STRATEGIC DESIGN WORKSHOPS AT TODD BRACHER STUDIO

While Working At
Todd Bracher Studio

Project

Strategic Design Workshops

Role

  • Workshop Facilitation

  • Business Strategy

  • Design Research

  • Design Thinking

Location & Year

New York, 2017

ABOUT THE STUDIO

Todd Bracher Studio guides some of the world’s most prestigious brands around the world to realize strategic differentiation through expert-based design. Named global design influencer by Wallpaper* Magazine in 2015 and International Designer of the Year in 2015 and 2016, Todd Bracher Studio’s designs are driven by science, nature, and truth. Over the past two decades, we have collaborated with some of the world’s leading brands, including 3M, Jaguar, Herman Miller, Humanscale, and Cappellini.

While working as a Strategic Design Consultant at Todd Bracher Studio, I conducted a series of Design Thinking Workshops to analyze the studio’s brand identity, core values and capabilities. The purpose of these workshops was to identify new opportunities for business growth by ecosystem mapping, business model generation and building strategy goals. 

ECOSYSTEM MAPPING

Using ecosystem mapping as a tool, we mapped the resource flows into and within the ecosystem of Todd Bracher Studio. Creating a visualization of the direct and indirect resources the studio engages with helped reveal constraints, bottlenecks, and underused sources. 

By clearly highlighting the key players, we could easily pinpoint roles missing from their ecosystem. After identifying these challenges, we brainstormed about alternate resource strategies for the studio and new operating partnerships with potential complementary organizations. We also focused on the Brand DNA of the studio – determining who they are, what they do and what drives them to do what they do. Writing down the core values and culture of the team helped bring out the personality of the studio.

VALUE PROPOSITION & CORE BUSINESS MODEL

Valentina Beltran, Business Development Lead and Design Strategist, was invited to talk to us about her CORE Business Model Strategy. CORE is a simple framework that helps a business address the complex challenge of sustainability by assessing and redesigning the business with a holistic perspective. She started with helping define the studio’s value proposition and higher purpose. Having a statement in place that communicates the studio’s business advantage, design process and philosophy is always challenging. However, a value proposition is very much at the core of communicating the studio’s strengths to potential clients.

Valentina’s strategy guided the team to see which areas of the business model canvas fall under customer value, revenue generation, operational ecology and engaging communities. Building this circular framework instead of having a more linear canvas highlighted how all the key components are linked to each other. 

 

The purpose of this workshop was to understand, visualize and assess the business to see what aspects need to be redesigned or substituted to create maximum impact for the studio.

IDEATING. MAPPING. LEARNING.

In order to get a more comprehensive understanding of the advantages, opportunities and challenges that the studio currently faces, we used a chart to plot out all the key areas we identified.

The chart elaborates the brand DNA, design process, their core values, communication strategy tools and key players in business development. The post-its were color coded into five categories – opportunities, deficiencies, goals, tools/assets and untapped resources. This made it easy to pinpoint the areas that more focus.

While ideating key players in the studio’s business development - partnerships, advisors and referrals – we identified untapped resources that could potentially lead to new ventures.

FUTURE GOALS & STRATEGY

After plotting all the key resources, key players and partners of the studio, we started mapping future goals. These goals were all aligned with increasing their value as a design leader across industries and moving into adjacent spaces.

Focusing on where the studio was headed in the next two years, we looked at prioritizing current work in the pipeline in order to allocate key resources to generate more revenue. The priority chart allowed us to place clients across a quadrant  - how much time the project would take, and how much market recognition it would give to the studio.

This exercise, along with creating a visualization of all the main insights from the workshops, helped get a better perspective of the bigger picture.