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d.MBA

Author: d.MBA

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Thoughtful business education for designers.
50 Episodes
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Competitor research is important. It helps us learn about our competitors so we can make better decisions. Decisions that lead to more value created for our customers and our organization. However, when we think about our competitors, we are all making a fundamental logical mistake. We mistake our direct competitors with our only competitors. For example, BMW is not competing just with Mercedes-Benz, Volkswagen, Tesla, Ford, etc. It’s also competing with airlines, railway companies, and soon even with Hyperloop providers. In this episode, Franz (program director at d.MBA) and Alen sit down to talk about the concept of Competitive Arenas and how designers can use it in their work.
In the new Business Design Jam, Alen and Franz, discuss the latest business design stories: how a Michelin 3-star restaurant is not only surviving but even thriving during the coronavirus lockdown, how Universal Studios pioneered a new way to premier movies, and how Airbnb forgot that it is servicing two groups of customers.   www.beyondusers.com/podcast
Rita Gunther McGrath is a world-renowned thought leader and a professor at Columbia Business School. She has received the #1 achievement award for strategy from the prestigious Thinkers50 and has been consistently named one of the world’s top ten management thinkers in its bi-annual ranking. She wrote Discovery-Driven Growth and The End of Competitive Advantage, which are widely used in the business design community. In this podcast we talked about: how and why we should prototype with numbers, why the era of sustainable competitive advantage is over, and how designers can explain “inflection points” to business leaders.
UX Designer and CEO of Clearleft, Andy Budd curates the Leading Design and UX London conferences and helped set-up The Brighton Digital Festival. Andy is a regular speaker at international conferences like SXSW, An Event Apart and The Next Web. In this episode, we spoke about: the biggest learnings from the last Leading Design conference, why and how designers should say no to their managers, and the current state of design education.
Maija Itkonen is an industrial designer, successful entrepreneur, innovator, and brand lover. In 2015 she co-founded Gold&Green Foods, the company behind the phenomenal success story of the “perfect protein food” platform and its first product Pulled Oats. Pulled Oats is a new kind of meat alternative based on the Nordic superfood oats, built around the team’s unique scientific knowledge and design thinking under Maija’s leadership. With Maija, we talked about: her rocky path from a design school to starting companies, how and why Gold&Green became a nation-wide sensation in Finland, and what it means to start and run a purpose-driven startup.   www.d.mba
Eric Quint is Vice President, Chief Brand and Design Officer at 3M, a Fortune 500 company with over $30B in revenue and over 90.000 employees. An industrial designer by training, Eric joined 3M in 2013 to “design the design function” in the company. He grew the design team substantially, built revolutionary 3M Design Center (an incubator for Collaborative Creativity), and helped build the brand platform that catapulted 3M’s brand value among the world’s top 100 brands. In this episode, we talked about: why designers should stop measuring the value of design (and how we can show our worth), what it takes to become a Chief Designer Officer (and what does one do as a CDO), and why designers need studios as much as scientists need laboratories.
In the fifth Business Design Jam, Alen and Franz (also a mentor in the d.MBA), discuss business design stories such as: why IKEA offers 0.99$ hot dogs after you bought furniture for hundreds of dollars, how Soul-Cycle created a competitive advantage by designing for their employees instead of customers; and why designers should co-create with lead users, not just test after designs are made.   The applications for the next d.MBA program just opened (Monday 27th January 2020). Apply for your spot at www.beyondusers.com/apply
In many companies, designers do not prepare the product roadmap. We are handed a feature list and expected to just do it. But we’ve all been in situations where we felt that what we are working on just isn’t right. But how do you push back? How do you correctly recognize what to create? Does a hobby runner want a better running shoe? Or do they just want to be faster? Or to lose some weight? If we understand what people really want, we can work on the right solution. A great framework that helps us with that is Jobs to be Done. It promises to identify the customer jobs (i.e. customer goals), prioritize our product roadmap, and help us better communicate with business colleagues. To help us better understand this framework, we spoke with Jim Kalbach, a noted author, speaker, and instructor in design, customer experience, and strategy. He is currently Head of Customer Experience at MURAL, the leading online whiteboard. He recently wrote a book The Jobs To Be Done Playbook, which is coming out in early April. We spoke about: Jim’s first encounter with the framework, how he uses it in his design work, and how it can help us drive product prioritization and business strategy talks.
Design Sprints have become an extremely popular format in businesses. However, many sprint projects never get executed because they are not aligned with the business context. Tim Höfer is a product design director and head of the design sprint team at the AJ&Smart, which has run sprints for companies like Google, Slack, Lyft, and Lufthansa. In this episode, we spoke about integrating business thinking with design sprints. We explored: how competitive research can completely reshape sprint’s goal, why many design sprint projects never get executed, and a new sprint format: Strategy Sprint.
