“To improve is to change, to be perfect is to change often”
– Winston Churchill –
At VEXO Design Consultancy, we reach strategic focus through iterations in design thinking
-Mark van der Horst-
1. Introducing VEXO
– VEXO Design Consultancy –
We are a young design consultancy consisting of 4 enthusiastic professionals. Together we bring a unique set of skills to your problem and try to facilitate the best solution for our clients and their customers. We encourage curiosity and provide the opportunity to involve your customers, immerge yourself in the user environment and make use of quick prototyping to come up with a better solution. And we will help you to visualize your problems and solutions to make them more tangible and easier to understand. Together with your knowledge we will unlock the value of design and bridge the gaps between technology, business and consumers.
2. How we see the Value of Design
– Focus through Iteration –
At VEXO Design Consultancy, we strongly believe that feasible design is not a linear sequence of activities or phases. Design is built up out of five consecutive solution spaces: discovery, interpretation, ideation, experimentation, and evolution. Like many renowned design thinkers , we argue that these solution spaces should be explored and characterized by gathering information in order to generate feasible ideas which in turn become input for the next solution space.
We believe that going through this process helps to find new insights that then become input for another cycle of consecutive solution spaces, thereby becoming an iterative process. We believe these iterations should be made quickly by engaging with the strategic environment, as famous researcher Guilia Calabretta confirms the impact of immerging into the environment reduces the need for intuition in strategic decision making. It is basically intelligent trial and error. By using this iterative process, we mitigate most cognitive biases that occurs in decision making . So we strive to enhance your focus and future vision by challenging your current one, thereby possibly adopting change. Hence our slogan is: ‘to improve is to change, to be perfect is to change often’.
3. Our clients
|Based on our vision on design and the strategic value it offers, VEXO provides services to companies that need strategic focus. Particularly start-ups in the technology industry face the challenge of finding strategic focus, as they possess tremendous expertise in technology but are often inexperienced in business and human-centered design and could use guidance in the strategic area. Therefore VEXO positions itself as follows;|
For tech startups VEXO is a visionary design consultancy, which provides strategic focus through iteration using design thinking methods geared towards optimizing clients’ competences.
– Application –
VEXO’s Turbo Design Thinking tool is the most efficient in use after the product developing phase of your tech startup company. In this phase of the design process, strong strategic focus is needed for making the new product successful after launch. The tool will form the bridge between the development phase and the marketing phase and thus will help your company in having a successful process from the beginning till the end.
4. How we reach that
– Turbo Design Thinking Tool –
The tool that facilitates ‘Turbo Design Thinking’ is a mobile set of transparent exhibition boards, which allows your session to take place in whichever environment needed by you in order to rapidly gather information. Each board is augmented with a toolbox, that facilitates the kind of thinking required for each phase. Each set of board & toolkit represents one of the phases of the design thinking process, for each phase you will put your key insights and key learnings on post-its that will be placed on the board.
Throughout this process, you will be guided through all five phases of design thinking in an orderly yet rapid fashion. This guidance is provided by a VEXO facilitator by assisting you and your participants to converge the key insights of a phase and hereby transitioning from one solution space to the other. Once the last phase is done, the group together evaluates the whole process and the value of the end result. If you are content with the final solution, that will be the end of the session. However should you feel that more strategic focus is needed an iteration needs to be made by means of a new session, in this new session your key learnings can already be incorporated.
In any case, the end result of turbo design thinking is a feasible strategic direction for your company to follow. The actual form of this solution depends on the situation of your company, but could range from a new target market to something more concrete as a concept for a product or service. To conclude, the outcome of the session can be adapted to the client’s needs.
5. Turbo Design Thinking in practice
A case in which the needs of the client were satisfied properly is that of a medical start up from Delft, this example will be used to illustrate the way we work and the results we get with our tool and methods.
– MedEvaQ case –
MedEvaq is a tech-startup founded in Delft, with an innovation for medical technology in CT-scans. They have only started a year ago, and are noticing more troubles with sales than they would have expected. After all, their technological proposition is sound, however there is a lack of strategic focus. They have approached VEXO to assist in the process of defining a strategic plan to successfully market their product.
