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Brandwave-logo-6.png |Design & Innovation | oct '17

THE ALLURE OF innovation has always been in the chance of finding the next “big thing;” however, businesses often find themselves on the treadmill of relentless innovation as markets mature and technology advances. In addition, innovation has a poor track record of delivering commercial success for businesses. Often, the value of the innovation requires a broader system of products and services for the true benefit of experience to be available to consumers.

Great customer experience is both a necessity and an advantage as competition for customers intensifies. Unfortunately those that use this to their advantage are often the nimble start-ups who emerge free from legacy constraints. They can often set the bar higher than many pre-existing businesses will be able to meet.

Yet the growing complexity of operating in the omni-channel world where the customer relationship is always on, makes understanding — let alone improving and existing customer experience a challenge for all. The journey a customer has with a business typically crosses multiple functions and managers. Customers often wind up dealing with a headless beast of experiences with inefficient communication and too many businesses make the mistake of assuming that superficial design efforts can fix the problems.

The age of image as brand is closing and fixing the experience at the 11th hour through brilliant design cannot create value that doesn’t exist. Businesses must accept the limitations of placing blind-faith in innovation and brand and focus on keeping customers engaged, without sacrificing the quality of the experience, while developing new products and grow into new markets.

The key is to understand that engaging customers in experiences they find value in. Innovation, brand, and customer experience all support this goal, but they aren’t the end-goals in and of themselves.

The successful businesses will be the ones that learn to navigate the most efficient course, keep the passengers happiest, build faster engines, all while keeping the plane in the air. They will use a new playbook that begins with understanding the strategic role of experience and how to use it to design products, services and customer interactions accordingly.

This playbook has a name: experience design. It’s based on a simple idea that everything a business does should be based on the following assumptions:

  • An engaged customer is worth more than a loyal customer
  • Engagement comes from meeting expectations, which means being relevant, which means providing value
  • It’s more expensive to acquire a new customer than to keep an existing one, so figure out how to grow value for existing customers while they still are customers.

Experience design is not a checklist, a recipe, or a series of maneuvers; it is a way of thinking. It uses brand as a compass for identifying differentiated value and experience. It considers how products, services, and solutions play a role in delivering value over time and how this must be accounted for even in the early phases of innovation or the product design process. It considers all stages of the customer journey as opportunities to provide value and further engage customers. And it brings the concept of time to the table as a way of exploring options, innovation, implications, and interdependencies.

Experience design doesn’t replace innovation. It complements the efforts. Innovation should augment and extend the current portfolio and brand. Innovation for existing products, services, and customer experiences is low hanging fruit and doesn’t require hiring innovation consultants. It starts with visibility into how you act and then fixing problems and enhancing strengths.

Deeper innovation efforts can begin by looking at the interface between what is changing at the limits of value you provide and the emerging needs of your customer, since you will use value to drive adoption. And innovation can’t occur in a vacuum. It’s never too soon to start planning for how a new product or service integrates along the lifetime of the customer relationship.

Experience design doesn’t replace brand strategy, but pushes beyond the traditional approach of defining brands. It advocates using the concept behind the brand as a way to identify and define value for customers in ways that can be differentiated in the way that products and services deliver value. And this becomes the purpose and intent of the business — to deliver products, services, and experiences that deliver the value that the brand represents, as a way of giving the brand meaning.

But it also means measuring that value from the customer’s perspective, and continually investigating new areas of value that are natural extensions for the brand. When you look at the world in this way, it becomes easier and more natural to proactively identify gaps between what a customer may need or expect, and what they are likely to get. And this can also become a framework for ongoing evaluation and modeling change as new products and services are considered.

Experience design provides a way for the business and the designer to both discuss objectives and options. It creates a way for business to invite design to the table earlier, and understand how design can help solve problems. And it also helps businesses rethink how they engage design partners in ways that are more likely to produce success with less risk.

It’s time to start the conversation about how the integrated view of experience design can change how we pose and solve the problems ahead.

Source wired

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As the world’s best-selling manufacturer of luxury cars, creativity has been important to the success of the BMW Group. A century-old company, it has achieved an impressive tradition of innovation.

