Business Design is a discipline that integrates human-centered design and business strategy.

This collaborative approach has proven to help teams to contextualize opportunities, discover new human insights, develop bigger ideas faster and more holistically, define clearer and more competitive business strategies for success, and build the alignment needed to get traction in going to market. 

Business Design was first developed through seven years of dedicated research at the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management under Heather Fraser’s leadership and advanced through 7 years of application across a wide range of organizations at Vuka Innovation. This approach has proven to be a learnable, reputable and scalable innovation discipline.

We have helped teams create meaningful new value for the market and their enterprise through the 3 Gears of Business Design since 2012.

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Gear 1: Empathy & Deep Human Understanding
Understanding of who matters and deeply exploring what matters to them reveals fresh, original insights, and opportunities to create new and meaningful value for all stakeholders, with your customers at the center.  

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 people.

Gear 3: Strategy & Activation
Defining the business requirements and activation plan to make big ideas valuable to both the market and to the enterprise brings strategic focus to your efforts and investments. 

To activate that framework, there’s nothing more powerful than the combination of design and business practices. Business Design draws upon tried and true design practices - a deep understanding people’s needs and exploring possibilities through iterative prototyping and co-creation in a rapid development process. Adding more horsepower to the innovation process, Business Design uniquely combines those practices with business principles on strategy, market sizing, monetization, risk-mitigation through, experimentation, opportunity validation, and resource planning.


To spark your thinking on how Business Design might contribute to your innovation agenda and enterprise success, you can learn more about the practice of Business Design in Heather’s book, and these select videos and articles.