Design Masterlcass

#Communication #Service design

Design Masterclass


What we did?
Develop the educational program

Who did it?
Kaarel Mikkin
J.Margus Klaar
Design Minds

Design Masterclass

The Design Masterclass is a 6-month design thinking program, made for exporting companies operating in Estonia. Through a combination of lectures and mentoring, under the guidance of 15 experienced design managers, companies develop a user-centric approach in order to improve the competitiveness of their products and services. The Design Masterclass was created by BDA, Design Minds and Brand Manual.

The Design Masterclass helps address a univeral problem: namely, that companies often ignore the real needs of their customers and end users, avoid real change or innovation, and copy competitors instead.

The Masterclass solves the problem with a methodology that integrates design thinking into the everyday processes of the company. The key indicators are user engagement, progress in product development skills and real business results.

Corporate teams (incl the management) enter the Masterclass with an idea for a new product or service. During the program, they define the actual pain points of customers and users, introduce new business and service models and develop working prototypes for their product.  

The Program

The 6-month program includes a significant amount of intensive work under the guidance of trainers and design managers – conducting research, interviews, workshops, prototyping, testing, further development. The methodology of the program is divided into 7 stages:

1. Design audit by the design manager, who makes observations, interviews key people, validates the original idea/problem and redefines the initial brief

2. Design thinking and innovation course, development of business model and value proposition

3. Customer journey mapping, conducting user surveys, engaging real customers

4. Ideation and prototyping techniques, building lo-fidelity prototypes

5. Further development and testing of prototypes, collecting feedback, work on iterations

6. Service models, implementation of circular design, delivering the MVP

7. Final pitch to an independent jury to win a €10,000 investment

The assigned design managers guide companies in their practical independent work – at least 30 hours in workshops, 20 hours of individual work by the design manager and an estimated minimum of 70 hours of development work within the company. A total of 115 people participated in the first round of the programme, spending about 13,800 hours on learning and implementing design thinking. 29 out of 30 companies delivered a real product or service prototype during the program.

The Outcome

As a result of the program, participants have developed new competitive advantages, improved existing products, created new service models, and discovered customer segments and markets they were not previously aware of. The jury has chosen two companies worthy of investment:

Factory 7 – A manufacturer of ventilation equipment for large kitchens, who, understanding the needs of the chefs and owners of the restaurant, developed a new modular ventilation unit. The installation, ease of use, maintenance and efficiency of which were unrivalled after the program. This unique product is now in commercial production.

Dipperfox – A land improvement company developed a stump drill that is 5-15 times faster and more efficient than its competitors, crushing the stump in just 20 seconds. As a result, construction and land improvement companies save hundreds of wo/man-hours, wages, equipment rental costs, and do less damage to nature. Dipperfox launched its new product and brand even before the official end of the DMK program.

Make sure to check out Dipperfox case study here. 

The participants’ feedback to the quality of the program was extremely high, reaching 9.64 out of 10 points. The integrity of the program, educational workshops, extensive independent work, inspiring guest speakers and design managers were praised. The masterclass shaped a new, customer-centric way of thinking, which was immediately applied to partipant’s everyday work. Today, with the support of Enterprise Estonia and the European Regional Development Fund, the program has been run twice. In 2018/20 30 companies completed it and the program will continue in an improved form also in the 2020/21 season, reaching 40 more companies.