Design Bulldozer launches

Design Bulldozer is a business support service offered by the Estonian Design Centre to help small and medium sized enterprises become more innovative and more profitable through the use of design. Over the course of two years, the program will build innovation muscle inside Estonian organizations, providing them with tools to identify opportunities for innovation, knowledge to translate insight into profitable products and services, and experience in using design methods to realize their ambitions.

How does it work?

Design Bulldozer kicked off in August of 2012 with 3.5 days of workshops that immersed managers in the principles and tools of people centred innovation and demonstrated how the effective use of design can improve the bottom line. It was followed by a one-day “design surgery” with top-level design experts to surface opportunities for innovation, design and value creation. These opportunities were then mapped and prioritized and will be actioned through to implementation over the next 12 months. Throughout the program, management teams get hands-on support from Design Coaches, who are trained experts equipped to solve business problems.

What are the benefits of Design Bulldozer?

The business benefits of using design as a strategic tool are well documented. In programs similar to Design Bulldozer, such as the UK’s Designing Demand, every 1 GBP spent on design by participating companies saw a 50 GBP increase in turnover above expected levels. Additionally, every pound spent on design by participating companies saw a 2 GBP increase in profit above expected levels. In addition to monetary returns, Design Bulldozer expects many other benefits, such as:

  • increased spend on design activities by participating companies

  • hiring of designers by participants

  • new products and services making an impact on the market

  • appointment of designers to company boards

  • restructured organizations that make design a focus of their business

  • increased new business opportunities for Estonian designers

  • improved perception of entrepreneurship in Estonia, inspiring individuals and companies to try new methods of innovation

  • strengthened reputation of Estonia as a country focused on innovation

  • creation of a community of people centred innovation practitioners that extend the impact of the project beyond its end date

How is the program structured?

The program is founded on people centred methods. The primary workshop instructs participants in how a people centred focus leads to great results. Following on from this workshop, we ask five fundamental questions of participants in Design Bulldozer. The questions underpin all of the activity in the workshops, grounding the approach moving forward and providing the basis for the evaluation of the program. The questions are:

1. Where are you going?

This module is all about brand vision and strategy. Design Bulldozer helps organizations to frame their vision for where they want to be in 3, 5 and 8 years time and to develop the brand strategy to make it happen. The program enables participants to clearly articulate what they are promising, how they can deliver on that promise and why building their reputation is the key to continued success.

2. How will you get there?

People centred Innovation is a primary driver for growth. Gaining insights into consumer behavior is how the insights for innovation are derived. This module works to enable participants to develop their insight and innovation skills and actively engage its target audiences to convert consumer insight into the new products and services people love. The program provides participants with the practical tools to anticipate, understand and action customer needs.

3. What will you tell the world?

Through Design Bulldozer, organizations will learn how to craft meaningful stories for their audiences and to develop the infrastructure necessary to deliver them. Storytelling and communications are key to market success. The power of digital media is unprecedented and developing the correct tools to deploy messages across platforms is critical. Companies will create websites that convert browsers into buyers and provide a platform for all digital activities. Participants will look at all of the touchpoints across the end-to-end customer experience and developing appropriate solutions.

4. How will you make it last?

Participants in Design Bulldozer will learn what it means to look at the bigger picture to see what systems thinking is necessary to address the triple bottom line of economic, social and environmental sustainability. The company will learn how to earn more with less; how equitable working environments can be provided for employees; how damage to the environment can be minimised; how the organisation can give back to its community; where the gaps in knowledge are and how the company can fill them? Care for the environment is only one aspect of sustainability. The organisation will learn how to create a long-lived company that embraces sustainable practices as key to future growth.

5. What will have to change?

The single biggest challenge to creating competitive advantage through design embedding an ability to adapt and change within the organization. Design Bulldozer looks at how internal competencies need to be identified and evaluated, indicating where resistance and a holding onto of orthodoxy stymie change. The work that Design Bulldozer does on organizational development ensures that the modifications necessary to sustain the company vision are co-created with employees, creating a natural appetite for change.

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