Design Crit at Saïd Business School, Oxford

Lucy Kimbell, teaching design at the Saïd Business School in Oxford, asked me (Bas) recently to come in for a crit of work of some of her MBA students. In the crit it became quickly clear what perspective a designer can bring to the thinking of an MBA student. The projects I was shown were first stabs at business plans that contained the usual (and necessary) numbers on investment and expected return. Some students also did research with potential customers to prove the need for the opportunity they saw. But what they hadn’t thought about was how their future customers would experience their service. There was no walkthrough of the service, nor a ‘customer journey’ as you say in service design. One of the groups, aiming to introduce a new way of parking to Mumbai, did not even see their offer as a service whereas they clearly had opportunities to position it as such. One way of bringing a customer perspective into a business plan is to make a photo story of how future customers would interact with the product, I suggested, a future customer journey if you like. It was quickly recognised by the students this would also help to convince investors (their initial goal) because it would allow them to understand quickly how their system would work and the benefits would be for customers. Business (and even business plans) is not just about numbers and facts, but we knew that didn’t we ;-).