Projects 5 min

How we used a design sprint to boost ASICS’ corporate startup

Call for Intrapreneurs 2018 Contest Winner

Last year we launched Bundl’s first contest ever, the first edition of the “Call for Intrapreneurs”. This is a contest where we challenge entrepreneurial talent within organisations from all over the world to get out of their comfort zone and come up with a corporate startup idea that might disrupt their business from the inside out.

Besides looking at the corporate venture concept, we really want to find the people who can take their project to the next level, and that will put in the work to go from idea to a functioning startup.

And from all the brilliant intrapreneurs that applied for the first edition, there was one who shined brightest: Emilio Risques, Innovation & New Business Vice President for ASICS Europe, Middle East and Africa.

Emilio’s passion for intrapreneurship was translucent throughout our first Skype interview, and we knew immediately that he was great at captivating and inspiring people all around him. His idea wasn’t to only create a corporate venture, but to setup a whole internal system that could easily receive, analyse, validate and execute on new ideas coming from anywhere and anyone within the company.

We not only knew that we could help Emilio with his problem, but this idea also aligns perfectly with the agile mindset of Bundl, and we strongly believe in encouraging intrapreneurship from within every corner of a company. 

Last but not least, we felt like Emilio had a good structure behind him, and was ready to execute. Having a good team, the resources and time available will already get you halfway through the innovation process.

Step 1: Intake Session

To kickstart this project we needed to know everything about it. So we sat down in a meeting room in our Antwerp HQ and connected to Emilio, 1106km away, at Asics’ Innovation Hub Tenkan-Ten.

The main goal of an Intake Session is to get everyone at the same level. We asked Emilio to give us the full debrief about his project and to tell us about the biggest challenges they were facing in the process.

After hearing him out, we presented two possible directions to follow-up on Emilio’s goal:

  • Theoretical approach
  • ‘Learn while doing’ approach

Because we’re not coaches, but doers, we were definitely more excited about the second option, that involved teaching and structuring the ASICS Validation Unit through working on a tangible startup concept, taking it from zero to hero.

Luckily Emilio had already been looking into a specific corporate startup idea, and this was the perfect opportunity for him to kill two birds with one stone.

Finally, we aligned on approach, team setup, market deep-dive, sprint days, and end-deliverable. We also realised that, to approach this particular problem, we needed to be working face-to-face with the ASICS team in Barcelona. So off we were, to the vibrant city of Gaudi.

Step 2: Deep Dive

From here on, Bundl stepped into the driver seat. Like always, we started with researching trends in other markets before even thinking about the concept. We dived into customer trends in both sports and other unrelated industries, found some inspiring business models, and did a competitor scan. This is a very important step for two reasons: to be aware of the possibilities, and to avoid creating a product that already exists.

The deliverable? A presentation with all the Deep Dive results, to be used on the next phase of the project (Scope). This made it much easier to get fast feedback from the ASICS team and align on the direction of the sprint.

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Work hard, play hard: we were pleasantly surprised to discover that Asics encourages the practice of sports during the workday.

Step 3: Venture Sprint

Scope

After teasing the ASICS team with our Deep Dive findings, we tried to gather as much input and insights about their current business. Then, we framed the boundaries of the project: how far can we reach, what are the no-goes, and what elements are really important to them.

Value Proposition

With all the knowledge we were able to gather in such a short time, and the goals well defined, it was time to get our hands dirty and create a kick-ass value proposition. The goal: to generate a new, scaleable revenue stream for ASICS in a new market. We can’t dive too deep into the concept itself, but we had a pretty solid starting point. So we used some of our favourite ideation tools, our combined expertise, our market insights and user-feedback to fine-tune an idea that got the whole team energised.

Validation Techniques

Because validation was a big roadblock for the ASICS team, we made sure to dedicate enough time to coming up with different solutions to this part of the process. We were looking for a way to launch a first MMP (minimum marketable product) in 1 month, while spending the least amount of money as possible. This is when the startup mindset really kicks in. We first diverged into several propositions, focusing on different digital marketing techniques—like the early bird strategy, setting up an MVP landing page, growth hacking… Then we regrouped with the ASICS team and created a roadmap with the solutions that suited both the project and their operational setup best.

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Mock-up

We are strong believers of the “fake it until you make it” motto, and faking the outcome of a potential project is one of the best ways to convince someone to invest in it. So while Thomas, Venture lead from Bundl, was finishing up all the details of the sales pitch, UX/UI designer Daan rolled up his sleeves to translate all our ideas into a landing page explaining the characteristics and selling points of the product we envisioned.

Pitch

After 3 days the ASICS team was equipped with a tangible value proposition, a beautiful mockup design, a killer pitch and a realistic roadmap to bring this venture into the real world.

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Most important of all, we left the team engaged and inspired to take on the next steps of the process. We’re not sure if we’ll be there to accompany them, but its certain that you’ll be hearing all about this Asics new venture soon enough!

“This 3-day sprint has been really useful to us: we succeeded at creating something tangible from it. I’m very happy with this collaboration between Bundl and Asics.”
Emilio Risques, Innovation & New Business VP at ASICS

Are you part of the innovation squad in your company?

Do you have the entrepreneurship bug?

Working on an internal startup idea or new business unit that needs an extra push?

Thomas Van Halewyck

Thomas Van Halewyck

Head of Ventures & Founding Partner at Bundl