Who said I can’t work miracles

This is not photoshopped. It shows me in a genuine mentoring session.

The session was with Nick Lehrain and my fellow DBC CEO Carol Mackay. Nick is the recipient of the inaugural Jack Rodgers Scholarship. We’re working with Nick, unpacking and repacking his business, Oliver Grace.

Jack was a good mate. I first met him in a South Melbourne cafe when I had just finished a meeting with a couple of studio owners. I stood up to leave when, from the next table I heard a Scottish voice say ‘You’re Greg Branson, you’re the messiah” Any one who knew Jack knew this was a complete pisstake. It’s how our relationship started and continued.

Sadly Jack passed away earlier this year but I like to think he is keeping an eye on things, in part by giving me a halo.

The Jack Rodgers Scholarship is part of our pro bono work. We spent the first few meetings getting to know Nick and his business partner Bonnie. We knew we had made the right choice when we saw how open minded they are — they already have a successful business, but they’re open to new ways of working. In our last two meetings we’ve delved into the Design Business Model Canvas and the Design Value proposition. It’s a great activity to audit such a dynamic, expanding business.

The Design Business Model Canvas

The Design Business Model Canvas is a tool we use to constantly review the strategic direction of a studio. We’ve used this with a large number of studios to rapidly assess the studio direction and make changes to respond to client needs.

The process of the Design Business Model Canvas gives everyone in the business a well-understood sense of purpose that’s codified in the business model. It clarifies what the studio offers (its design value proposition), defines the clients (the client segmentation), and identifies how it delivers value in a differentiated way. This is in part defined by understanding competitors.

Added to this, the empathy map is a tool for gathering information about a client and getting a better understanding of their pains and gains. It’s a really valuable tool – one studio we worked with now refers to an empathy before each briefing session with the client. They use each contact with the client is a chance to add more information to the  map.

But that’s only part of the process — the information gained needs to be interpreted. That’s where the pains and gains sections come in. Here the tool defines the major pains that the client has and then looks at what they will gain if they get rid of these pains. This is brought back into the Design Business Model Canvas in the client relationships section.

Take away

While I won’t admit to being the messiah I do think we can add value to any and every design business through the Design Business Model Canvas.

Contact me if you would like to learn more about the Design Business Model Canvas to create competitive advantage for your business

Greg Branson

Want more?

Here’s more information on design maturity:

  1. Walk a day in your clients shoes – empathy mapping
  2. Understanding a client to develop new business
  3. How design mature are your clients.

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