Business Design Club Bootcamp 2011

Business Design...  At first, it sounds very artsy and abstract, like one of those concept cars, it looks pretty sweet & futuristic, but you're not sure if it really runs.  But like any car, it doesn't matter how cool anyone tells you it is, you need to drive it yourself, before you can get a real feel for it.  Business Design is much the same way for me, I had to immerse myself in it, before I could really understand it.  Which is why the Business Design Club (BDC) Bootcamp was so invaluable & amazing. According to Rotman, Business Design is a discipline that applies design-inspired practices to tough business innovation challenges, and the BDC Bootcamp is but just a glimpse into that discipline.  Business Design is about asking the essential question 'Why?' and changing the way that businesses think about their clients, themselves, and their problems.

Business cannot exist, survive or succeed without their customers, and so Business Design teaches you to put that customer at the core of your problem analysis and innovation through the three gears.  You're swimming in a sea of Post-Its, as you going beyond the obvious, deeper to better understand your customer, their story, and what drives them, from an emotional and rational point of view, and exploring their needs to see where they form a bond with your product or service, and where can we meet that unmet need, to not just meet their needs, but wow them!  Wowing your customers requires ideas, and Business Design takes this brainstorming phase into high gear, as no idea is too wild or too crazy or too out of the box, as long as it meets your customers needs.  Out of all those wild ideas, emerges one big idea which will wow your customers, and so you take that amazing idea and play it out in a story, a journey for your customers to experience that concept from start to finish and beyond, because Business Design doesn't stop when your customer receives a solution for their unmet need, but rather beyond that, how they feel after they've experienced that solution.  This idea solution story can be as wild as possible, because you take those out-of-the-box ideas and experience, and see how your business can meet that experience; ideas may be toned down a little to be more practical for your business, its strategic objectives and its resources, but the essence of placing your customers at the core of your innovation, and wowing them with all your available resources still remains strong.  With Business Design and its strategic customer-focused innovation, you can only strengthen the connection and the bond that your customer shares with you and your product, which can only mean good news for your bottom line.

Throughout the day, we not only learned about Business Design and its three gears, but we were also able to put it into practice, with different groups assigned to different hypothetical clients, to meet their customers' unmet needs.  Although initially it took a while to get our creative juices flowing, our group really got into the spirit and process of Business Design, with ideas bursting at the seams for our hypothetical client, United Way.  We were challenged to be even more creative, to go beyond our expectations, and at the end of the day, we presented an amazingly, wonderfully, wild idea, 'The Red Balloon Campaign' for our client, and learned how important curiosity and those out-there ideas are all essential to wowing your customers.  As the day drew to a close, it was a little sad to have the BDC Bootcamp come to an end, it was an amazing experience, and by far, the most exciting event of Q1 & Q2 combined!

I think I was trying to negotiate a way to keep my red balloon! :P

The BDC Bootcamp wasn't just an introduction to business design and design thinking, but a call to reawaken your mind, and remembering to be curious again about the world and its little quirks.  It was almost like learning to be a kid again, when you were filled with curiosity and wonder, and your world was filled with questions like "Why is the sky blue?" "Why can't I touch the clouds?" "Why don't people fly like birds?" and "Why don't we have cookie trees?"

Although a day-long workshop is nowhere near sufficient to understand the immense breadth of business design, it was an incredibly exciting opportunity.  But that's the beauty of it, you can never learn enough of it, and you constantly want to throw yourself in deeper, in order to better understand its beauty and its relevance to today's & tomorrow's business & world challenges, and embrace curiosity.