Building Design Thinking in Academic Ecosystems
Business education uses a case study approach to build analytical and problem solving skills. Rather than teaching only theoretical aspects of design thinking, we preferred an empirical approach by asking students to solve a business challenge: How to grow a mid-sized distribution business viably and humanly in the VUCA Context.
To help students gain confidence and leverage their creative and entrepreneurial capabilities to launch desirable and viable innovation. Students in teams worked alongside the business owner and company team, facilitated by our experienced practitioners.
The Business Challenge
Extreme Adventure Sports, an 8-year old company, started by a young family business owner to import and distribute performance cycling and trekking gear wants to leverage their distribution and national retailer network to diversify into everyday sports gear like Running, Swimming and Cycling.
To build a profitable omni-channel experience for everyday fitness and outdoor enthusiasts as well as professional athletes.
Lab Process & Outcomes
Design Thinking Overview (Lab 0) 🌏
36 students were grouped in teams of 6 and were briefed about the case alongside the business owner and company team, facilitated by 3 of our experienced practitioners. Design thinking process and techniques were discussed
Discover Users (Lab 1) 🔍
A foundational user research was conducted wherein discovery interviews of the athletes were taken. These athletes were - Existing customers who were sports persons themselves Participants of running and cycling clubs Participants of local races A journey map was created from the user profiles identified that helped in synthesizing learning from interviews and observations
Define Opportunity Statement (Lab 2) 📏
An opportunity statement was framed by the team keeping in mind the convergent and divergent thinking Ask Why, What and Frame HMW (how might we) methods were practiced At the end of Day 1, insights were generated and the opportunity statements were framed together with 36 students, 3 facilitators and folks from the business team
Develop Idea (Lab 3) 🛠️
The five teams brainstormed a lot of ideas, after selecting one HMW (how might we) opportunity statement from the many they came up with. A Creative matrix (Customer Segment * solution category) was created after bundling the ideas discussed. The ideas were then segregated for each of the customer segments according to the following four solution categories- Events, Marketing, Promotional activities and Partnerships. ATL and BTL promotion strategy were discussed in detail for each of their ideas. The discussion pivoted towards creating membership plans for the brand.
Deliver Test (Lab 4) 📦
Probing questions were presented to the teams on the basis of which important and feasible ideas were prioritized. A storyboard was created to help visualize the concept from start to end, after which a pitch was prepared to help structure the solutions and make them better.
Next Steps ➡️
The business team took a rich pool of workable ideas with them from the Design Doing Action Learning Lab and are now evaluating the feasibility and viability of the Big Idea by way of experimentation.