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The Designing for Growth Field Book

The Designing for Growth Field Book: A Step-by-Step Project Guide

Jeanne Liedtka
Tim Ogilvie
Rachel Brozenske
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  • Book Info
    The Designing for Growth Field Book
    Book Description:

    InDesigning for Growth: A Design Thinking Tool Kit for Managers(D4G), Jeanne Liedtka and Tim Ogilvie showed how design can boost innovation and drive growth. In this companion guide, also suitable as a stand-alone project workbook, the authors provide a step-by-step framework for applying the D4G toolkit and process to a particular project, systematically explaining how to address the four key questions of their design thinking approach.

    The field book maps the flow of the design process within the context of a specific project and reminds readers of key D4G takeaways as they work. The text helps readers identify an opportunity, draft a design brief, conduct research, establish design criteria, brainstorm, develop concepts, create napkin pitches, make prototypes, solicit feedback from stakeholders, and run learning launches. The workbook demystifies tools that have traditionally been the domain of designers -- from direct observation to journey mapping, storytelling, and storyboarding -- that power the design thinking process and help businesses align around a project to realize its full potential.

    eISBN: 978-0-231-53708-7
    Subjects: Management & Organizational Behavior, Business

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-viii)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. ix-x)
  3. The Four Questions
    (pp. 1-4)

    Because our goal in addressing a challenge is to envision and implement an improved future state, it is always tempting to jump right to the future and get started solving. Many managers have been taught that creative thinking starts with brainstorming solutions. But the design process is human-centered and starts with the present, not the future—it begins with what is happening now. Innovative ideas are generated from insights about the current reality for real users, and without those insights, the imagination starves. That is why the Whatisstage is so important.

    Whatisstarts with the identification of...

  4. The Steps

    • Step 1: Identify an Opportunity
      (pp. 6-7)

      So that’s it! Four simple questions. And we’re ready to get started. We’ll begin by making sure you’ve got the right kind of problem to work on.

      As you identify your growth opportunity, it’s important to consider whether design thinking is a fit for solving it. Design thinking is an approach to solving problems especially suited to conditions of high uncertainty. It is a set of methods that manage risk by placing small bets fast. This approach is not suitable for every challenge. In many cases, more linear methods may work better. For operational challenges where the required change is...

    • Step 2: Scope Your Project
      (pp. 8-9)

      Framing a project and refining its scope are crucial for effectively pursuing new opportunities. Use the framework on the facing page to expand (or focus) your thinking about your project.

      Start by thinking about your project in terms of the area of opportunity you want to explore, and write that in the center box. Try to start your statement with an action verb. (For example, if you’re working to improve online ordering for a clothing retailer, your initial statement could be something like, “Help people buy clothes for work.”)

      Then, explore your project from both broader and narrower perspectives. Is...

    • Step 3: Draft Your Design Brief
      (pp. 10-11)

      A well-constructed project process is rooted in a design brief that clarifies the scope of the project, its intent, the questions it hopes to explore, and the target group of stakeholders—internal and external—that it wants to explore them with. The design brief keeps you focused on your business objectives and the strategic opportunities and vulnerabilities your project is meant to address.

      We spend time carefully thinking through our plans and ambitions because even though our environment is full of uncertainty, the management of our design project doesn’t need to be. Since some key elements of the design process...

    • Step 4: Make Your Plans
      (pp. 12-15)

      Every challenge is different, so take some time to develop a plan that’s custom-made for your challenge. Think about your time frame. Consider what tools you might use. (Hint: There’s a great planning guide on the facing page.) Will you work alone or with others? (Hint: The more the merrier, especially when exploring Whatisand Whatif) Where will you work? (Hint: A “war room” or other location where you can hang posters helps.) When will you get started? The sooner the better!

      There are three different elements you will want to consider explicitly: activities (what tools you will...

    • Step 5: Do Your Research
      (pp. 16-17)

      OK. You’ve made your plans. Now it’s time to dive in and begin exploring Whatis.

