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Business leaders looking for new sources of competitive advantage and agility are starting to embrace business design. And for good reason.

With broad applicability, business design allows companies to augment traditional problem-solving approaches with principles of design thinking to drive innovation. It provides a new way of looking at challenges, solving problems and understanding those they serve.

Many business leaders continue to confuse business design with other design methodologies. Once they dispel with four flawed assumptions, they will see its potential to improve the relevance of solutions they create, as well as the manner and speed with which they create them.

Managers rank creative thinking and experimentation—critical elements of business design—as among the most important skills for their roles in the next five years.


In today's very different, fast-changing environment, business leaders know they need to adapt.

In today’s very different, fast-changing environment, business leaders know they need to adapt. Accenture Strategy has found that:

  • Nearly all executives (92 percent) recognize their organizations must be faster, more networked and more collaborative.

Business design may give them just the capability they need.

  • Highest-performing organizations have more change taking place—30 to 50 percent more initially—and at a faster pace.

  • Highest-performing organizations thrive on change, with more change taking place at a faster pace.

Business design is a clear enabler of high performance. It encourages and enables companies to conduct iterative experiments, based on data, to develop better answers to business problems, wherever they might exist in the organization.


As just one example, a European bank used business design to boost the conversion rate of its Internet Savings website. The effort involved conducting multi-variate testing of nearly 650 variations of the site’s landing page. This fast, iterative approach to improving the page increased conversion rates by 290 percent—or 29 times the original goal.



To take advantage of what business design has to offer, leaders should:

  • Identify problems that matter most. Explore business design opportunities that address value leakage and organizational distress.

  • Create a team of creative catalysts. “Make and buy” the capabilities needed to seize opportunities and seed creative thinking.

  • Champion a new way of working across the organization. Select leaders who embrace creative problem solving and are user-obsessed, collaborative and intuitive. Embed change with new organizational models, design-friendly workspaces, tools and competencies.

  • Foster a culture of speed and experimentation. Start small, with incremental improvements. Designate iterative experimentation as a KPI.



Yaarit helps companies around the world achieve high performance by improving their organizational effectiveness. She has extensive experience in diagnosing complex organizational performance issues and designing, implementing and sustaining large-scale journey management, human capital strategy and talent strategy solutions, as well as leadership development programs. Yaarit is based in Atlanta.

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Kent is focused on empowering organizations to optimize their operating models and embrace transformational change in the digital age. He is experienced in leading organizational strategy projects from operating model designs that drive growth and efficiency to the shaping and governance of enterprise-wide business transformation and turnaround programs in the United Kingdom, Europe, United States and Middle East. Kent is based in London.


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Ben is a senior manager in Accenture’s Talent & Organization Strategy practice, specializing in operating model design and organization effectiveness across consumer goods, retail and downstream energy. Ben is based in London.

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