3 Sep 2020Blog

Business Design supercharged in four days

Solita Business Design Masterclass is an interactive and intensive 4-(half)day online course that gets the participants kick-started on the journey to re-invent their business with design. It is a training for business leaders and practitioners to gain tools for growth and renewal. It is also a great pathway for experienced designers to gain concrete knowledge in business tools that they can implement in their work immediately.

We held Solita’s first Business Design Masterclass in May 2020 with great results. In addition to our client engagements, Solita’s Business Design competence proved to be well qualified in the context of teaching and learning through co-creation. Us Solitans and the participants of the Masterclass were privileged to enjoy the contribution of David Schmidt who is one of the most notable pioneers of Business Design in Europe. David joined us as one of the designers and facilitators of the class, having the role of a lecturer as well. Due to the success of our first Masterclass, we will hold another one in Sep 2021. The upcoming Masterclass is to be arranged with the same team.

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The class was naturally built in a remote work setting with the facilitators and the class participants all in their own locations. We received great overall feedback from the first Masterclass (NPS 67) and not least because of the smooth online execution of collaborative learning. Presenting material online is nothing new to us, but bringing together lecture-like teaching and collaborative group work with the participants (with changing groups) for four days was quite an opportunity for us to showcase our capabilities.

In our case, fitting the tools for the purpose is crucial; channels for communication and collaboration with enough breakouts and clear guidance proved to be essential. A reasonable degree of simplicity of frameworks also proves its value in online collaboration settings, as too much complexity might ruin the effectiveness of the task at hand. One particularly important aspect of online co-creation is to have an extra facilitator taking care of any issues that are faced by the participants as the digital literacy or connectivity issues can form variation in the speed of progress between participants.

Here is a sneak peek to the actual content of the Solita Business Design Masterclass to give a taste on what we will take our participants though again in September:

The first day is about setting the groundwork for Business Design and becoming familiar with the tools

We begin the actual content part by introducing the Business Design mindset – how Business Design combines different disciplines to form a coherent landscape for defining business in rapidly changing environments. We look at the basic elements of Business Design and establish its role as customer-centric and prototype-focused where innovation lies in the intersection of design, tech and business.

On Spring 2020 Masterclass we heard reflections from the participants mostly on the real life cases we presented, as well as the new business models that many of our participants had noticed in their respective industries.

Understanding customer needs

Day 2 learning objectives revolve around understanding why it is important to understand customer needs thoroughly and how to test business assumptions. The themes include customer insights with a business focus, business ecosystems and value networks.

Following the double-diamond design process we look at how understanding the problem, creating hypotheses and testing them fits into combining business goals with the endeavor. We establish the relevance of different types of useful data and go a bit further in understanding methods for business design.

“The class was an excellent way to get the shared language and tools for our team regarding business design.” Participant, Spring 2020

Day 3 is all about getting hands dirty and down to business

The focus is on business model innovation and unit economics. This means not only value proposition but also profit mechanisms and the value chain for creating the value proposition and delivering it to the customers. We used the “business model triangle” (by Gassman et al.) as a frame of reference to bring structure to team work.

In Spring 2020 Masterclass this was considered the best day by many, largely due to the hands-on exercises and new tools to use and adapt to own projects.

The final day’s learning goals

The final day’s learning goals are set to help participants build prototypes to reflect their assumptions and test their ideas with users. A key outcome of the session is the capability to plan under uncertain conditions and formulate a testable list of assumptions for a project.

The day starts by introducing planning new business through assumption-based planning and methods for prototyping and testing. The story continues with the mitigation of risks and uncertainties as the core function of the business design process. We look at prototyping and testing on a fundamental level before wrapping up the session and simultaneously the whole class.

The masterclass is built to provide the participant with a walkthrough from the business challenge to ways to try and authenticate it. For business leaders and strategy experts with complex business challenges that look for new ways to solve them, Solita Business Design Masterclass provides a great recipe. The class provides understanding of the business design process from ideation to implementation, hypothesis-driven way of working and tools for customer insight, all through hands-on training and experimentation. It is also a great opportunity to join a peer learning group of like-minded professionals.