Specialization Spotlight: Business

At Doblin, our practitioners are aligned to at least one of three specializations: design, insights, and business. While we work on truly collaborative teams, our specialized practitioners each bring a unique perspective and integral skills to our work. This series aims to illuminate each specialization, their role on teams, and their contribution to the exciting work we do at Doblin.

With deep roots in design-led business strategy, we'd be nothing without our business practitioners, who unlock value for our clients by not only figuring out where to play, but how to win through strong and innovative businesses and business models. They help us blend a human-centered perspective with business-led thinking, ensuring that our offerings are viable and create business value.

While our teams work together throughout the course of a project and the different phases of our work, each specialization contributes more strongly to specific elements that correspond closely to their skillset. For business practitioners, they tend to take a heavier hand toward the end of our process, when we are creating new offerings and articulating how they will come to fruition and bring value to our client and their organization.

Our approach to concept and offering development is multidisciplinary, iterative, and collaborative.
Our approach to concept and offering development is multidisciplinary, iterative, and collaborative.

How business practitioners are involved throughout our process:

Frame

Our business practitioners conduct market/industry analysis to inform the "business frame," which defines what we're trying to achieve for our client's organization

Discover

They contribute to research through heavy collaboration with our insights practitioners. Business practitioners often lean into interviews with a heavier business lens (e.g., employee or stakeholder interviews), which usually inform our understandings of viability going into the Analyze and Create stages

Analyze

They contribute through continued collaboration with our insights practitioners, helping to realize the business implications of our research findings and making sure the strategy thread is woven throughout the whole project

Create

They drive feasibility and viability considerations in the creation of new offerings; utilizing our proprietary tactics (such as the 10 Types of Innovation) to push our thinking on where innovation can happen within an organization

Test + Develop

They lead business model design, business case development, and implementation planning; which all inform how a new offering will come to life in the market

In human-centered design, we often begin with a desirability lens – understanding what will be desirable to customers (which could mean making their lives easier, simpler, and/or more enjoyable). But, designing around desirability alone won’t get you very far if it’s difficult to implement or doesn’t create business value. This is why we balance desirability with feasibility (i.e., “what’s possible?”) and viability (i.e., “what will make us money?”). Our business practitioners do the heavy lifting to be the voice of viability when we are designing new experiences and offerings. This means knowing what levers to pull to create value for our client, and challenging orthodoxies around the ways our client makes money, structures their business, and engages with their customers today.

Being able to do this requires a strong base of core business knowledge – skills like competitive analysis, financial modeling, and market scanning are imperative to being successful in the role. But we often find that it’s the soft skills on top of this knowledge that makes our business practitioners so special. They can think outside the box; are excited and open to integrating with different disciplines and backgrounds; and passionate about a design-led approach. Above all, they’re lateral thinkers – able to see problems in a new light and solve them with a creative approach.