Business analysis in design

It was only a few years ago that I started using structured business analysis techniques (SWOT, Porter’s 5 Forces) on design projects. I really wish that I had learned them in University. Both for their ability to sell an idea and to develop new ideas.

How many people use something like this? What other techniques do you find helpful?

We use SWOT analysis quite a bit.

there are a ton, and I use different ones when it fits a project. I particularly like branding tools myself

Here’s a tool overview from the European Institute of Brand Management

One thing I’ve noticed is with analysis like SWOT, bad information produces bad analysis. I loose faith in the tools when the input is based on biased stakeholders opinions

Michael Treacy’s value principles.

Jeff Bezo’s variation on the BCI chart.

A modified AIDA chart.

A “proprietary” semantic profile tool. But if you are interested, I’d spill the beans.

Customizing and creating new tools is where it’s at

I think that, and clever ways of gathering input, is where a designer/consultancy has an advantage

You guys are starting to give me some great summer reading. Keep it coming!

one of my favorites, easy in theory, is variations of Thomas Gads 4-D branding… this is a really rough explaination, but you brainstorm around the functional, aspiration, external, and inspiring dimensions of a product to define what it really is. The book is OK, and I didn’t get into the “spiritual” parts of the inspiring dimension, so that’s the part I usually change

Another couple questions:

Those of you who have no idea what we are talking about, say something. I’d like to know if we are in the vast minority or average.

Yo, Travis, iab: where did you guys pick these things up? On the job? School?

At corporations a little, but mostly at consultancies.

The tools were mainly used by strategists & business analysts though. Results were given to design teams as briefs.

For me, I did a MA in Brand/Design Strategy to focus on what they were doing. I learned a massive amount, mostly from recommended reading & industry contacts, but also the dissertation which was about combining tools.

Big learnings: no tool fits perfect & knowing of a variety helps you craft new ones for the challenges/results you want

School, work, Barnes & Noble.

I’m most familiar with SWOT and used that in some venture consulting I did a few years ago. Is that the one from Blue Ocean Strategy? I read that book but don’t remember all the models they used. I’d imagine the other ones are similar? We should post what they actually are, would be great for students to see.

Also, I know I was sick of 2x2s by the time I got out of school even, but they seem to be useful in a more qualitative way. :smiley:

Here’s a discussion on brand tools how do you approach “brand” in your ID Projects?