Business analytics development: the business model canvas meets design thinking

As part of our MBA course on business analytics we ran a weekend workshop investigating the use of analytics for GoGet, a car-sharing company. MBA students were organized into four teams of 5 or 6 members. The method draws on systems thinking, business model mapping, and design thinking. Outputs from the workshop were hand-drawn using a mix of flip-chart paper, sharpies, and post it notes – as in the rich picture below.

GoGet car-sharing rich picture

The workshop was structured around the following steps:

  1. background investigation (e.g., Web site, news, social media) of the situation, which is represented using a rich picture
  2. business model mapping using the business model canvas
  3. analytics leverage analysis – analytics opportunities are identified and rated according to difficulty and value creation potential
  4. each team then selected a single analytics opportunity to develop and created an opportunity canvas to elaborate on the benefits of the proposed development
  5. the teams then formulated their opportunity as a design challenge and ideated possible solutions
  6. personas relevant to their analytics application were developed (for customers and internal users, as appropriate)
  7. a storyboard was created to show how the analytics application is blended with business processes to create value for the case company
  8. a prototype of the user interface might be incorporated into the storyboard or added as a further deliverable.

In a day and a half each group generated a comprehensive analysis targeting different business analytics applications. The key to this approach is to focus on problems/opportunities and how business value is to be created. The same model (e.g., to predict which customers might have risky driving behaviours) can be blended with different business initiatives (e.g., increase collision excess, vary rates, implement telematics, request that a customer undergoes training) to create a business analytics value innovation project.

Drawing on a diverse and rich set of outputs each team made a five minute pitch to GoGet in which they were able to tell a compelling business value creation story. To do this they focused on the opportunity canvas, the personas, and the storyboard. The video shows the abundance, richness, and depth of thinking produced in the workshop.

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