Now, however, as a tidal wave of change is sweeping through its industry, the need for rapid innovation at BMW has become more urgent than ever before. For example, as a result of autonomous driving, they expect their business to change more over the next decade than it has during the past 30 years. The escalating reality of cars without a human driver means coming to terms with new customer habits and expectations, changing global markets and all-new competitors as tech companies foray into their industry.

To stay ahead, BMW realized the importance of accelerating its innovation process into a more systematic approach, and they also quickly understood that the workplace could play a pivotal role in that effort.

The BMW Innovationswerk facility, in a suburb just north of the Munich headquarters, is a new center where innovations and new technologies can occur in a novel way. With the help of their design partner for spatial strategies Die Planstelle, Steelcase and IDEO, it was purposefully planned for cross-functional teams doing forward-facing explorations into the cars of the future. Here, the essential modes of creative work — focusing, collaborating, socializing and respite – are optimally supported.

“We wanted to create a special place to innovate with users at the center to support the process. And this is exactly what the space does,” says Sebastian Schelper, who headed the Innovationswerk project for the BMW Group from 2013 till 2016.



According to Schelper, to reinforce the importance of fluid thinking, there are no right-angle walls anywhere at Innovationswerk. Natural materials such as wood walls blend with industrial surfaces such as concrete floors. The furniture was carefully chosen to add stimulating color and texture. Most important, Innovationswerk was designed to holistically support the creative process across the full spectrum of their workplace needs. “It’s a human place,” is Schelper’s simplest explanation for why Innovationswerk works so well.
The heart of the facility is three large enclosed team rooms. They are the primary workspaces for teams that iterate a project over several months or up to a year. Integrated large-scale boards provide persistent visibility for photos, notes, sketches, reactions and ideas – a wealth of informational and inspirational content gained during primary observational research. The boards become a tangible, immersive context for the work of the team. They also serve as an interactive canvas where the teams can synthesize diverse streams of information into actionable opportunities.

Nearby, a small “tinker lab” allows teams to quickly prototype their concepts, and a videoconferencing room means they can easily connect with people outside the facility to collaborate and gain expertise.

“We wanted to create a special place to innovate with users at the center to support the process. And this is exactly what the space does,” SEBASTIAN SCHELPER Head of Innovationswerk project, BMW



Just outside the team rooms is a large open area where smaller groups can break away to focus on specific problems. Alternatively, an entire team can use this space as a secondary focus area if the scope of their work has outgrown their room, or if they want to put their work in a different context to gain a different perspective. There’s plenty of room for prototypes here—even an entire car can be driven into the space.

A much smaller space that’s equally important to the creative process is an enclosed meditation room offering inspiring views of nearby trees and fields. “When you’re dealing with so much information, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed,” explains Schelper. “You can go into the meditation room to take a break, center your thoughts or get connected with your intuition. You can even take a nap here. It’s part of the whole ecosystem of spaces that support people’s needs.”

Near the entrance is an open kitchen and lounge area. This is a place for informal collaboration and socializing, with teammates as well as colleagues from BMW Munich locations who use Innovationswerk as an occasional drop-in workspace. In this way, the facility is “a unique magnet,” says Schelper, where serendipitous interactions often result in gaining useful knowledge and perspectives.

As important as each of the Innovationswerk spaces is to the process of creative work, it’s their immediate adjacencies that assure a holistic solution. When spaces are too far away from each other, Schelper notes, they don’t get used often. As a result, some important aspects of creative work are underserved. Nurturing creative work means supporting a multiplicity of thinking modes and needs, without prioritizing one over another.

“A key thing I’ve learned from this project is that creativity is really a combination of analytical pondering of a problem as well as letting your inspiration and intuition flow,” Schelper concludes. “It’s the combination of both that is facilitated by this space and makes it a success.”

Source Steelcase  

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Leading By Design Conference

Leading By Design Conference from Brandcell on Vimeo.

Livework and Brandcell  held a conference on “Leading by design” at the Beirut Design fair on Sep 21st with the aim of showcasing how design is impacting businesses today with a focus on three themes that are pressing topics for organizations: customer experience, the shift from products to services, and digitalization. The Team shared then practical cases of how companies are using strategic design to tackle these challenges followed by a reflection on patterns seen across industries and previsions for the future. A panel discussion followed the conference with experts from the academic, social and business fields.

