Our innovation consulting
Always finding new inspiration, working out ideas and getting people excited about them: Creating innovations is not easy – but it is unavoidable. After all, the key to continuing to exist on the market and even growing lies in innovative strength. And so it is important for a company to constantly reinvent itself, to rethink well-worn processes, and to retain originality and ingenuity. To ensure that this succeeds, we support companies with innovation consulting. In doing so, we provide them with various methods and strategies that maintain the ability to innovate in the long term.
Design thinking initially focuses on a problem – which must be solved with the help of a good idea. Accordingly, the first step is to take a closer look at a problem and, on the basis of this, to define the users who will benefit from the solution. Thus, design thinking is a very user-oriented method. It generates a solution in a systematic and structured way – at the same time, an iterative process takes place at the very end. Design thinking usually consists of six phases.
A product or service aims to solve a problem or make life easier for users. The first phase is therefore about understanding the circumstances. The following questions will help: What is the problem? Who is affected? What are the framework conditions? What should be the final goal? The task in this step: formulate a Design Challenge – a project assignment that can be solved with Design Thinking.
In the second phase, everything revolves around potential users. The goal: empathize with them and find out their needs. To find these out, various methods are used in which the users themselves become active – such as explorative interviews or self-tests. Procedures in which users do not realize that they are being observed are also possible. The “Fly on the Wall” method is well-known and frequently used.
Define point of view
Now it’s a matter of compiling the information gathered up to that point and sharing it with the other team members. Together, the team analyzes and weighs the insights gained so far and draws further conclusions. Thus, the problem to be solved and the personality of the users take on clear forms. The findings can be summarized well in personas.
Then the creative phase of design thinking begins: The fourth phase serves to develop solution ideas for the posed problem – and as many as possible. The ideas are then prioritized, for example, using the Wow-How-Now method. At the end of this phase, the team agrees on the one or two ideas that seem most promising.
In the next step, the idea comes to life. The focus is on creating a prototype as quickly as possible and with minimal effort. This can also initially consist of only a sketch. Users test the prototype and give feedback. This helps to get to know the users even better and to further develop the prototype accordingly.
The central question: Does the idea meet the needs of the users? The first prototype is followed by others that are tested by users and further adapted to their needs – until the users recognize the idea as the ideal solution. If that does not succeed, other ideas go into development.
How long a Design Thinking process should ideally take depends heavily on the project in question. The situation is different with the Design Sprint – which is, in a sense, the streamlined version of Design Thinking. Thus, an interdisciplinary team has only five days to analyze a problem in a concentrated manner, develop a prototype, test it, optimize it further and then implement it as a Minimum Viable Product.
The pioneer for the Design Sprint was the technology company Google Ventures. The advantages of a design sprint are obvious: Due to the tight time frame, the team has no choice but to focus, work quickly and efficiently, and thus develop a market-ready solution in the shortest possible time.
Important utensils for design sprints are movable walls, brown paper and post-its. In addition, different team members hold specific roles. Each of them thus acts as experts for a specific area of expertise, which further accelerates the process.
A design sprint in five days
Test prototype with users
Roles in the Design Sprint
The decision maker: This can be the CEO, but just as easily a senior professional. Since the goal of the Design Sprint depends heavily on its decisions, it should be part of the process early on.
Fascilitator: As a time keeper, it tracks the progress the team makes during the development process. When it comes to deciding things, the fascilitator must respond with an open mind.
Marketing experts: They are responsible for “packaging” the company’s message in an appealing way and passing it on to customers or users.
Customer care: Those who are in direct contact with customers on a regular basis often know their needs, wishes and personalities very well. The information collected is often very valuable for the development process.
Design experts: Their job is to bring the vision of a solution to life: whether it’s a physical product or a digital application.
Technology experts: Of course, any solution can only operate within a certain technical framework. Technology experts know exactly where the possibilities and limits of what the company can do lie.
Financial experts: Financial experts are best placed to explain how much money can be invested in developing an idea and how much profit can be expected.
Workshop: Innovator’s DNA
For some companies, innovation seems to be part of the DNA. But behind this there are often certain methods and processes that can be learned well. Our workshop has tools and techniques ready to make you fit for innovation. The focus is also on group interaction: as a team- and culture-building event, the workshop empowers employees to become the team of tomorrow. Our workshop is designed to make the topic of innovation tangible for the entire team and to inspire them. This is the first step in developing new strategies, achieving set goals, and offering customers added value – even in the long term.
Our workshop offers these advantages:
- A comprehensive understanding of the topic of innovation – combined with practical tips and methods to increase innovation as an individual:r, as a team and as an organization.
- Linking innovation and strategic goals: This teaches employees how to develop new ideas with regard to corporate goals
- Individual principles for a more agile and innovative team culture
For whom is the workshop suitable?
- for any corporate team or organization that wants to quickly improve its innovation culture. Because the way to the future is through well-trained teams: In this way, team members overcome barriers, discard outdated thought patterns and are ready to open up to new inspirations.
The Innovator’s DNA Workshop is designed as a one-day event.
Question previous processes and patterns: This is the first step in arriving at new insights and expanding thinking to all possibilities and directions.
Often, one’s own environment holds the best suggestions. To find new inspiration, it pays to carefully observe the world around you.
Learning from others, inspiring others, developing a new way of looking at things – all this is made possible by a network – especially when the people in it differ greatly in terms of their backgrounds and perspectives.
To gain new experiences and develop new things, theory is not enough. It is also important to try out new ideas and test them for their suitability.
Making surprising connections that also transcend knowledge domains, industries or geographies – associations are important tools when it comes to innovation.
Workshop: Human-Centered Design
As the name suggests, human-centered design focuses on people – or more precisely, on the end customer. In our workshop, we show how companies can learn empathy and create more proximity to their customers. Based on real customers, we run through the three phases of the method with the course participants: the inspiration phase, the idea development phase and the implementation phase.
Among other things, participants will learn how to get as many insights as possible, what makes vivid prototypes and how they can be improved with timely feedback. Methodologically, we work in this workshop with semi-structured interviews, affinity diagrams and personas, among others. Creative methods such as the point-of-view shot, WKW questions, brainwalking, scamper and worst-possible-ideas are also part of our training.
Our workshop offers these advantages:
- theoretical insights and practical experience in the method of Human-Centered Design, among others through real-life problems
- numerous creative methods that help to come up with good ideas
- better understanding for customers
For whom is the workshop suitable?
- for individuals, teams or companies who want to develop more successful physical or digital products
In the first phase of Human-Centered Design, it is important to put oneself in the customer’s shoes as well as possible. This enables us to get to know and understand their perspective as well as possible: Empathy reveals the problems customers have and what they need most urgently to solve them.
Idea development phase
In the generative phase, a team develops solution ideas and weights them in terms of their added value for the subsequent users. Case studies, user tests and rapid prototyping help to quickly find out the essentials: which idea best meets the needs of the users. They also help to improve techniques, learn from mistakes and optimize ideas.
Once a product or system is perfected, it goes to market. In particular, start-ups that develop products or services from scratch benefit from the Human-Centered Design method. This is because users receive a product that optimally addresses their specific, researched needs.
Looking for jobs as innovation consultants?
We have something for you: Take a look at our open positions – we are always looking for talented people to enrich our team.
You are looking for a partner for your project?
Then you have found it here: We would be happy to advise you on digital and agile transformation with a user-centric approach. We are looking forward to your message!