Oh Yes. Three things that we do a lot at Idea Couture are 1/ Innovation 2/ Ethnography 3/Rapid Prototyping and each of them are closely related. 2 and 3 are common in the product design world but remains rare to business strategy and innovation process. Business strategy planners always struggle in developing new business concepts even though tons of quantitative data were being reviewed and at certain point they want to see to touch and fees those possibilities. organizations only get tangible about new business concepts after they’ve done planning, have a business case and already decided to go ahead with it. The problem for senior executives who make important resource decisions is they have a hard time getting a visceral sense of the concepts they are responsible for writing those big checks.
This is like when rapid experience prototyping comes into plan, being applied at an earlier stage to
support important decisions and to de-risks the projects. Design prototyping is often used in the design development process for the purpose of bringing the prototyped entity to market. The use of prototypes, however, has been moving upstream from design development to solving big strategic problem is new. I find that this is very effective although never taught in B=schools. I've been to a few of those and I have not seen a prof that can draw. Doesn't matter the quality of the drawings, this is about applying visualization at an earlier stage to support different decisions.
Upstream prototyping is useful before the decision to pursue a new business concept in uncharted territory has been made. It is used to show executives what no one is yet doing, but could do; and
what are the new possibilities and unanticipated surprises. It is about crating tangible futures of your business, isn't that called "strategy"?
There's a business week story about how visual interpretation of strategy can be extremely useful. In the fall of 2006, a group of senior European executives at Microsoft entered a meeting expecting to see a PowerPoint presentation. Instead, Steve Clayton—then the chief technology officer for Microsoft's U.K. Partner Group—showed them a hand-drawn image of an impish blue creature bearing gnarled fangs and sporting the provocative caption "Microsoft: Change the world or go home." After a few initial gasps, recalls Clayton, the attendees engaged in a lively discussion around the current direction of the company and the brand. "People liked the way it changed the angle of conversation," Clayton says.
Visual Thinking Solve Problems - In a corporate landscape awash with slick computer presentations, charts, graphs, and logos, some managers still utilize an age-old tool for business problem solving: the hand-drawn doodle. Whether sketched on a legal pad or drawn on a whiteboard, a doodle has the power to humanize the abstract and simplify the complex. It's a way to add humor into a dry topic. And, when doodles are used in meetings with colleagues and clients, it's a way to pull people into the process of solving a problem. "The reaction that you get from an audience is like magic.