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Define Customer Groups, Nature of Business and Level of Ambition.

Although Delimiting is not part of the original Design Thinking Cycle, it goes without saying that you need to limit the scope of your research. You do that by defining the customers you want to serve and the nature of your business. This can be done in a very brought sense. Customer groups can be defined by country, gender, income, social status, motivation etc. The nature of your business can be defined by type: service, manufacturing, intermediary, trading, licencing, etc or by industry: food, energy, education, health, finance etc. Base your choices primarily on your personal interests, your strength, your skills, your assets, your ambitions and your passion.

Besides defining customer groups and nature of business, its essential that you state your level of ambition. Quantify the size of your business and the impact it has socially, environmentally en financially in five to ten years.

At the end of the Delimit Phase you need to have chosen:

  • Who your customers are (and who aren't):
    • geographic
    • demographic 
    • socio-economic
    • life style and (social)networks
    • behavior and preferences
  • What the nature of your business is (choose one or more):
    • conceptualization
    • design and engineering
    • (project or product) development
    • contracting
    • manufacturing
    • stock-holding trade and maintenance
    • marketplace and intermediary
    • retail and distribution
    • education
    • professional service and consultancy
    • financial service and banking (including rental service)
    • personal service and healthcare
  • What product or service idea you want to pursue
  • What the level of your ambition will be

Research process and methods:

  • PLAN:
    • Orientation: formulate required outcome of this design phase
      • brainstorm
    • Strategy: formulate research strategy
      • choose methodology
      • substantiate choices
      • plan activities
    • Data gathering
      • do desk research
      • conduct interviews
    • Formulate hypothesis
      • analyse data
      • brainstorm
      • apply critical thinking
    • Test hypothesis
      • desk research
      • surveys
      • interviews
    • Adjust hypothesis when necessary and test again
      • assess information
      • apply critical thinking
      • determine actual outcome of the research process
    • Review research process
      • review
      • reflect
      • act to adjust general research strategy
ndw 2014