Getting started with Enterprise Design – Field Notes: Intersection 2020

Day two of the Intersection 2020 contained a number of re-runs from the previous day. However, I think it also contained my favourite session so far: Starter Kit. This session introduced us to some tools that the team behind Intersection, particularly Enterprise Design Associates, had put together to conduct enterprise design.

I really enjoyed hearing a bit more about the academic underpinnings of the enterprise design frameworks and tools. However, this sessions biggest benefit was the chance to get hands-on with some of the methodologies and tools developed by Enterprise Design Associates.

Intersection 2020 Basecamp (Intersection20)

Basecamp Session 5: Enterprise Design Starter Kit

Session Objectives

  1. provide some of the research and the framework that underpins enterprise design methodologies

  2. introduce the enterprise design starter kit

  3. test runs some of the methods

Key Takeaway

The starter kit covers the five components of the enterprise design approach:

  1. Facets (a shared vocabulary)

  2. Scan (a research tool)

  3. Maps (a language and templates)

  4. Sprint (a workshop format)

  5. System (a tool for sharing & reuse)

We focused primarily on Scan and Sprint as previous sessions covered Facets and Maps.

Enterprise Design Scan



The scan exercise used Microsoft as an example enterprise. We were presented with twelve statements and were given three votes each to select the statements we felt best reflected Microsoft. Once we made our choice, each statement revealed as a positive or negative statement about the six facets of an enterprise. The results could then be tallied to identify the most impactful facet (total of votes on the positive and negative statement) and the sentiment (the result of positive minus negative votes).

What I liked about this exercise was the simple way it honed in on the focus areas for applying enterprise design. By capturing both relative importance and sentiment, you could understand why a stakeholder’s overall impression of an enterprise is positive even while some areas may be negative. In our Microsoft example, the group assessed Microsoft’s organisation as needing some work (not as clear and collaborative as it could be), the overall vote count on this was 13 with a negative sentiment of -5. This was outweighed by the experience (we assessed Microsoft as making a valuable contribution to our lives) with a positive sentiment of 9. So overall we had a positive experience with Microsoft even while thinking the way they organised themselves needs some work.


Enterprise Design Scan Survey

Enterprise Design Scan Survey (developed by Enterprise Design Associates, CC-NC-SA 4.0 free usage license)

Enterprise Design Sprints

In the second exercise, we were split into groups to create an Enterprise Design Sprint for four different scenarios. We were given a set of workshop activity cards that described some activities that could be remixed into a specific workshop recipe to respond to the scenario given. My group had the scenario “designing a new product or service.” It was tempting to simply regurgitate the GV Design Sprint, on which the Enterprise Design Sprint methodology was modelled. But my team introduced two new activities that brought a broader enterprise lens to the sprint plan we produced.

One was the “Enterprise Outcome Map”. This activity is to list the target outcomes for the enterprise and then answer the questions ‘How do we know if we have impact?’ and ‘What outputs will get us there?’ We chose this as part of the Define phase of the sprint in contrast to the use of metrics. We felt this approach grounded our new product or service in the identity of the enterprise, which was useful for the context of an established enterprise as opposed to a start-up.

Another unique spin we added to the sprint was “Enterprise Story Writing”. This activity involved writing stories about the target enterprise from the perspectives of the key actors involved. The team member who suggested this thought it could take the form of the “Press Release” activity made popular by Amazon. By putting this in the prototype phase, the story-writing activity became a thought experiment of placing the new product or service into the enterprise context to identify required success criteria and possible failure points.

Links I Clicked

Just one link to follow from this session:

  1. Video: Designing Better Enterprises by Milan Guenther

Where to Learn More

Parts of the starter kit and resources about enterprise design can be found at the Enterprise Design Associates website. More on design sprints can be found in the Sprint book by Jake Knapp and co-authors.

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