Business Design Arises

Anderson Penha

  Open Access OPEN ACCESS  Peer Reviewed PEER-REVIEWED

Business Design Arises

Anderson Penha

Business Designer, Symnetics, São Paulo, Brasil


This article highlights the importance for business to create value for itself and for society. In this process, businesspersons should give room for creative and intuitive thinking to help building value by integrating design thinking onboard. Its application to business has allowed designers to build new business models or to revolutionize new forms of doing business. By opening their minds, businesspersons can work in collaboration with the designers and co-create value for their companies and for society.

Cite this article:

  • Penha, Anderson. "Business Design Arises." Journal of Business and Management Sciences 2.5 (2014): 103-104.
  • Penha, A. (2014). Business Design Arises. Journal of Business and Management Sciences, 2(5), 103-104.
  • Penha, Anderson. "Business Design Arises." Journal of Business and Management Sciences 2, no. 5 (2014): 103-104.

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1. Introduction

1.1. Business

Society has always been living in constant trade relations. It is hard to identify exactly when that started, but it is known that these relations were mostly responsible for creating and stimulating what we call today “business”.

From a social and economic point of view, business fulfillment works on the principle of exchanging values between the parties involved (directly and indirectly if a modern view is applied). This perception of value is, on many occasions, built through goods and services interactions improving and transforming people’s life.

Looking in this way, we notice that business existence has been encouraged by the continuous search for creating value for our society. And irrespective of time and changes about what is value for this group, this premise continues valid.

Thus, ways of identifying clearly what is value, as well as creating, become the central activity in any business resulting a constant movement of offering something on existing demand in society.

This movement, in a logic free market, when stimulated, offers more than it could be consumed, leading to the toughest dispute among suppliers/providers and customers.

In this situation, business as identification, creation and exchange of value starts to look for differentiation from its main activities in such a way as to better serve customers in relation to other providers, creating a continuous dynamic of creative destruction of its own business.

And it is in this scenario that design principles become useful, not only for product and service differentiation, but also for business as a whole.

1.2. Design

It is common for people from around the business world correlate design to its key attribute, style.

Perhaps, because that activity is strongly associated with artifacts conception and recently with digital channel services.

However, design is much more than beauty shape. Its foundation stimulates a much more holistic thinking, an empathetic and creative vision, able to be translated into a more harmonious language.

This thinking, according to Roger Martin [1], allows logic talks to intuition, in order to get amazing and original findings.

Therefore, creating different ideas, able to easily connect with a target audience, may be facilitated by design thinking. In its essence, this is part of how people view and answer to the world around them, going beyond method and tool uses.

People who did so, either graduated designers or not, assumed an active role on creation of value for society, as Tim Brown [2] skillfully states.

1.3. Business + Design

These days the biggest challenge found in enterprises is the integration of these two types of thinkings. The businessperson, for a long time on their education, was encouraged to lead their business logically (deductive and inductive), giving little room for creative and intuitive thinking to help in building of value.

This kind of “culture” resulted in predictable business differentiating decisions, limiting them to listed options by Michael Porter [3].

When business people move forward their process thinking and integrate the design thinking on it, not only the opportunity to seek differentiation arise, but also the opportunity to question every existing business model (identification, creation and exchange of value) in search of new ways to generate value, according to Marty Neumeier [4].

2. Business Design

Currently we see around the world a growing number of examples where businessmen were able to work the two lines of logical-intuitive thinking through design thinking and have created interesting business models. More recently, companies like Kickstarter ( Quirky ( and Leila ( has revolutionized not only its forms of doing business, but also how we think the economy.

In Brazil has been no different, the number of companies, foundations and NGOs that have used design thinking to identify, (co)create and exchange value differently has increased year by year.

A great example of it is the Victor Civita Foundation (, one connected to the Abril group communication, which aims to improve the quality of Brazilian Basic Education by generation of content and creation of tools that can help teachers and school managers.

Looking at a new phase the institution invited Symentics, a business strategy and innovation consultancy company to help design a new operating model and thus create more ideas and contemporary designs suitable to the needs and geographical limitations of teachers, administrators and educational institutions across Brazil.

To work with such a challenge Symentics applied the methods and tools of design thinking and co-creation with the aim of bringing out the latent needs that touch the lives of an acting teacher in Brazil.

The journey was divided into four major stages: Exploration; Analysis, Synthesis; Realization. During the Exploration phase, a group of consultants and researchers were into the field to understand the way of life of teachers and administrators in the most part of the country. Throughout this activity became apparent the contrasts in the region and the difficulties of access a cutting edge educational content. Result of the lack of a channel and language appropriate to that audience.

Subsequently, all the inputs of research raised were moved to step Analysis. At this time the Foundation team invited some teachers and education experts to deepen the dilemmas encountered and generate relevant insights for creation. It was possible to notice that the business and design tools work in perfect harmony at this stage, helping to devise design principles of extreme relevance for the entire project.

In the Synthesis step, the project team could create and co-create solutions, designing ideas and prototype them in order to facilitate the understanding of each concepts developed. The playful and constructive side of prototypes makes concepts and numbers previously tangibles, allowing better communication among all involved. The value created could be checked out by the public target, avoiding waste of time and resources on some ideas relevant to the context.

After have identified the problem of the market, the intrinsic value related to it and how to solve it, the most expensive phase begins. The Realization.

During the last stage, the prototypes gave way to pilot projects that aimed to connect the new business model/operations to a wider group of teachers and school managers scattered throughout Brazil and thereby validate the final concept of safe mode before making a third round of investment.

The project took about a year to generate its first results. Is possible to notice that it was not only ideas but a business change, much more open, experimental, collaborative with customers and partners. Just to really identify and create significant value for all.

3. New Business Arises

The emergences of new business models are living proof that a new way of thinking about business has emerged in society test. Many of these models were built in a co-creative way, assuming the role of being a new answer to old and new business problems.

In Brazil, and the world, the mechanistic business logic has gradually lost its space for new ways of thinking. And design thinking applied to business has allowed designers to build new business models.

The greatest difficulty is still working people and the culture of the company, so that rituals, symbols and myths of the past are reviewed and redesigned to connect with our time

Thus, it is possible to note that cultural change had little influence on trade relations where the parties were related to intention to exchange values with each other. However, with the evolution of thinking promoted by the emergence of various technologies, society began to question the way we have done it.

Specifically talking about business men, it is necessary to rethink the way they have done business and how opened they are to try new ways, show greater empathy for stakeholders (directly and indirectly) and being open to collaborate with everyone involved, so that, they can really co-create value for the whole society.


[1]  The Design of Business: Why Design Thinking Is the Next Competitive Advantage; Roger L. Martin, Harvard Business Press Books, 2009. Printed in Boston.
In article      
[2]  Change by design: How design thinking transforms organizations and inspires innovation. Tim Brown, Harper Collins Publishers, 2009. Printed in New York.
In article      
[3]  Competitive Strategy: Techniques for analyzing industries and competition. Michael Porter, The Free Press, 1980. Printed in New York.
In article      
[4]  The Designful Company: How to Build a Culture of Nonstop Innovation. Marty Neumeier, New Riders, 2009. Printed in California.
In article      
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