In this episode, we share a lesson from the d.MBA course. In this lesson, which is a part of the Business Models module, we introduce ten famous business model patterns. We go through their advantages, disadvantages, and explain when to use them. We compare e-commerce with brick and mortar models, talk about white label solutions, open-source models, freemium, subscription, razor and blade mode and many more. If you want to see this lesson's slides click here --> http://beyondusers.com/podcast/business-models
David J Bland is the founder of Precoil to help companies find product market fit using lean startup, design thinking, and business model innovation. David has helped validate new products and businesses at companies such as GE, Toyota, Adobe, HP, Behr and more. David is the co-author of Testing Business Ideas, a Wiley business book with Alexander Osterwalder. In this podcast, we talked about David’s new book Testing Business Ideas. We covered: three types of risks facing your business and product ideas how to design experiments for these risks, and how you can use experiment sequences to design better products. www.beyondusers.com/podcast/
Designers are used to using prototypes to test usability and desirability. You put a wireframe in front of a user and you can quickly learn if they like (or know how to use) something. What if we could do the same for viability? Well, we can. With math. In this episode, you’ll learn how to use simple math to: estimate the business impact of your product changes calculate in money what value can your project have and how you can use that to talk to managers in your company.
Have you ever been told to be more strategic? What does it mean though? Strategy, unfortunately, has different meanings for different people. It is one of the most widely misunderstood concepts despite being crucial to the success of business and design. In this episode, we talk about a difference between strategy and business strategy, what you should do if you find yourself on a strategic project, and how to create strategic prototypes.   www.d.mba
Trent and Alen discuss the importance of design research and desktop research from the perspective of business designers. In this episode, we are covering: conducting looking-ins (internal interviews) and looking-outs (customers and outside stakeholders), doing desktop research (analyzing industry and competitors), using data, and much more!
“My name is Jason Barron, and I’m a designer. I’ve always been doodling, sometimes when I shouldn’t - like in class as a kid. Fast-forward 20 years and not much has changed. Except that I decided to put my lifelong doodling habit to work when I received an MBA from a top 40 business school, Brigham Young University.” Jason is an author of The Visual MBA, a great book explaining all key business school concepts and frameworks through illustrations. It’s a perfect book for all designers who want to grasp basic business concepts in a language that we are well versed in - images. In this podcast we talked about: Jason’s favorite business school concepts, if he would recommend other designers to take an MBA, and how he decided to publish the book.
Imagine working on the iPhone before its release in 2007. Imagine the number of design decisions to be made. No one knew if this is going to be successful. Now, imagine working on the iPhone in 2019. Now, the level of design work is completely different, for sure.  Each product has its lifecycle and its strategic position in the company. If we learn what type of product we work on, we will know where design has the most value. In this episode, I talked about: why iPhone is a “cash cow” and iTunes a “dog”, the growth-share matrix that helps us categorize our products, and what the role of a designer is for each product strategy. www.d.mba
Customer is king. Especially to designers. We would do everything for them. We fight for what they want and need. But is that always a good idea? I would argue that it is sometimes self-destructive. That it is against what customers actually want. Find out more in this episode in which we discuss the fundamentals of a business strategy   www.d.mba
This week, I published the Business Design Guide, which introduces business design as a design discipline. In this episode, I present the outline of the guide and share a few stories from my career that led me to write this guide. I took one topic from the guide and presented it in more detail. What most budding business designers overlook is the importance of a design mindset. So, I share six mindsets that make a business designer, business designer. https://www.beyondusers.com/guides/what-is-business-design-guide
John Oswald is a business design pioneer. He was the first business designer at fjord where he defined its role and built the team. He is currently a managing director at a strategic design consultancy Method London. With John, we discussed: the early days and evolution of the business design, five patterns of business design talent, how hiring business designers work, and how typical business design deliverables look like.   www.d.mba
Imagine you are running a hotel. Who would you rather have as a customer? High value but one-time visitor or an average customer who will keep coming back for many years? It depends, right? Lifetime Value (LTV) is a concept that can help us determine the business value of our customers and with that understand: who is an ideal customer, how much they are worth to a business, and how much we can spend on acquiring a customer. In this mini d.MBA episode we cover the definition of lifetime value and its relevance for designers.
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Comments (1)

Miguel Alvarez

uin n kjii.

Dec 24th
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