      First you’re going to gather some data. Here you have some choices, which you considered when developing your research plan as part of Step 4. Take time to review these again, using the list of tools in the back of this field book.

      To familiarize yourself and get the lay of the land—as well as to begin to identify some of the major trends that might be impacting your project and the opportunity—you might want to begin with secondary research (page 44.)...

    • Step 6: Identify Insights
      (pp. 18-19)

      Now it is time to look for patterns and insights in the large quantity of data you’ve collected during your exploration of Whatis.The goal here is to establish the criteria for the Whatifidea generation stage, which comes next. You move to this step when you feel like you have collected representative data from each relevant stakeholder group—colleagues, customers, suppliers, partners, and your own operations—and are eager to begin generating new ideas. For many people, identifying insights is the most difficult part of the design process. Usually, you cannot expect a stakeholder to come up...

    • Step 7: Establish Design Criteria
      (pp. 20-21)

      The result of your mind mapping is the creation of a set of design criteria, a succinct expression of the ideal end state of your project. They describe the ideal qualities or attributes of a great solution, but not the solution itself. That part comes next, during Whatif.

      This translation process is usually pretty straightforward. If your insight was “Technology makes it hard for people to do their job,” your design criteria for an ideal solution might be “uses technology that helps people do their jobs” or “only utilizes technology that doesn’t get in the way.”

      Taking each individual...

    • Step 8: Brainstorm Ideas
      (pp. 22-23)

      We’ve all had experiences in brainstorming sessions that were, well, less than inspiring. In fact, we find that brainstorming has a pretty bad reputation. Regardless, design thinking requires the deliberate generation of a lot—a whole lot—of possibilities. Here are some tips to fuel your brainstorming efforts.

      Assemble a diverse set of people. Success in brainstorming comes from using small, diverse groups, as free as possible from internal political considerations. Brainstorming cannot abide groupthink, so it is essential to go way beyond the project’s core team.

      Work with a clearly stated challenge. The brainstorming team must focus on a...

    • Step 9: Develop Concepts
      (pp. 24-25)

      Concept development is the act of choosing the best ideas from brainstorming and assembling them into an array of detailed solutions. You want to build multiple concepts so that you can offer a choice to your primary audience, your stakeholder. Think of your ideas as individual Legos—it is time to build some cool creations by combining them in different ways.

      Most of us are accustomed to concluding a brainstorming session by selecting our favorite ideas from among the sea of Post-it notes. This is like a chef who takes all the best vegetables from the farmers’ market and dumps...

    • Step 10: Create Some Napkin Pitches
      (pp. 26-27)

      The napkin pitch provides a simple, consistent format for summarizing and communicating new concepts. The name derives from the notion that a good idea can (and should) be communicated simply—so simply that it would fit on the back of a napkin. Because napkins tend to jam printer trays, we’ve translated the concept into a one-page template that might not be useful for wiping your hands but will do a great job of letting you and your team work on multiple innovation concepts in parallel.

      For a given concept, the napkin pitch describes the target stakeholders, their unmet need, and...

    • Step 11: Surface Key Assumptions
      (pp. 28-29)

      Before we start bringing a napkin pitch to life, we need to surface the key assumptions underlying the attractiveness of a concept and to use data to assess the likelihood that these assumptions are true. This approach acknowledges that any business concept is actually a hypothesis—a well-informed guess about what stakeholders want and what they will value. Like any hypothesis, a new business concept is built on assumptions that must be valid in order for the hypothesis to be “true,” so testing them is essential. Projects fail because reality turns out to be different than you thought it would...

    • Step 12: Make Prototypes
      (pp. 30-31)

      Rapid prototyping is the creation of visual (and sometimes experiential) manifestations of concepts. It is an iterative set of activities, done quickly, aimed at transforming the concepts generated in the Whatifstage into feasible, testable models. You build prototypes as the next step in the assumption testing process. In prototyping, you’re giving your concepts detail, form, and nuance—you bring them to life. Larry Keeley, of Doblin, an innovation consultancy, calls prototyping “faking a new business fast.”

