D.S.C.

Business Model Innovation

How might we create a business model where D.S.C. can grow into a lean & profitable swimmer lifestyle company?

Course: Business Models and Stakeholders - MBA in Design Strategy, CCA

Instructor: Maaike Doyer, CFO at Business Models Inc

Client: D.S.C., a two-person startup in San Francisco, CA

Role:

I worked collaboratively on a team with three classmates throughout the project. I took on the Health Specialist role in our micro-pilot and final review. This involved coming up with a dialogue and interaction to evoke trust. I also took the lead in shaping the look and feel of the pop-up experience and crafting the flow.

Tools:

Surveys

Interviews

Business Model Creation

Vision Canvas

Context Canvas

Freshwatching

Design Thinking

Facilitation

Problem/Solution Fit

Yellow Hat/Black Hat

CHALLENGE

 

Design a business model so that in the next five years, the D.S.C. will grow into a profitable, lean business that sells anti-chlorine products through a monthly subscription.

Validate that their target customer (active swimmers) would want to purchase
anti-chlorine products in the format of a monthly subscription purchased online.

UNDERSTAND

Research Methods

  • Primary Research

    • Interviews

    • Surveys

  • Secondary Research

 

We dove (no pun intended) right into understanding our target customers and their personal
care preferences. We completed secondary research, surveyed swimmers, and completed
observation of swimmer behavior at a public pool.

 

We researched the Dollar Beard Club because our clients were inspired to start their business based on their business model, marketing tactics, and success.

We found out our clients hadn't conducted any primary research to understand if their product was actually needed in the market. We began by conducted primary and secondary research to understand swimmers, their needs, and how they felt about anti-chlorine shampoo. We wanted to understand how big the problem was to assess the problem/solution fit before we got into designing business models.he seeks validation of customer needs,segment, and market size before committing to launch his business.

Along our journey, we wanted to test new facilitation techniques, try different
methods of ideation, and push ourselves to grow. We started with understanding,
both in terms of better understanding the market and understanding our client’s point
of view. We set out to dig into how his current model works and functions. Next,
we Ideated, where we thought of many possibilities of what the different values of
the company could be and how we could modify the original business model canvas
or create our own. We narrowed down the business models with our client and
pushed forward with three models to validate our assumptions based on those three
models, a swimmer anti-chlorine subscription service, an anti-chlorine subscription
service targeted toward parents, and lastly an aspirational swimmer starter kit. From
our validation, we decided to move forward with a model focusing on parents as the
customer segment. We then developed an action plan for our client to guide them
forward toward launching.

Context 

To better understand the trends around swimmers and swimming, we completed the
Context Canvas. We looked into trends including swimming and triathlon demographics, pool
chemistry, pool access, sport participation, shopping behavior for personal care products and
more.

Initial Survey

To understand swimmers’ attitudes towards and use of anti-chlorine body products, we
surveyed 55 active swimmers.

Initial Survey Findings

 

Only 7% of respondents use anti-chlorine shampoo and our client came to us with a business plan based on a subscription for anti-chlorine shampoo. 

Given this information, and the information gathered through interviews, we began to ideate different business models and markets that might be a better fit for D.S.C.

Design Criteria

To guide our recommendations, we facilitated a session with our clients to fill out the Design Criteria Canvas. The client’s “won’t” criteria let us know that we shouldn’t pursue some of the more radical high-tech ideas we had to solve some of swimmer’s pain points around water temperature or wanting to improve technique. We also focused our recommendations based on the “must” criteria of selling high quality, shampoo and conditioner as a lean company.

 

 

IDEATE

Ideation Sessions

Freshwatching

As a team we went through a fresh-watching session where each teammate came up with
over 50 ideas. We then clustered our ideas and made a list of the most exciting business
model concepts.

 

We ideated, where we thought of many possibilities of what the different values of
the company could be and how we could modify the original business model canvas
or create our own. We

 

We narrowed down the business models with our client and
pushed forward with three models to validate our assumptions based on those three
models, a swimmer anti-chlorine subscription service, an anti-chlorine subscription
service targeted toward parents, and lastly an aspirational swimmer starter kit. From
our validation, we decided to move forward with a model focusing on parents as the
customer segment. We then developed an action plan for our client to guide them
forward toward launching.

