What is business design, and how does it fit within ‘innovation’?

Here at Bamboo Crowd, we often get questions around business design from strong candidates, particularly from consulting backgrounds, who want to get involved – but are unsure if they’re qualified.

‘Do I have to be able to draw?’

‘Do I need to redo my CV… or do a portfolio?’

‘I’ve already done numerous innovation projects – does this count?’

And so on.

The good news is that they have a lot of transferrable skills – many innovation processes utilised by commercial strategy houses are broadly analogous to those of companies such as Doblin, frog and IDEO.

A business designer, like an innovation consultant, would be expected to facilitate workshops, manage stakeholders, run ideation sessions, and test the validity of their solutions. Vast quantities of post-it notes will be involved.

Everyone has the ideal project in mind – however the reality is often different, with budgets being cut and parts of the process being squeezed, others being stretched. In many innovation agencies, the initial research part of the project is often reduced, with subsequent work being done using existing insights.

 Business Designers won’t find themselves in this position as much as their straight-innovation peers – there is a far greater focus on keeping the end users in mind throughout the process, and the client will have purchased that methodology up front. 

Innovation consultants can certainly jump into business design, and vice versa. The difference lies in the way of building out the process.

Ultimately, in the words of Thomas Watson Jr, 2nd President of IBM, known as “the greatest capitalist in history”…

“Good design is good business.”

Interested in roles spanning business design and innovation? Check out these and many more besides at send a CV over to

Service Design for boutique customer strategy consultancy

Strategist for innovation agency connecting corporate start up world better

Creative Strategist to build breakthrough digital products and services for leading brands


I’m a Founding Partner of Bamboo Crowd. I help our clients invest better in people and scale through Engine. I solve recruitment challenges and help our clients source the best talent across operations, business development, programme management, and technology. Ask me about good films, beards and hip hop.