We’ve used Business Design to help enterprises of all sizes and across many sectors tackle a variety of challenges. Our work has included designing transformational business strategies, new customer experiences, more effective innovation processes and programs to build skills and ‘enterprise readiness’ to innovate on an ongoing basis. Some of these stories are captured in Heather’s latest book.

Here are some examples of how we have helped our clients:


Strategic Planning

Strategic Transformation

What we did:
Engaged the organization, its Board and other key stakeholders in a global assessment of market opportunities, discover of needs across a multitude of stakeholders in a complex system, creation of a bold vision of the future, and a strategy to create new value for people across health systems around the world through stakeholder research and a series of collaborative workshops. This led to a bold strategic shift that leveraged their existing capabilities and an activation plan to transform their business. This story is told in Design Works.

“We’ve never worked with a more engaged team – Vuka has effectively gotten the whole organization involved in the strategy development and design process.”

Leslee Thompson, President & CEO
Health Standards Organization


Strengthening a Professional Community 

What we did: Redefined the Purpose, Value Proposition, service model and business strategy for a national professional services association by engaging the Board, staff and members in every stage of the 3 Gears of Business. This led to a new strategy to enhance the value the CBA brought to their community of professionals. This story is told in Design Works.

“The VUKA team, led by Heather Fraser, helped the Canadian Bar Association uncover innovative strategic directions through the use of Business Design.  Words that spring to mind when I think of this experience are transformational; brilliant; innovative; engaging; and energizing.”

Cathy Cummings, Project Manager,
CBA Re-Think The Canadian Bar Association


Articulating a Strategy to Improve Health Care

What we did: Aligned the leadership and Board on a precise, distinct Strategy for advancing and scaling the unique capabilities of an organization dedicated to evidence-based healthcare improvement, resulting in increased government investment. This story is told in Design Works.

“Vuka created the capacity for us to think and helped us articulate what was in our heads in the clearest, most compelling manner.”

Maureen O’Neil, President
The Canadian Foundation for Healthcare Improvement 


Designing a Strategy for Growth

What we did: Built strategic alignment around a renewed 5-year business strategy for a leading confectionery company, reversed business declines and set the business on a path for double-digit growth fueled by new product and marketing initiatives.  This story is told in Design Works.

“This approach to Business Design helped build team alignment early on around a common understanding of the consumer and a shared path forward. The outputs of this workshop approach were critical and salient and absolutely drove business results.”

Elizabeth Frank, Vice-President, Marketing (2008)
Nestlé Confectionery (Canada)


Designing a Better Experience

Designing an Engaging Brand Experience

What we did: Defined a distinct brand Value Proposition and designed a customer-centered service experience for a high-tech healthcare start-up to accelerate growth, attract funding and carve out distinct position in the marketplace. This story is told in Design Works. 

“Heather and her team transformed us into a design-inspired company by leading us through a process that helped us to look at our business and clients from an entirely new perspective. We have re-focused around new opportunities and re-shaped our client experience based on insights driven from the Business Design sessions. It was an opportunity to re-energize our team and priorities that set us on our current path of success and scale.” 

Jeff Ruby, Chief Executive Officer,
Newtopia Inc.


Re-designing Patient Pathways

What we did: Identified opportunities to improve the lives of patients at risk of sudden cardiac arrest by designing more effective care pathways and devising more precise solutions and a strategic shift to systems solutions. This story is told in Design Works.

“The output of the project has helped us reframe the issue and get focused on what really matters, which is ultimately the patient. This helped drive alignment within our organization and ultimately led to more focused efforts and improved long-term results.”

Company Team Leader,
Medtronic Inc.


Designing a More Effective Sales Process

What we did: Identified opportunities to improve the customer sales and fulfillment experience and boost close rates by better meeting customer needs, addressing points of pain and closing the gaps in the in-home experience. 

 “Vuka’s ‘Gear 1’ principles gave us valuable insights into our sales and service processes that we have not been able to glean from traditional surveys.­ The Vuka team brought a fresh perspective to analyzing the results and presented findings in a simple way so we could share customer feedback directly with Executives and customer facing team members.­ We are already making changes to our sales and fulfillment processes, and customers are rewarding us with improved Net Promoter scores.”

Chris Chapman, former Director Strategic Initiatives
Reliance Comfort LP


Improving Patient Safety

What we did: Reframed the organization’s flagship program using Business Design methodology with an aim to build a bolder, more inclusive approach to reducing avoidable harm to patients across the healthcare system. 

"Thank you Vuka for all your outstanding work with our Safer Healthcare Now team. It has really helped move our thinking and we are excited about what the future will bring.  I've been truly impressed with your ability to push our thinking."

Chris Power, CEO
Canadian Patient Safety Institute


Designing a Better Patient Experience

What we did: Engaged multiple stakeholders in envisioning a better chemotherapy patient experience, prioritizing investments and guiding development through to the build-out of a new facility and supporting services. This story is told in Design Works.

“The project allowed us to bring people from across the hospital to design a new chemotherapy suite with the patient in mind and with real patient feedback on their experience of care. Doctors, nurses, researchers, clerical staff, volunteers, management – many of whom have never worked together before were able to share ideas, build something tangible and feel like they had a stake in the final outcome.”

Sarah Downey, Vice-President
Princess Margaret Hospital, University Health Network


Centering Post-Secondary Education on the Student

What we did: Redesigned the delivery of post-secondary education with student needs at the centre to inform an Ontario policy framework and identify development priorities that would build graduate competence and confidence. 

“A passion for postsecondary students and a commitment to improving their educational experience were hallmarks of VUKA’s work for HEQCO. Storytelling was foundational to their research approach, bringing a unique perspective to the system design issues HEQCO was exploring.” 

Fiona Deller, Executive Director, Policy & Partnerships
Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario (HEQCO)


Innovation Design Process

Designing a Process to Fill the Innovation Pipeline

What we did: Co-designed an innovation framework and process that embeds design mindsets & practices into R&D, inspires the organization to meet unmet consumer needs and fills the innovation pipeline with new growth initiatives. The process empowered teams to increase the number of new initiatives, made it more cost-effective and accelerated the early innovation process.

 "The Vuka team was instrumental in collaborating with our team to design a global R&D Design Process that utilizes a 'design mindset' and a productive way of working. We loved how they were able to quickly understand our needs, and how we worked together along the way. In every session, we made great progress with R&D and our cross functional partners. The outcome was a process and tool kit that can be easily applied to any R&D innovation challenge and scale across the organization. We got traction as soon as it was put into play!"

Kelly Sepcic, Ph.D. former Vice President Research and Development
PepsiCo, Frito Lay North America


Innovation Readiness Profiling and Capacity-Building

Identifying Opportunities to Elevate the Enterprise

What we did: Assessed the current state of organizational ‘readiness’ to innovate through an all-employee survey to pinpoint opportunities unique to the organization. Follow-up employee workshops led to an action plan to build innovation readiness, which prove to boost innovation readiness in the follow-up survey. This story is told in Design Works.

“Vuka’s Innovation Readiness survey provided detailed information that revealed what was holding back our progress, and follow-up results showed our progress. We celebrated our successes and challenged ourselves to continue our journey!”

Suzanne Larocque, Chief People Officer
Health Standards Organization


Taking Action on Innovation Readiness

What we did: Designed a program to embed Business Design into everyday practices through a series of ‘train the trainers’ sessions. This effort resulted in boosting perceptions and performance in the organization’s Innovation Readiness survey results, as noted above.