1. Defining Target Group & Working Environment
The first step in our process is an intake, in which the entrepreneurs of MedEvaq explained that they saw their target group as elderly people in the hospital. The VEXO consultants critically deliberated with the entrepreneurs, and agreed on the location for the first session at the end of the meeting, in this case a hospital was the desired location.
2. Placing tool in environment
VEXO Design Consultancy then set up a session at the Delft hospital, by placing the mobile ‘Turbo Design Thinking’ kit into a selected room of the hospital. The entrepreneurs were invited, and joined in quickly once the kit had been set up.
3. Starting with the discovery phase
The session started with the discovery phase, meant to explore assumptions and initial ideas by having the methods explained. One of the teams chose to create a mindmap, and took the VEXO handbook to read about this method in further detail. Once the teams feel confident about their next activities, they may open the box that belongs to the discovery phase. This box contains many items that facilitate the kind of thinking needed in each phase. The team that chose the mindmap-method decided to draw the mindmap on the floor using the floor crayons from the box, and the other team picks goggles that make you see everything upside-down as a tool for their method.
4. Working on the method
The teams dive into their methods, and the VEXO design consultant only aided them if they needed it but left the group very much to itself.
After half an hour of working on their methods, the teams got back to the ‘Turbo Design Thinking’ boards. They received post-its specific for the method they used, and wrote down their key insights and findings on the post-its. Here, the mindmap revealed that next to elderly people, disabled people have more or less the same need and that this could prove a promising market.
6. Interpretation & Ideation
The teams went through the next phases in a similar fashion as in the discovery phase. As they diverged and fill the boards with post-its the environment literally becomes less and less visible as the transparent boards are filled, representing an increase in focus.
The most viable ideas were quickly prototyped using simple methods and materials. The teams then ventured out of the VEXO Turbo Design Setting into the environment. Our MedEvaq team deemed it an interesting idea to decorate their otherwise very technical-looking device with the latest Disney Characters. They prototyped by simply printing some of these images and go to one of the CT-scanners. In collaboration with a doctor they decorated the device and got immediate feedback from both doctors and some disabled people present in the hospital.
The teams found out that the new decoration was actually a good idea, as they received positive feedback from the new devised target group. Unexpectedly, the elderly people also liked having a device that looked less technical. By talking with the doctors it became clear that the stickers should be of a special kind of glue, otherwise they won’t stick due to the radiation. Serendipitously a cleaning lady passed by the room the team was in, and by talking to her it was found out that the device always looks a bit dirty due to its white colour. All these insights were again written down on post-its and put on the board. The MedEvaq team is now thinking about creating an entire experience out of the medical procedure, with the decorated scanner as just a part of that. Although they already found valuable insights they are deliberating about setting up a next session in an amusement park to find out even more about this new direction.
This case has shown how successful a collaboration with VEXO Design Consultancy can be as startups are very open to new input, however they can be restricted in other areas. Fortunately, VEXO has allowed itself to adapt to these needs.
6. Collaboration with startups
– Our business –
VEXO Design Consultancy focuses on tech-startups, with its ‘Turbo Design Thinking’-tool specially designed to serve these start-ups. Because startups are known for having little money, we have developed our business model to adapt the revenue stream according to the client. By doing so, we maintain the best base for collaborating with you.
A collaboration with VEXO Design Consultancy starts with an intake in order to get to know the client and to get insight on how our flexible revenue stream will be put to use. VEXO (like all companies) has a preference towards direct payment. However, VEXO is also open to receiving value in different ways like gaining a share of the particular tech-startup, this is only negotiable if the funds of the startup are limited and the potential of the startup are high. The business model of VEXO Design Consultancy and we provide a personal approach for every different client.
Because of VEXO’s flexibility, a non-committal intake meeting can be offered to all the tech-startups. When the collaboration with a startup is definitive VEXO Design Consultancy requires a small compensation. This compensation locks the collaboration and allows the project to get started.
|We are looking forward to working with you.|
– VEXO Design Consultancy –
1. Brown, T., Design thinking. Harvard business review, 2008. 86(6); p.84.
2. Giulia Calabretta, et al., Collaborating with Design Consultancy firms for Effective Strategic Decision-Making in New Product Development, 2014, University of Techonology: Delft.
3. Liedtka, J., Perspective: Linking Design Thinking with Innovation Outcomes through Cognitive Bias Reduction. Journal of Product Innovation Management, 2014.