 

 

PROTOTYPE

Yellow Hat/Black Hat

 

At the moment, Dollar Swim Club is an idea. Derk has been selling swim related products
via Amazon—swim caps, goggles, kick-boards, swim bags—and has been exploring the
feasibility of operating Dollar Swim Club. That said, he seeks validation of customer needs,
segment, and market size before committing to launch his business.
DOLLAR SWIM CLUB’S VALUE PROPOSITION
The main pain-point Dollar Swim Club addresses in its current business model is the chlorine
smell swimmers are left with on their hair and skin after swimming. Derk hypothesizes
that swimmers

We facilitated an ideation session with our clients to come out with a set of design guidelines about what the business model must be, should have, could have and wont have.

We ran a Micro-Pilot:

When ideating as a team, we looked at who various customer segments such as age,
gender, competitive level, independent swimmer, water pollo player, triathletes, swim
instructors, casual swimmer, swimmers’ parents, and swimmers’ significant other.
We thought about swimmer’s needs as well including body care, lifestyle, community,
accessories, image, and money.
OUR TEAM’S CONCEPT CLUSTERS:
— Value chain
— Org design
— Personalization
— Subscription
— Partnerships
— Channels
— Services
— Pool access
— Too much gear to carry
— Appearance/beauty
— Temp change pain
— Chlorine skin/dry pain
— Chlorine smell
— Gamification/Data driven/Metrics/High Tech
— Time pain
— Freemium
— Other products
— Customer segment
— Focused product service
— Customer relationships
— Members only
— What-ifs (context)

 

YELLOW HAT SESSION

We then had a yellow hat meeting with Derk and Tristan to think of new possibilities for the

Dollar Swim Club. We all wore yellow hats to encourage thinking outside of the box. We
gave Derk and Tristan post-it notes and every 30 seconds we asked probing questions that
reframe the circumstances.
TRIGGER QUESTIONS FOR DERK AND TRISTAN:
What if you only sold it offline?
What if you only sold 1 chlorine-related product?
What if you didn’t sell any of the products you are thinking of selling?
What if you offered it for free?
What if you used a different subscription model?
What if you offered a freemium model?
What if your offering was b2b only?
What if you could eliminate fixed cost?
What if you leaned hard into the bait and hook model?
What if you expanded your target audience to include all athletes?
What would Michael Phelps do?
What if swimmers enjoy the chlorine smell?
What if you only sold to triathletes? Water polo players?
Who else may need your products?
What if you decided to be a wearable business?
What if you were not a lean business? What would you offer then?
What if your #1 goal was to delight customers? What would you do?
What if all pools became salt water pools?
What if you partnered with athletic facilities?
What if you had a huge pile of cash to spend?
What if DSC was an actual club (i.e. a physical space and/or membership)?
We clustered their ideas into groups and noted the themes that emerged. This was a pivotal
meeting because this way of provoking fresh ideas opened up possiblities.

 

To better understand the trends around swimmers and swimming, we completed the
Context Canvas. We looked into trends including swimming and triathlon demographics, pool
chemistry, pool access, sport participation, shopping behavior for personal care products and
more.
KEY FINDINGS:
— Swimming is the #1 aspirational sport for almost every age group in the U.S.
— Americans spend $22 - $100 a month on personal care, depending on
their income.
— USA Swimming, the governing body of competitive swimming in the U.S.,
wields power and influence, working with several corporate partners to outfit
and serve swimmers’ needs. It has 400,000 members (including coaches and
volunteers.) U.S. Masters Swimming has 65,000 members.
— Triathletes are, on average, well-educated, affluent and live in either sunny
southern states or the Mid-Atlantic. They don’t spend as much on swim gear
as they do on biking or running gear.
— Internet of things and cloud-based technology are changing the logistics and
fulfillment industries.
— People are purchasing more and more of their goods online.
— We learned that most new pools installed in the US are saltwater, not chlorine
pools. This could eventually be a threat to our client’s business because
if people aren’t experiencing chlorine, they won’t need anti-chlorine products,
but the prevalence of existing chlorine pools mitigates this risk.

 

Well Bar Storyboard

Well Bar Journey Map

 

Synthesizing our research, we developed frameworks to look for patterns and opportunities. 

 

Design + Construction

I designed the cart with a teammate and then the whole team worked together to build it.

 

I came up with the name, Well Bar, and I worked with a teammate on the brand strategy and architecture. In addition, I sourced the jars, the powders that we used to represent our health boosts, and the smoothie samples we offered to customers to taste and select their flavor choice.

 

Well Bar Pop-Up Experience