      The first role of a prototype is to help us figure out what to build. Only later, after users have interacted with...

    • Step 13: Get Feedback from Stakeholders
      (pp. 32-33)

      Stakeholder or customer co-creation is the process of engaging potential stakeholders/customers in the development of new concepts. It involves putting some rough prototypes in front of them, observing their reactions, and using the results to iterate your way to an improved concept. If you want your innovations to be meaningful to those you are trying to create value for, you need to invite them into your process.

      In our Six Sigma world, which values perfection and polish, we tend to get anxious about showing stakeholders unfinished, unpolished “stuff.” But innovation is about learning—and stakeholders/customers have the most to teach...

    • Step 14: Run Your Learning Launches
      (pp. 34-35)

      Learning launches are experiments conducted in the real world quickly and inexpensively. They form a bridge between co-creation and a rollout. In contrast to a full new-product rollout, a learning launch’s success is about not how much you sell but how much you learn. The goal of each launch is to test some of the remaining critical assumptions (which you surfaced in Step 11) about why this is an attractive concept.

      Use the learning launch tool when you are ready to ask stakeholders to put some skin in the game. Merely asking what they think, however useful for developing a...

    • Step 15: Design the On-Ramp
      (pp. 36-37)

      When you design your new experience, you naturally will be obsessed with how the experience works when customers use it. But you also have to ask yourself, “How will those users get here in the first place?” That is, how do customers learn about the offering, try it out, become regular users, and enlist others?

      Think of this as the on-ramp. To simply call it the customer acquisition strategy is to risk demoting it to a page in a PowerPoint deck. Instead, the on-ramp must be brainstormed, prototyped, co-created, and iterated just as carefully as the solution it serves. (And...

    • What Now? What Next?
      (pp. 38-40)

      At this point you might ask, “What’s next?” If your learning launch results suggest the concept is unlikely to succeed, you may decide to table this challenge and shift your attention to a more promising opportunity.

      If, on the other hand, you and your team are encouraged by the results of the learning launch, then it’s time to iterate. You’ll want to:

      Brainstorm solutions to the parts that failed during the learning launch (Step 8)

      Revise your concept and napkin pitch (Steps 9 and 10)

      Refine your key assumptions (Step 11)

      Create a higher-fidelity prototype (Step 12)

      Develop ways to...

  5. The Tools

    • Secondary Research
      (pp. 44-45)

      Just because you are using design thinking and incorporating ethnography, it doesn’t mean you should ignore the quantitative or qualitative data you’ve already got. Past research reports, user surveys, performance data, and financial reports can all be important additions to your Whatisgallery. Not only do they contribute to a richer picture of current reality, but including this information may also be reassuring to any of your colleagues who are a touch skeptical about your design thinking approach.

      Your opportunity will also be influenced by larger trends and uncertainties in the environment, and secondary research is a great place...

    • Direct Observation
      (pp. 46-47)

      Innovative solutions depend upon fresh insights, and direct observation often yields the crucial clues. As researchers of the user experience, we need to eliminate our own biases and learn more about the discrepancy between what people say and what people do. Through the practice of direct observation, we can uncover unexpected attitudes, behaviors, and embedded meanings that will allow us to generate truly innovative solutions.

      At its core, direct observation is about stepping into the user’s “native habitat” and capturing the full context, without interpretation or judgment. Imagine you are part of a talented, multidisciplinary team of scientists and that...

    • Ethnographic Interviews
      (pp. 48-49)

      Ethnography is the study of human cultures. For innovation and growth teams, this means studying users in ways that capture the full context of their experience, including behaviors, attitudes, beliefs, and cultural meaning. The goal is to identify unmet, unarticulated needs that will help you create a compelling new solution. Here are the steps to follow:

      1. Select people to interview. You might identify specific individuals based on their relationship to your challenge, or pick random people who share the primary characteristics of your primary stakeholders.

