Have you ever heard about a Business Designer? What about a Venture Architect? What does it mean to be a Growth Hacker? This article explores some of the questions behind the job profiles that will help shape the next decade in business innovation.
“The Times They Are a-Changin'” (song)
The Nobel prize laureate crystallized the timeless sentiment of change that once again seems to permeate our lives. The world has changed and his time for companies and business professionals to follow suit.
The exponential world we live in demands new digital skills, new ways of working and collaborating. It’s time for businesses to rethink their organisational structure, to re-skill/up-skill the workforce, to look for new ways to approach innovation.
The wave of technological breakthroughs (digital networks, software, information technology) that sustained continuous innovation over the past two decades seems to have reached its peak.
Businesses have been investing heavily in innovation and transformation initiatives in an attempt to ride the next wave (automation, robotics, digitalization, sustainability) and build products that can reach or even surpass the scale of the iPhone - the most successful retail product ever released.
Some of these initiatives haven’t always delivered on the expected business outcomes. However, stop investing in innovation is not an option.
In order to succeed, businesses need to bridge the world of product innovation and customer experience with business reality. They need a Business Designer, a Venture Architect and a Growth Hacker.
Business Design emerged as a response to the limitations of traditional business thinking - linear, product-centered, siloed, short-sighted.
It combines the human-centred principles from design with the commercially driven attitude that characterizes most businesses.
At Untaylored, we define a Business Designer as …
“the person who designs for long term business viability by combining a human-centred approach to business problems with a strategic, analytical, lean and financially driven skill set.”
According to Tsukasa Tanimoto, who has written extensively about it, the Business Designer is mainly responsible for:
In other words, business design applies design and design thinking to business problems with the objective of bringing innovation to life.
Some of the Business Designer tasks involve:
Across all these activities there’s always an emphasis on the collaboration with other designers (service designers, interaction designers, research designers) and a bias towards experimentation.
Looking at a business designer’s background, they often have prior experience in innovation management, business consulting, strategy design, but also entrepreneurial driven roles in startups/venture capital firms.
Also known as Venture Builder, the Venture Architect is yet another role that promises to shake the corporate innovation landscape in the next decade.
A Venture Architect is responsible for defining the field of opportunity and establishing the scope for a new venture. Main area of focus is to design and test the operational and commercial aspects of the business.
In other words, it’s his role to translate the concept into the operational roadmap, define roles, responsibilities and activities. We can summarize the venture architect’s main responsibilities as following:
Alongside these lines, the daily tasks of a venture architect can include:
This role is driven by a highly entrepreneurial mindset and knowledge of design thinking, lean startup, and agile development principles. The venture architect is also expected to possess good leadership and communication skills.
Previous experiences include high exposure to entrepreneurship such as startup, venture capital or startup accelerator roles. Experiences launching and managing large projects and businesses in corporate environments are also valued.
Although the term is not new - Growth Hacking was coined back in 2010 by Sean Ellis and later popularized by Andrew Chen - the Growth Hacker role and subsequent practices have been slowly making their way from the startup community into wider corporate acceptance in recent years.
A Growth Hacker is part marketeer and part software engineer. A growth hacker comes up with ideas to grow and retain customers and sell products. They do this by setting up growth experiments using data and technology. They live, breathe and constantly think about ways to grow their user base.
This person is responsible for designing, implementing and analysing strategies that can yield the highest conversion rates at the lowest possible cost, working towards long term sustainable growth.
The core aspects of the job include:
Looking into the tasks in more detail, a Growth Hacker is busy...
Optimism, passion for digital businesses and an entrepreneurial spirit are all valuable qualities for this position. Being comfortable around data is also increasingly important.
Companies hiring for this position look for previous experiences in marketing, building and launching products in fast-paced high growth environments such as startups and scaleups.
Each of these roles can play a major role in the success of your innovation strategy, from spotting the right opportunity to conceptualizing, building and growing your next venture.
As Bob Dylan puts beautifully…
Your old road is
Please get out of the new one
If you can't lend your hand
For the times they are a-changin'.
The old business road is agin’ and the companies who cannot adapt will be pushed out of the new road.
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