In 2012, Heather Fraser founded Vuka Innovation. Inspired by the Zulu word that means to reawaken and stir into action, Vuka is dedicated to helping enterprises create game-changing ideas and strategies to deliver. We do that while building a sustainable capacity to innovate. 

Vuka leverages the Business Design methodology developed over seven years of dedicated research at the Rotman School of Management under Heather’s leadership at Rotman DesignWorks. 

Over the years, this approach has proven to be a learnable, reputable innovation discipline. The Vuka team has worked with a broad range of organizations to help set them on exciting new paths toward success. 

 
 

HEATHER FRASEr, founder of vuka

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With over 25 years of experience in Business Design and leadership positions at Procter & Gamble, Ogilvy & Mather, and TAXI Advertising & Design, Heather built a reputation for insight, business innovation and results. In 2005, she joined the Rotman School of Management and co-founded Rotman DesignWorks with Roger Martin.  Heather served as the Executive Director of DesignWorks through 2012., cultivating Business Deisgn as a discipline, delivering graduate student curriculum, and leading innovation programs to over 4,000 executives in world- class corporations,  government agencies and smaller businesses with big ambitions. 

Published in 2012, Heather’s book, Design Works: How To Tackle Your Toughest Innovation Challenges Through Business Design,demonstrates how enterprises of all sizes can drive innovation and growth through Business Design. Her book presents a compelling case for how Business Design can help enterprises create new and enduring value, and includes inspiring interviews with business leaders, compelling case studies, and a collection of practical tools and tips on how to put Business Design into practice. An enhanced and expanded second edition will be published in January 2019.

Heather has a balanced and pragmatic view of the infusion of design principles and practices into business. She is passionately committed to helping enterprises realize their innovative potential, and spreading Business Design education and practice globally as an educator, business advisor and keynote speaker.

Heather founded Vuka Innovation to expand this work beyond the academic realm. As the driving force behind Vuka, she ensures that clients and partner teams push their thinking and realize their full capacity for business innovation. She continues to be active in public education as an Adjunct Professor, Researcher and Business Design Expert in residence at the Rotman School of Management. 

Published in 2013, Heather’s book, Design Works: How To Tackle Your Toughest Innovation Challenges Through Business Design demonstrates how organizations can drive innovation and growth through Business Design. The book represents a pragmatic view of how organizations committed to innovation can infuse design principles and practices into business development and planning. Her book includes inspiring interviews with business leaders, compelling case studies, and a collection of practical tools and tips on how to put Business Design into practice. 

 
 

Our Philosophy

We believe innovation matters.

Innovation is essential to competing in a fast-paced global marketplace. Managing the business of today while creating new value for the future is a tough balance. Business innovators need practical ways to ignite new ideas and design a roadmap for future success. 

We believe in the human capacity to innovate.

Inspired by the Zulu word that means ‘to awaken and to stir into action,’ Vuka’s mission is to awaken your capacity to innovate. 

We believe Business Design brings together the best of business and design thinking.

Through this approach, you will identify meaningful unmet needs, create new-to-the-world solutions, and devise a strategy to direct your money and energies toward your envisioned future. 

We believe our role is to build your capacity to innovate.

While tackling your challenges together, we help you build innovation skills through the application of Business Design and embed new ways of working that will make your enteprise more future ready. 

 

Business Design

 

Business Design is a discipline that integrates best business practices with design thinking – design inspired mindsets and methods. The aim is to create new value for all stakeholders, and a distinct strategy for the enterprise to deliver on bold ideas and win in the marketplace.

By leveraging important design principles and practices, Business Design helps business teams to develop bigger customer-inspired ideas faster and more holistically, define clearer and more competitive strategies for success, and build the alignment needed to get traction in going to market. Practices include cross-disciplinary collaboration, stakeholder need-finding, storytelling, rapid prototyping, co-creation of new value-added offerings and experiences with customers, systems mapping, and learning experiments. 

 

Gear 1: Empathy & Deep Human Understanding

A deep understanding of who matters to your enterprise and what matters to them reveals fresh, original insights, and opportunities to create new and distinct value. 

Gear 2: Concept Visualization

Designing a richer and more compelling human experience creates new value. Iterative prototyping and co-creation helps translate imagined possibilities into tangible products and services that are meaningful to your users and unite all stakeholders. 

Gear 3: Strategy & Activation

Defining the strategy and activation plan to make big ideas valuable to both the market and to the enterprise brings strategic focus to your efforts and investments.