      2. Develop an interview guide. Keep your questions open-ended and exploratory. Questions that begin...

    • Job to Be Done
      (pp. 50-51)

      This tool looks at users’ behavior on the basis of their underlying needs, rather than the traditional marketing lens of demographic segmentation. JTBD fundamentally repositions the question from “What do customers want?” to “What job do they want their purchases to do?” A person doesn’t want to own a quarter-inch drill, for example, but instead wants to hire a quarter-inch drill to do the job of creating a quarter-inch hole. JTBD is a way to understand what motivates a customer to seek a solution. We are then able to identify gaps in the market and build solutions for specific “jobs.”...

    • Value Chain Analysis
      (pp. 52-53)

      Value chain analysis is the study of your interaction with partners to create value and deliver your offerings to internal or external customers. From it emerge important clues about your partners’ capabilities and intentions and your unit’s vulnerabilities and opportunities. It is the business-side equivalent of customer journey mapping, highlighting the “pain points” and opportunities in the collaboration with upstream and downstream partners to deliver a product or service.

      1. Draw the value chain for your business by identifying each cluster of activities, working backward from the end point of the value delivered to customers. An important (and often tricky)...

    • Journey Mapping
      (pp. 54-55)

      Journey mapping is the representation, in a flowchart or other graphic format, of the stakeholder’s experience as he or she works to accomplish something of importance to him or her. These maps can depict the stakeholder’s actual or ideal journey. Journey maps can be used throughout the design thinking process and are especially valuable during Whatisas a method for documenting stakeholders’ current reality.

      1. Select the stakeholder whose experience you want to understand more fully. Spend some time investigating his or her context and situation. (An ethnographic interview is a great way to do that. You may also...

    • Personas
      (pp. 56-57)

      Personas are archetypes—fictional characters we create that typify different types of stakeholders. Though we create them based on the real information that we gather during our Whatisresearch, they usually represent a synthesis of characteristics of different people we have interviewed, rather than one actual person. We use them to bring our stakeholders to life—not as demographic descriptions or people to be sold to but as flesh-and-blood people with names, challenges, hopes, and dreams. We then use these to try to identify particular design criteria and design specific new solutions for each attractive persona.

      You can develop...

    • 360 Empathy
      (pp. 58-59)

      Brainstorming can easily generate a hundred ideas for a particular challenge. But which few of the hundred are worth exploring further? The ones that are most responsive to the unmet needs. The sensing of unmet needs—especially unarticulated needs—requires deep empathy with users. One of the simplest methods to forge this emotional connection is through 360 empathy. You can use this analytic approach immediately after conducting ethnographic interviews or direct observation.

      Using the template, we can connect with the user’s emotional world by entering through his or her senses. Start by labeling the challenge or opportunity using 20 words...

    • Creating Posters
      (pp. 60-61)

      Once you’ve gathered this much data, the next challenge is to figure out how to share it. In a lot of our organizations, we find that this quickly becomes an exercise in PowerPoint. We put oodles of information into charts and graphs and tables and bullet points. Then, we either ask people to read it on their own or we bring everyone into a conference room and walk through it slide by slide.

      We prefer a different approach when it comes to sharing our findings in Whatis.We like to use posters: sheets of paper, roughly 24 x 36...

    • Brainstorming
      (pp. 62-67)

      Traditional blue-sky brainstorming can generate new ideas, but these sessions are often bogged down by extroverts and rehashed ideas from last year. Instead of blue sky, try a session using bluecards.Here’s how you do it:

      1. Develop a list of trigger questions that range from the familiar (“How will mobile affect this problem?”) to the provocative (“How could crowdsourcing be used here?”). The more customized to your challenge, the better.

      2. Present the first trigger question to the group, and invite each person to work silently and write down at least three ideas on blue cards (or Post-it...

    • Anchors
      (pp. 68-69)

      After brainstorming is when many innovation teams get stuck, and it’s easy to see why. Either they can’t decide what to do next, or they decide to do one—and only one—thing. Both are failure modes. And in both cases, choosing good concept anchors is the way out.

      Consider the innovation team that brainstorms 100 ideas, struggles to form them into three to five concepts, and then observes that there really are just a few elements they all believe in. So they decide in the conference room which single concept to take forward. This last step is a mistake!...

