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Author's profile photo Daniel Brunnett

Design Thinking and Lean Innovation the way forward

Ever developed and launched a product without a project plan and assigned budget? Lean and Design Thinking make it possible, here’s how:

Design Thinking Workshop – During the Innovation Day the customer asked if we can run a Design Thinking Workshop for a disruptive Business Model. During the Workshop the teams developed a potential Business Model for the Challenge. Afterwards the customer asked requested SAP to proceed with their solution, instead of giving it to the ‘normal’ project management for the fear of lengthy processing time. The Customer wanted to ensure quick implementation of the project.

We recommended to run a project in a heavy weight team structure by combining Design Thinking and Lean Innovation.

Project Start and Rules of Engagement – A Business Innovation Consultant from SAP and one employee from the customer were dedicated FULL TIME to the project with the option to get support on demand. During the kick off, the team looked on the most important and urgent tasks. There was no project plan – planning happened from week to week. The only goal was to proof if this idea could work, by checking desirability, feasibility and viability.

First Iteration of the Business Model – The Team developed a first High Level Business Model with a first High Level Financial calculation. No detailed Business Plan was created – It was important to focus on if the idea is legally and technically possible and to test market demand. Therefore the team need to test hypotheses.

Hypotheses Tests – The Team developed different hypotheses and checked which of them are already proofed and which need still to be proofed. It was also necessary to figure out how to proof them.

Pilot test of the minimal viable product – Before the product was even developed, we started to test the demand for it. We decided to test demand via a simple online page, where customers could signup when they are interested in buying the product. The conversion was higher than 3% – which was the goal to reach. Based on that the decision was made to launch the product and to bring it to the market. The market launch and first products sold.

It was highly essential for the consultants to look for alternate ways in order to carry out the project. Sometimes non-traditional methods can also lead to effectual results. In this process, the customer would learn of a new approach to run innovation projects. Thus, it is needless to say the project implementation has had been an extremely successful one.

What is the difference

  • A small team works in an agile way, with daily meetings and weekly planning. It’s easier to focus on the most important and urgent tasks in a small team.
  • There is no project plan – the only goal is to proof the idea within 8 weeks.
  • No fixed budget – You never know how much budget you will need. The team asked for money when it was needed. Flexibility with budget and project plan can lead to effective results.
  • On demand support is plausible with small team and would repeat the process if required for future projects.


  • Reduced Cost 2 Market – Due to the fast and lean way the cost can be reduced by the focus on Hypotheses tests.
  • Higher Fit 2 Market – at an early stage the market demand will be tested. If there is no demand, the project should be stopped immediately. This saves costs.
  • Low Innovation risk – Fast testing, learning and failing.

If you want to read more you can learn here about the: Design Thinking inspired Innovation Project Methodology

Or contact me directly 🙂

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