Design thinking is a framework that combines critical thinking, cross functional collaboration, empathy, iteration, and curiosity to deliver innovative solutions. Many companies are leveraging design thinking principles to grow their businesses.

Here are some of our favorite examples.

1) Airbnb

In 2009, Airbnb’s revenue income was limping. At one point the company was earning a mere $200 a week. What happened? How did Airbnb go from anemic to titanic?

The Airbnb team realized that rental listings had poor quality pictures. So, several of the team members flew out to New York and took their own high quality pictures which they then placed on their website. The result? A 100% increase in revenue ($400). Instead of focusing on scalability, the team turned inward and asked ‘what does the customer need?’ By applying a design thinking methodology to their business, Airbnb had turned a corner.

Their New York experience became a miniature experiment from which the team learnt some big lessons, one of which was that empathy could be just as important as code for a business’ success


2) Ericsson’s Innova

The Swedish telecom giant has leveraged design thinking principles to build its own innovation center called Innova. Innova is similar to a startup incubator but only runs within the company. Internal ideas run through funding rounds (similar to VC financing).

Innova emphasizes the importance of rapid prototyping to get an MVP (minimum viable product) in front of the stakeholders. Furthermore, Innova creates cross functional teams in order to connect the teams with company partners and customers.

Since its creation over five years ago, 4000 ideas have been submitted to Innova, with 450 getting first round funding, 45 receiving second round funding, and 5 ideas having become products.


3) Burberry

Burberry, located in London, is a global luxury fashion producing clothing, fashion accessories, fragrances, cosmetics, and sunglasses. In 2006, the global fashion, accessory, and fragrance company’s sales were tepid as Burberry was growing at a mere 2% per year.

In order to grow revenue, the new CEO Angela Arhendts understood that the company need to connect with a digital demographic that reaches for their phone in moments of want or need. Design thinking hammers home the importance of designing with the end user in mind. Empathy can unlock new potential for a company.

Angela and her team decided to innovate around Burberry’s core heritage while reaching out to “the luxury customers of the future: millennials.” The company crafted a marketing strategy that connected with the values of a younger customer base, that was “cool and innovative,” and would convince younger people to become loyal customers.


Burberry created a personalized marketing campaign that connected with a younger demographic. For example, the company invested in building their social media presence, with their Facebook page gaining more than 1 million followers by 2011, the largest at that time for a luxury brand.   

By the end of 2012, revenues had risen to $3 billion, and Burberry had transformed itself into one of the most digitally innovative brands. The insights gained from developing empathy with a business’ end user can lift the organization. Though Burberry does not use the phrase “design thinking,” their human centered approach draws from its most important processes and principles.


4), a web-based personal financial management website, allows users to see where their money is, where it moving, and to view each separate account from their phone, computer or tablet. Bank accounts, investments, and credit cards can easily be synchronized on Mint, which then categorizes the expenses to help the user visualize their spending.

Drawing on a human-centered insight, the team noticed that financial software was time-consuming and cumbersome. The team designed an easy to use software that implemented a mobile platform and aggregated data.

Part of’s success is that the creators employed empathy to design a website that enables to easily track how they are spending money. Even though the company does not specifically refer to design thinking in its creative process, their human-centered design demonstrates they built a product that illustrates a core principle of design thinking: truly understanding the position and mindset of the user. quickly became a success. Within 2 years the company had 1.5 million customers and was purchased by Intuit for $170 million.

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In 2014 Kone targeted ambitious growth targets for their services business. To do this Kone needed to differentiate their offer in the market and re-think their sales approach to grow their business.


Working across four European countries Livework helped Kone define a new maintenance offer driven by a new understanding of customer needs, create a consultative sales approach that was both more effective and efficient -using digital tools to connect field sales to contracting and customer management systems.

“Truly customer centric insight lead to higher quality of concept. Collaboration with management was high and effective Integration with business teams much better than other Kone design projects” Ralf Thierling , Head of Maintenance Services
Design Thinking for Strategic Innovation
by by Idris Mootee

A comprehensive playbook for applied design thinking in business and management, complete with concepts and toolkits.As many companies have lost confidence in the traditional ways of running a business, design thinking has entered the mix.


1- Start With Why

2- Know Your Users and Get Them Involved

3- Experiment with Ideas

4- Build Prototypes

5- Test the Design

6-Track the Process

7-Tolerate Failures


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