    • Bring-Build-Buy Map
      (pp. 70-71)

      Forming concepts requires us to link the demand chain—based on our user insights—with a supply chain capable of meeting that demand. To see new possibilities in the supply chain, it can be helpful to draw a map of the relevant capabilities and which firms might provide them.

      The Bring-Build-Buy map shown here is a way to see those possibilities. Think of it as a make-buy template with unmet needs as the North Star.

      Set the template up on a poster or whiteboard, with room for eight to ten Post-it notes in each of the rectangles.

      Complete this template...

    • Forced Connections
      (pp. 72-73)

      Serendipity and surprise are powerful drivers of creativity in the concept development process. The forced connections method of building concepts stretches our minds to find links in unexpected places by juxtaposing seemingly unrelated outputs of your brainstorming as the building blocks of new concepts.

      This method is best used with a group of four to six people. Begin with the Post-it notes you generated during your brainstorming.

      1. Look at all the ideas you have posted. Individually, take a minute to consider which ideas or combination of ideas you think deserve further focus.

      2. Get three people from your group...

    • Combinatorial Play
      (pp. 74-75)

      Combinatorial play is a systematic way of mixing and matching the “ingredients” of your ideas. Remember back in algebra class when you learned about combinations and permutations? Suffice it to say that when you start to play mix-and-match, a handful of individual ideas can transform into a mountain of possible concepts. Some of the resulting combinations might be wacky (or downright nonsensical), but this method of concept development will ensure that you don’t overlook any possible solutions.

      1. Gather your brainstormed ideas.

      2. Clean up your list of ideas by eliminating redundancies, seeing what is missing, and adding ideas where...

    • Visualization Basics
      (pp. 76-77)

      Visualization is fundamental to design thinking, and it has application at every step of the process. Remember, we are envisioning an improved future, working in the unknown, and relying on collaborators to help shape the results. So we depend upon visual methods to make our thinking accessible to others, so they can contribute to the problem-solving process.

      Different forms of visualization are appropriate at different stages. Step 12, Make Prototypes, describes several forms that may be useful at that step. The full range of choices includes:

      Storytelling (described more on page 78)



      Photo montage


      Storyboarding (described more...

    • Storytelling
      (pp. 78-79)

      Stories are an innovator’s best friend. They bring collaborators to a project the way nectar brings bees to a flower. That’s because stories are a time-efficient, memorable way to answer both the “What” and the “So What?” of a project. The human brain receives facts and data, but it participates in stories by:

      Visualizing the details

      Rooting for the protagonist

      Investing in the outcome

      These elements are crucial to help your collaborators suspend their skepticism and help you discover what might be possible. The story can take many forms, including (1) a short prose narrative, (2) a series of images...

    • Storyboarding
      (pp. 80-81)

      A visual story (also referred to as a storyboard) can make your concept even more tangible. Storyboards are useful prototypes any time a concept will change a significant part of the stakeholder’s journey. They’re particularly handy for things that aren’t tangible—like processes or systems—and often serve as a launching pad for cocreation. (Just show your stakeholder a storyboard, and have him or her add key dialog or narration.)

      The storyboard itself looks a bit like a cartoon strip from the Sunday funnies. It’s a series of six to ten glimpses into the stakeholder’s journey or the concept in...

    • Co-Creation Tools
      (pp. 82-84)

      Any time a potential user helps you modify or enhance your concept, that represents co-creation. Co-creation always relies on stimulus—some representation of a concept that the user can interact with, whether physically or with his or her imagination. Here are some of the most useful co-creation tools we’ve found.

      The storyboard is a great format because it so efficiently communicates the experience while leaving plenty of white space for users to overlay their interpretation. A linear storyboard takes them on a fixed route, like a train. If you use a linear storyboard, be sure to present an alternative storyboard...

  6. Templates
    (pp. 85-98)
  7. Resources
    (pp. 99-106)
  8. An Example Project
    (pp. 107-132)
  9. Acknowledgments
    (pp. 133-134)