What being a Business Designer is about
Before we dive into what a business designer is and what this person does, let's quickly go over Business Design itself. Business Design is a rather "new" discipline which emerged as a response to the limitations of traditional business thinking. linear, product-centered, siloed and short-sighted. Business design solves these shortcomings by mixing in a new skillset to problem-solving and it's called design thinking.
Business design = business strategy + design thinking
Simply said, it combines the human-centred principles from design with the commercially driven attitude that characterizes business strategy.
Now that we addressed Business Design it's easier to understand the role of a business designer. At Untaylored we like to think of a business designer as “the person who designs for long term business viability by combining a human-centred approach to business problems. Always 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:
- framing, directing and/or informing the design process through a business lens to ensure design solves business problems effectively;
- translating design solutions into value and impact through a language that business stakeholders are familiar with to prove design provides solutions to business problems;
- applying human-centred methodologies to strengthen business and financial components of design work to create services and products that are viable;
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:
- Analyse disruptive market trends and products
- Define growth strategies and opportunities
- Design and test new business models and monetization strategies
- Translate design choices into measurable outcomes
- Conduct financial analysis, forecasts and implement KPIs
- Design new value propositions and optimize for product/market fit
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.