Finding a Suitable Business Design Framework for Startups – an Action Research Case Study

No Thumbnail Available
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
School of Business | Master's thesis
Ask about the availability of the thesis by sending email to the Aalto University Learning Centre
Degree programme
International Design Business Management
This thesis tackles the topic of business design in startup context. Business design is a business development and innovation approach that combines human-centric design thinking with more traditional strategic thinking and business analysis. Business design has gained an increasing amount of attention during the past years, and it seems to be moving to mainstream as a business innovation method. Business design has been researched quite a lot in terms of business models and strategies, but from the author’s point view the contextual aspects of startups and their effect on the utilization and selection of business design methodologies have been getting less attention. From the author’s point of view, not knowing the appropriate business design process, tools and methods for startups has serious implications, as it hinders the level of innovation and startups might end up wasting their valuable resources. This issue was the key driver for the research and the quest of finding a suitable business design framework for startups. The literature part of this thesis, presents the theories behind business design. The theories include design thinking, business model design, strategy design, business design tools, and also theories on business design capabilities on both organizational and individual levels. The research on its part starts by forming a business design framework for startups, based on the current literature. The framework is then analyzed and revised through an action research case study with a real startup operating in clothing retail industry. The thesis is concluded with discus-sions on the research findings and their implications on the framework itself, startups, and busi-ness designers alike. As a result of the research, the author provides a business design framework that proposes more efficient and successful utilization of business design approach in startup con-text. The proposed framework includes a process and a set of tools, and also key takeaways that help startuppers and business designers to avoid certain pitfalls that arise from using inappropri-ate methods, which are more suitable for bigger companies with more resources, in startup settings.
Thesis advisor
Turunen, Taija
business design, design thinking, business innovation, strategy, liiketoimintamuotoilu, muotoiluajattelu, business models, design culture, design capabilities, innovointi, strategia, liiketoimintamallien muotoilu
Other note