As a business designer, I’m driven to help companies understand their customer and design products and services to meet their needs. Here are some of the tools I use on projects to help designers and clients alike generate and then stress test new ideas, approaches, and even business models.
I use the business design menu at the beginning of any project to help the core team understand how to utilize a business designer’s skillset. The menu was developed by the IDEO Cambridge business design community. It provides a list of typical activities and deliverables that business designers create on a typical IDEO design project.
I use this poster – devised by Alexander Osterwalder of Strategyzer – to help new and existing ventures understand their business model. Determining a business strategy shouldn’t be a heads-down activity, but rather a collaborative one. I recommend printing out the canvas as a big poster and using post-it notes to record ideas, moving them around as they develop over time.
I use the competitive analysis scan as a quick way to surface potential competitors or collaborators in a business environment. Like the business model canvas, this poster should be printed out and used a collaborative tool with designers and clients alike.
I use the willingness to pay index as a framework when trying to determine how much people are ready and able to spend for a specific product. It’s particularly helpful when building a prototype to test a particular aspect of a design.
I use these cards as catalysts to support generative thinking. Sometimes during brainstorms teams can get stuck. The future forward cards are designed to add a new element to the discussion – such as a twist in a company’s business model – that might help energize the discussion.