Dutch Design Deltas


The Dutch Design Deltas methodology is based on the intuitive workflow process of a designer. Teams are led through iterative loops which take the participants through three main phases. Each of them is split up in three sub phases.

The Dutch Design Deltas offer an even balance between creative and analytical methods.

This combination motivates teams to define the problem and formulate the solution with a greater sense of adventure. Different perspectives and experiences consciously flow into the solution process. The solution space of design innovation opens at the crossroads of user wishes, feasibility and cost-effectiveness.

1. Customer Design

At Customer Design the team becomes one with the situation. In stead of solving the problem as is, the team will find out wat the problem really is.

At the understand sub phase the team formulates the challenge’s moonshot, objectives, scenarios, scopes and constraints and ask theirselves questions that relate to the why, what and who of the challenge and sense what trends, technologies, opportunities and possible constraints might affect it in the process.

At the explore sub phase the team creates a deep understanding and empathy of the background of the project, the context, the situation, location, time and social/technical context. They get to know the people involved, their wants, goals, needs and feelings. 

The define sub phase serves to define the point of view, the knowledge gained will be collated and summarized, and the challenge will be reframed. The team will draw conclusions from the research and make lessons learned explicit. 

2. Concept Design

At Concept Design the team subsequently generates a variety of ideas and solution possibilities, develops concrete solutions and prototypes and tests those solutions on the appropriate target group.

The create sub phase is the creative peak of de Design process. Based on the outcomes of the Customer Design phase the team generates ideas which will be developed into concepts and business models. They will visualize and prototype the concepts so they can be tested on the appropriate target group.

At the experiment sub phase the team tests whether their ideas and concepts are valid or not. In order to get information to improve, they test their prototypes with end-users. The team defines the innovation metrics and iteratively refines the concepts.

The position sub phase serves to define a clear market position statement. The team defines 'the battle': that is, they create the competition, define positioning, develop the elevator pitch, and build this all into their communications. 

3. Business Design

Business Design is about market strategy and scaling up. The team prepares for attacking the market. They develop early adopters and will make the switch towards the mainstream market (crossing the chasm). 

At the assemble sub phase, based on feedback of visionair and early adopter leaders, the team will build out the whole product with value added extensions that deliver additional benefit. They will look for third party support for the product to be delivered.

At the organize sub phase the team will build out the core team and manages resources and time. Thew will evaluate the performance, costs and incomes. And finally the enhance communication and customer loyalty by building a company culture and a brand. 

The attack sub phase is about operationalization. The team defines the selling proces, pricing and economical metrics and iteratively reformulates the positioning. They will look foor suppliers an distributors and match their and their partners business models.


Every challenge starts with WHY! Before the team kicks off the first phase of the Design process, they have to understand the purpose, the essentials of the project. The team will figure out the commissioner's motivations for the challenge, that will be translated into mission statements. The mission statements together with the commissioner's vision on the world will be the ingredients for the definition of the WHY.

The Dutch Design Deltas approach combines the lean methodology from engineering and the market strategy for technology with experimental aspects from the teaching of design. The user is seen from a social-scientific perspective, with a view that is always open to something new. Team members from very different backgrounds combine their efforts toward achieving a common goal.

The result: sustainable innovations for widely different areas of life.