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A Business Design coach is an expert in how to manage and facilitate the Business Design process. He is NOT part of the team but helps each individual of the project team

  • to apply the Business Design approach with its guiding principles, process, roles and tools,
  • to play their assigned role and overcome individual barriers and fears and
  • to develop a high-performance team, come into a joint flow experience and take full responsibility for the project.

A good Business Design coach is very close to the sponsor and the team of a project he is about to coach. He is not necessarily a "friend" of the project team. He is responsible for making a project team succeed and this often requires tasks many teams are not ready to do. Business Design is usually beyond people's comfort zone and the coach has to deal with that. Be prepared for an emotional roller coaster that may look like this:

Key activities are:

  • Examining the setup and focus of a project (Project Charter)
  • Preparing workshops and moderating team discussions in workshops
  • Giving methodological guidance and assuring methodological precision (guiding principles) - have a look at the "North Star Model"
  • Asking questions that opens up new perspectives (e.g. "I understand you don't think this is going to work. However, what could we do to make it work?")
  • Supervising the performance of teamwork
  • Managing other stakeholders (e.g. sponsor)
  • Intervening if project team derails (may happen from time to time)

When you start coaching your first projects, don't fall into the trap of becoming the innovation manager over time. This is NOT your role!

Need support?

Bernhard Doll
We coach or co-coach your Business Design sprint. 
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To facilitate a Business Design process, a coach has to be very experienced to cope with the eventualities that may happen on the way. Orange Hills GmbH offers an intense seven days certificate program for potential Business Design coaches starting two times a year. Additionally, we suggest to co-coach at least two more projects in real life shadowing an experienced coach in order to gain enough confidence and to fill your own treasure chest with "war stories" ready to be to shared with project teams.

Overall, there is no magic in becoming a Business Design coach. However, it will take some time (> 9 months) until you feel fully equipped with sufficient skills, experience and confidence to guide project teams through an innovation journey.

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The following table shows key activities for a Business Design coach for each phase of the Business Design process:

  • Presenting Business Design as an approach to relevant stakeholders
  • Finalizing the project charter with innovation manager and internal sponsor of the project
  • Preparing Kick-off workshop
    • Invitation to sponsor and project team
    • Room booking, setup & catering
    • Agenda
    • Tools & methods
  • Get-to-know calls with every team of the project team
  • Conducting a basic training on Business Design for the project team (and the sponsor)
Be very rigorous in the Setup phase: Starting with unclear objectives, a 50% committed sponsor and a team without enough time, resources and the right skills, is NOT a good idea! Double-check the project charter!
  • Facilitating the Kick-off workshop with the innovation manager
  • Optional: Team-building exercise
  • Supervising the documentation of the workshop and execution of tasks (clear task definitions and assignments for the Discover phase)
  • Joining the weekly status calls
  • Optional: Supporting Discover activities (e.g. field research)
  • Scrutinizing the quantity and quality of Discover results
  • Preparing the Design workshop (see before)
Intervening if project team derails: North Star Model
  • Facilitating the Design workshop with the innovation manager
  • Supervising the documentation of the workshop and the further detailing of the results (with designers, prototyping engineers etc.)
  • Joining the first sponsor's sneak preview and reflecting the feedback with the project team
  • Optional: Preparing and facilitating a dedicated Validate workshop (if time was not sufficient in the Design workshop)
  • Making sure that each team members know exactly what to do over the next weeks to conduct the experiments (clear task definitions and assignments for the Validate phase)
  • Optional: Preparing and facilitating an IT-Deep-Dive workshop

Intervening if project team derails: North Star Model

Pay the utmost attention to the questions / hypotheses and the experiments. 

ValidateIntervening if project team derails: North Star Model
  • Facilitating the Decide workshop / D - Day with the innovation manager
  • Recapping the feedback from the Decide workshop and planning of next steps (e.g. next iteration)
  • Supervising the documentation of the workshop and the entire iteration / project