A sea turtle lays more than 100 eggs each nesting season, but only a handful will successfully hatch and survive the journey into the ocean. Creating a new business is a little bit like being a sea turtle mom — you want to know your environment and create many versions of your offer to increase your odds of success.

When it comes to making sure those sea turtle babies — I mean, uh, your business ideas — thrive, there are two methods that can help: Design thinking is the approach for discovering which of your eggs has the best chances…

I asked my students during a class on Business Design at Stanford’s d.school how they might innovate on IKEA’s business. The engineers and scientists’
hands rose immediately.

“Offer interior design services!”
“Launch a more premium brand!”
“Take back old furniture as a way to discount the price of new purchases!”

Great ideas, no? I then asked them to talk through generating a business
model to support one of those proposals. This time, no hands went up. They turned their eyes down and examined the floor.

At IDEO there are people who design in pixels or steel, and then there are

kerry oconnor

design thinker and doer @IDEO and @stanforddschool. anthropological business designer. factory tour aficionado.

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