How the Design Hustle can help your business


by Derek Ellis

Want to take your product to the next level? Derek Ellis, our DESIGN Division President, lets you in on our Design Hustles and explains their power in uncovering fresh points of view and previously unexplored territories


by Derek Ellis

Want to take your product to the next level? Derek Ellis, our DESIGN Division President, lets you in on our Design Hustles and explains their power in uncovering fresh points of view and previously unexplored territories

We’re in an unprecedented time and the industry is facing challenges it’s never faced before. To continue to thrive within the current global climate, organizations will need to quickly solve problems and grab opportunities with new, innovative ideas and solutions. We’re in an era where there has never been a greater need for innovation at pace.

With that in mind, we’ve introduced a new offering to our DESIGN Division.

Enter the ‘Design Hustle’.

Let me elaborate.

What is a Design Hustle?

A Design Hustle is a specialized squad of design experts using a proven process to identify and solve problems in a structured and systematic way. Our team of expert designers work with clients old and new to explore an issue or opportunity. They’re here to form and shape ideas, uncover insights, and make things that are otherwise intangible, tangible.

It can be as simple as working with our clients to identify what the problem is that we need to solve or coming at an issue from a different angle. If a business is ‘too close’ to a situation, we provide a fresh approach and different angles to previously unexplored territories. Often, Design Hustles are the first point of call from our Division and are run before design work begins.

How can Hustles help?

The output from a Design Hustle adapts to solve a particular problem. It can help if you’d like to achieve any of the following goals:

  • Identify opportunities for product innovation
  • Define a product vision and strategy
  • Align stakeholders on a product vision
  • Test the viability of a concept or product
  • Accelerate your vision through prototyping and validation
  • Reinvigorate your in-market product
  • Identify areas to drive engagement and loyalty

Who can it help?

We run these sessions internally as well as with our clients. They can help any internal or external team with an issue that could benefit from fresh perspectives and design thinking.

We tend to identify businesses that could benefit from Design Hustles via our CAFE model, which stands for clarity, advancement, focus, and evidence.

  • Clarity: If you are looking for a deeper understanding of your audience, product, or the industry you work within.
  • Advancement: If you want to take your product to the next level, stand out from your competitors, and grow profitability.
  • Focus: If you want to bring greater cohesion to your product strategy, team alignment, and areas of focus.
  • Evidence: If you’d like confirmation that a particular idea or strategy will resonate with your target audience.

How do they work?

Members of our DESIGN Division lead interactive, highly collaborative workshops, each designed to provide invaluable insights surrounding far-reaching issues.

A Design Hustle can vary in length depending on the goal. We run half-day Hustles where we work together to unpick and deconstruct a smaller client issue, or we could lead a three-month Hustle where we analyze, deep dive and solve a much wider issue.

For example, a half-day hustle may result in a clearly defined direction, however, a follow-up Hustle would be available and recommended to dive deeper and uncover the opportunity in more detail.

If the opportunity still feels like a strong proposition after being put through the hustle process, the client can confidently present it to the wider business or exec teams to progress the business case.

The longer the Hustle, the more confident you’ll be in implementing the solution or strategy.

If the challenge is around product design, Hustles assist to design and build better (or the right) products faster. Along with problem-solving, our Hustles are designed to provide momentum, impact and confidence.

They also give shape to ideas and could lead to initial design concepts and prototypes which can then be used to undertake early audience testing to further support your findings with data. Refinement of the idea or concept is continuous, however, once the concept has been vigorously tested, you then begin to design the product.

Overall, the entire Design Hustle process can be adapted based on requirements. Our role is to facilitate discussion to get to the heart of the matter and explore the all-important ‘why’.

By having the experts involved early in the process, we’re able to and often reframe the problem to see it from another angle or lens. The simple act of undertaking this process often leads to immediate lightbulb moments for internal teams or stakeholders.

How can we measure success?

Of course, every product, every client, every situation is different – and so, definitions of success will vary. However, indicators of success can be the following:

  1. Looking at a situation in a different way to stimulate thinking
  2. Identifying the right problem that needs to be solved
  3. Systematically working through an iterative idea generation phase, to give shape to an idea, validating assumptions as we go
  4. Arriving at a potential solution that addresses the original problem with some degree of certainty

Want to find out how the Design Hustle can help your business? Get in touch. Stay tuned for the next article in our design series, which will explore the business impact of great design.

We love to hear from you. If you have any questions, say hello over on Twitter or LinkedIn.