The development of a new business is a major function for the companies. Most of the companies striving today to diversify their products and services and enhance the value and the quality of their products and services, towards, their clientele. If you are [or were] responsible for the creation of a new service, product, software, operation, or any other item of commercial value, you would know how difficult it is the process of developing something new. A “product” or service that potentially would influence the course of your company and of your present and future clients.

Limited Accountability Design Response Team for Business - LADRT

In order, though, for you to start a procedure such as this, (and you can follow any exemplary, well documented, professional procedure for the development of new business) you usually need the support and the assistance, of a Limited Accountability Design Response Team (LADRT, for short) which would look all the available data, in a “fresh” look and provide new insights, before the “professional” look, approaches and views takes ownership of the procedure. An explanation for a LADRT is needed here.

What Is A LADRT?

LADRT is my own interpretation of a necessary link in the new business creation process, that during my “corporate days” I found very useful. When I and my colleagues we had to start a new service, business, software, or something else, we usually follow the “typical” steps for the creation of a service, as described in the international literature. At the time, I recall, that the ADDIE model was, one of the most used in e-Business and e-Learning fields, because it was reflecting most accurate the requirements involved, and help us predict some future behaviors (as a proper business model should do!).

But before the employment of any procedure for the development of a new business area, I was felt and (still I’m feeling) that someone needs and a different kind of input, besides raw data, in order to design and implement a business. It needs an “amateurish” like enthusiasm about what has to be done (product, service, or else), coupled with a higher order birds view of the situation involved and a freedom to suggest all kind of wild, crazy or illogical ideas to be implemented within a given framework.

It needs a group of people to assume this role (having limited to none accountability, as the process’s output concerns, in order to have the freedom to explore all possible angles of a situation) and carried out a pre-design, pre-brainstorming phase, that would lay down the basis for the design process to be followed, later on. That why and the name of that (suggested hypothetical) group or team is deriving from its base functions (“limited accountability“, i.e. the team is not accountable for the final decisions to be reached and “design response” as a first input in the design directions should be pursued later). This, of course, was (and when I use it today as a consultant, is)  an ad hoc team, without membership and formal rules and without limitations. Simple, you make sure you have included all the representative agents for the business, you want to formalize.

What Can A LADRT Do For Business?

When I call a LADRT session (formally or informally) and use it as a consultant for further the development of a business, I don’t even call it a group or business session, but rather I prefer to label it as discussion with an open agenda (or something similar) and I usually function as a member of the team without special tasks or privileges, except to note down the useful stuff and ideas that may arise.

I make sure from the start that is not a brainstorming session, but is a meeting with strict time boundaries, no formal rules, and only one central topic, that generally follows the following steps:

  1. Provision and presentation of the central topic, framework, idea, concept, or other in a written or spoken form. An introductory statement on the way they are there and what they will do, a general and quite abstract initial statement and 2 or 3 explanation sentences about the business to be developed should suffice (an early, small, elevator pitch of the service to be formed later if you like).
  2. Free discussion on concept and ideas about the USABILITY of the proposed business (I usually encourage the participants  to further their ideas towards usually unassociated areas – a legacy, I guess, by the brainstorming principles, I used to employ[!!!])
  3. Their estimation and feelings towards that business or service (It is certain, that they will not use something they don’t like and thus this group becomes an initial control group for the later evolvement of the business (if any will exit!!!)
  4. Their expectation about a business like that, how much they would pay for its usage, evaluation of other factors of interest, etc
  5. Gathering of all related ideas, concepts, etc in a paper, in the form of free association or temporal directions.

The above process provides some valuable design directions for further development of a piece of business, new services, etc, that even if they do not use for immediate implementation, can provide design commitments for later use. Furthermore, this procedure involves a lot of interested parties in the process of developing a new business, while it is in positions to postpone or interrupt the evolution of a lengthy and not profitable procedure, saving time, effort and manpower from an organization.

What do you think? A LADRT could operate in your company or in your area of business, or find it completely unnecessary? Do you think that an ad hoc group as that, can save money and resources by stopping the development of unnecessary products or services or add up a new complexity factor, most of the companies cannot use it effectively? Please comment.