Use design sprints to develop new business models around emerging products and services

  • Business
  • New Venture
  • 2019
  • Challenge
    Shape and accelerate high-impact business ideas developed internally in Henkel, validate market size, economic viability and make sure the idea addresses real pains points and customer needs.
  • Result
    A 5-day sprint to transform ideas into a solid business model, with a clear value proposition validated with real users through interviews, a unit economics model, a market sizing model, a digital prototype and a solid plan based on small incremental low-budget and low-risk POCs.

Through a dedicated business unit overseeing multiple initiatives, Henkel was focusing on innovation and digital transformation encouraging all employees regardless of their level, to propose innovative ideas that focus on revenue increase, cost reduction or efficiency increment. The process generated many business ideas across the globe addressing the various challenges.


Henkel wanted to create a process for validating the ideas and their feasibility prior to heavier investment, Henkel needed to identify critical parameters through which the relevant ideas could be evaluated. Simultaneously, the various teams needed to attend a learning program that trained them not only on the new methodology but also on a new approach and a shift of mindset. 


Very often innovative ideas are generated, a little less often they are actually developed with a holistic approach that is able to assess and evaluate their real potential. In order to further develop an idea in an efficient way, it is important not only to be fast but to mix into the process other different perspectives such as business, design and technology.

The Business Design Sprint, is a 5-days full immersion program that was created with a concrete and tangible approach in mind focusing on the development of a complete business model and its main components such as: value proposition, customer validation interviews, digital prototype, unit economics model, market size and incremental implementation plan.


The program is very intense but efficient. We start by defining a value proposition with the team and then focus on testing its main pillars using a sample of potential clients in order to refine the concept based on their specific needs. Once the value proposition is defined the team starts building all other business model components, including costs and revenues  assumptions that are needed for building a business case and a unit economics model.


To assess the real value of the addressed business opportunity teams also learn how to do a rapid and precise market sizing.

With the support of our UX Designers, teams are able to prototype their digital mockup (web app o app screens, landing pages, etc.) and create a visual representation to share with internal stakeholders. The last step of the sprint includes the development of an implementation plan with a low-budget and low-risk incremental test. The final step is a pitch of the sprint output to the management team including next steps budget request needed for actual implementation. 


It is obvious that finding ways to innovate must become an integrated part of our daily business, finding a methodology however that is suitable for organizational culture, approach and attitude is the bigger challenge and once consolidated with tangible experiments, corporates should use it to streamline their transformation process in an effort that creates real value.