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Summary

Tools and methods are essential to guide people through a Business Design process, to inspire and bring ideas to life. We therefore distinguish between guiding tools, inspiring tools, research tools and building tools. 

Guiding tools

...are usually highly visual and help people communicate, share ideas and align different mental models. (don't forget: In Business Design projects we usually talk about something new nobody has seen before). They can be seen as a "shared space" that guides discussions and makes them more effective and efficient. Never attend a meeting without "shared spaces"! Be visual! No bullsh*t! Guiding tools are mainly templates and worksheets, sometimes built with office applications such as Microsoft Excel and Powerpoint, sometimes built with design applications (e.g. Adobe Creative Cloud) as large-scale posters. Business Design offers a wide range of guiding tools ranging from visualising a business model or business case, fleshing out a customer journey to building a eco-system with all relevant stakeholders. A guiding tool usually follows one of the following representation types:

  • Structural 
  • Temporal
  • Relational

Types of Guiding Tools


The Business Model template, for instance, is a structural representation. The focus lies on elements that form a structure to explain what a business model is. A service blueprint or customer journey that outlines how customers interact with front-stage staff is a temporal representation. It always features a timeline. Last but not least, a Business Eco-System illustrating how different stakeholders interact with each other is referred to as a relational representation. Here, the relationships and exchange between "actors" are the predominant perspective. Don't mix these types in a single tool. It will be confusing!


Business Design Tools

Some examples:

Inspiring tools (and methods)

...are built to broaden or change your perspective on a task, problem or challenge. Good examples are creativity techniques like brainstorming, brainwriting, recombination, the use of trigger questions or setting extreme goals. Inspirations can also come from different industries. For this, we have developed the Business Model Inspirator and Big Data Inspirator featuring innovative patterns how business models can be improved in certain areas.

Some examples:

Research tools (and methods)

...help us discover new territories or validate our ideas. We apply research tools in the Discover and Validate phase. Here, we rely on well-proven methods from the world of empirical research such as structured interviews, observations, desk research, A/B studies, surveys etc.

Some examples:

Building tools

...are primarily technical tools to actually plan and build a prototype or a lean offering. They come in very different flavours from CAD tools to develop technical visualisations of a new product, to clay, foam and other modelling materials or software frameworks to easily build applications for different smartphone platforms such as Google Android or Apple iOS. The subpages give you an overview about interesting building tools for your prototyping activities.

Some examples:

Business Design Box CORE

Some of the key guiding and inspiring Business Design tools are part of our Business Design Box. Please drop us a line (support@orangehills.com) if you need Business Design Boxes for your projects. We can also customise the content based on your requirements.

Business Design Starter Kit CORE

We also have a complete Business Design Starter Kit that provides you everything you need for your first Business Design project, from Business Design Boxes for every workshop participant, workshop materials, tools & gadgets, process carpets and worksheets for a full 10-week iteration. As a certified coach, you can easily order the kit by sending us a short message (support@orangehills.com). The kit offers the following:


Please send us a short note (support@orangehills.com) if you are interested in getting your own Business Design Starter Kit.

Project Workspace CORE

Moreover, many guiding tools has been built into our web-based Project Workspace to work with templates virtually in a team, even if the team members are at dispersed locations. The Project Workspace offers also other features that supports you in running Business Design projects smoothly. The link to the Project Workspace is https://ws.orangehills.de.