to understand the context of our businesses, develop new business models and test them quickly.
The mindset defines how a person approaches a task at hand. You can assess the mindset with questions like: How do you think? How do you approach a problem? Which mental models do you apply?
The mindset makes the difference between a great Business Designer and an average one, as the latter only uses the Business Design tools without a deeper understanding. However, this mindset is hard to learn quickly, instead it is usually learned from a range of past experiences.
The Business Design mindset includes designer approach, Lean Startup, user focus, entrepreneurship, curiosity, and collaboration.
A Business Designer uses these concepts to understand threats to an existing business, to spot new opportunities and to come up with novel ideas. At the same time, he is able to implement new concepts and test and iterate them to generate customer value. Thereby he creates sustainable business models.