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A project team for a Business Design project is jointly responsible for the success of the project. It consists of an innovation manager and 2-4 innovation experts and should meet the following requirements:

  • The innovation manager should have a time "budget" of at least 2,5 days per week (over a 10 weeks iteration)
  • Innovation experts should be available for at least 2 days per week (over a 10 weeks iteration)
  • A project team for Business Design should be staffed with the best people in an organization not necessarily with the ones who are available. They should be
    • 100% motivated
    • Competent / proficient (related to the topic of a project)
    • Open-minded
    • Eager to learn
    • Ready to get sh*t done
  • The innovation manager and experts together should have sufficient knowledge and skills to understand the sponsor's challenge and to find ways how to solve it
  • To spur on the social dynamics of project team, we suggest the following composition:
    • Two members of the project team should be highly experienced in the organization and the industry and should have proven track record of working together
    • Another member of the project team should have similar qualifications as the first two but should not know them
    • And the last two members (in case of a team of 5 members) should be NOT experienced, fresh from college or new in the company 
    • The idea behind this composition is the following: The two experienced who know each other make sure that things move forward. They know enough people in the organization to get road blocks out of the way. The third experienced who doesn't know them, however, has the standing to challenge them (if they go crazy (wink) or fall into the "group think" trap). And the two "fresh" members see things differently and infuse the project team with "fresh" thinking.

Never build teams that are larger than 5 members. A team of that size is difficult to manage and will not perform. "Social loafing" is just one phenomenon you will experience that will make your life very difficult.

Team Rituals

A very important aspect of Business Design are team rituals embedded into the Business Design process to help the team establish a high-performance teamwork. Here are some examples:

RitualPhaseGuiding Principle(s)Impact on Teamwork
Project Charter

All phases

  • Clear objectives for the project and a common understanding of "success"
  • Clear expectations and commitment from the management
  • Clear schedule with fixed dates for workshops and virtual teamwork
  • Clear roles among team members and beyond
Weekly status calls"Action beats intention"
  • Aligning tasks and responsibilities
  • Making progress visible
  • Finding solutions for problems quickly
Action Planning"Action beats intention"Clear definition of assignment of tasks prevents "social loafing" and alignment and coordination between members of the project team
GTD - workshops"Action beats intention"
  • Forcing team members to concentrate 100% on a single (time-boxed) task
  • Getting things done and joint successes

"Be visual"

"Demo or die"

"No bullsh*t"

  • Aligning different mental models of abstract ideas
  • Working with own hands increases the emotional link to product or service
  • Getting feedback from customers with prototypes triggers emotional and polarized feedback, which in return may impact the commitment

"Great prototypes build great teams" - Michael Schrage

Sponsor's sneak preview
  • Increasing commitment of team members ("sense-making")
Feedback from customers, users and experts (particularly with prototypes)

"Customers first"


"Facts over opinions"

  • Increasing commitment of team members ("sense-making")
Working visuallyAll phases"Be visual"Well, a picture says more than 1.000 words...
Time boxingAll phases"Action beats intention"Every task could keep you busy forever. We restrict ourselves to a predefined timeboxes of 10 to 60 min. to get things done. It's never perfect, but it's done!