Projects 8 min

How to expand to new markets with a design sprint: CWS innovation in the textile cleaning industry.

Call for Intrapreneurs 2019 Contest Winner

Following the success of 2018’s (first ever) Call for Intrapreneurs contest, we couldn’t resist coming back strong with a second edition in 2019.

The response was immediate and very exciting with a flood of brilliant intrapreneurs responding to the call.

The goal?

To challenge entrepreneurial talent within organizations from all over the world and join forces to develop a corporate startup idea with the potential to disrupt an entire industry.

If this sounds like you, good news! We just launched the 3rd edition of the contest! Click here to learn more.

Why CWS?

When choosing the contest winners, we look for a very specific set of traits. An interesting corporate venture concept is the first step, but that just gets your foot in the door. What we’re really looking for is an AUTHENTIC desire to breathe life into the project, not just in terms of enthusiasm, but in terms of putting in the work it takes to go from idea to fully functional startup. 

After going through a stack of all-star applications, there was one clear winner: 

CWS-boco International GmbH, a provider of hygiene solutions and workwear with a specialty in the decontamination of textiles. And that’s where the plot thickens folks…They’re also the first European company to introduce “washing without water” for working clothing and intervention suits. An innovation with the potential to disrupt the industry.

CWS Bundl

“CWS is always looking for solution to prolong the life of products and making sure these are safe throughout the entire life-span.”

Julie Nauwelaerts, Innovation Manager at CWS

Disrupting the Textile Cleaning Industry

CWS’ new technology involves the use of liquid carbon dioxide (LCO2) to achieve a deep cleansing effect that results in the decontamination of shoes, clothing and other personal items.

It’s also an environmentally responsible initiative because:

  • It doesn’t use any water (and therefore, it also doesn’t require drying);
  • It saves 60% in energy per wash (compared to regular washing machines);
  • The LCO2 is 98% re-usable for the next wash.

And just in case you weren’t sold on it yet, this innovative new technology is proven to increase the lifespan of the clothing (no machine tumbling). We were sold!

The Goal of the Sprint

A design sprint is a framework we use often here at Bundl to go from “challenge” to “solution” in just a few steps. It enables us to harness the different talents and strengths in a team to come up with effective new strategies and solutions.

In this particular case, the goal was to help CWS:

  • Discover new market segments 
  • Identify new pain points in the industry
  • Attract new investors

Our ultimate aim: To make this new technology thrive and serve the clients that need it most.

Preparing for Greatness

The Intake Session

We kicked things off with an intake session to establish the scope and goals of the project. To accomplish this, we enlisted the help of Frederik Vereecke, Head of Group Product Management and Julie Nauwelaerts, Innovation Manager at CWS.

By the end of the intake, we had set up our goals and defined the challenges we wanted to tackle. It was time to get our hands dirty…or in this case, clean 😉

The Deep Dive

During the deep dive, we gathered all the vital information we need to effectively reach our previously set goals. It’s a time of exploration where we look at a variety of topics including:

  • The industry
  • Potential target groups
  • Potential new applications
  • Competitors
  • The innovation/technology itself

We also put some effort into researching related industries to gather intelligence about how they tackle similar challenges. This gives us a good “outside-in perspective” that we can incorporate into our own strategies later on.

We kicked things off by dividing up into 2 teams:

  • Team 1: Was made up of Frederik and Julie who took charge of researching the B2B markets. These markets were similar to the ones CWS was already operating in.
  • Team 2: Bundl took charge of researching the B2C markets, which were new territory for CWS. We put together “target audience cards” to help guide CWS through our findings.

An essential part of our process is to ease our company experts into the research by inspiring them with topics they’re already familiar with. This creates a base for them to comfortably transition into more out-of-the-box challenges later on.

By the end of the deep dive, we had 24 possible target audiences to choose from.

Want more tips on how to prepare for your own sprint? Check out our blog on the subject: How To Energize Your Team And Boost Your Next Innovation Design Sprint.

CWS Bundl

CWS’ 3-day design sprint

We used a 3-day design sprint to systematically refine our ideas from 24 possible target audiences to only 2 of the very best choices.

Day 1: Turning coal into diamonds

On day one, each team had a chance to pitch their target audiences to the entire group, sharing important insights on how they could help push the CWS agenda forward. After each pitch, the whole group would vote on whether or not to keep or scrap the idea.

We did 4 voting rounds in total and applied different tools and canvases to:

  • Weed out some of the less interesting ideas
  • Define new markets more precisely
  • By the end of the exercise, we had refined our ideas from 24 to 6 possible target audiences.

It was time to start the ideation phase!

We took an in-depth look at each of the 6 topics, identifying the pros and cons of each and discussing them with the whole group. Once that was done, it was time to vote again. By the end, we had 3 detailed ideation canvases.

An ideation canvas is a tool that is used to turn ideas into business opportunities, by dissecting them and making them easier to pitch. This tool is especially handy during an ideation sprint when pitches are happening in succession at various points during the day.

We used our canvases to build about 12 concept cards, which would be subject to one last round of voting. This time we were accompanied by a larger group of CWS representatives that flew in to lend us their expertise.

By the end of day 1, we had 2 strong concepts:

  • One focused on B2B
  • The other focused on B2C markets
CWS Bundl

Day 2: Crystalizing our value proposition

Day 2 was all about bringing our vision to life and making it as detailed as possible for the upcoming pitch. Once again, we kicked things off by dividing up into 2 teams, each one in charge of developing the value proposition from the day before.

Our designer Daan Steegmans spent some time with each team, working his magic to create dazzling visuals that would help take our final pitch to the next level.

Day 3: The pitch presentation

This was the day we’d all been waiting for! We would finally be able to determine which parts of the strategy worked and which parts needed to be revised.

We presented our target audiences to CWS management, focusing on the specs of the strategy:

  • MVP definition proposal
  • Detailed Customer journey plan
  • An adapted business model
  • The first visual mock-ups
  • How it all links to CWS

By the end of the pitch, CWS had the insights they needed to take those first steps into the new markets they were looking to enter.

The next steps

We were overjoyed when CWS invited us to continue on to the next phase of the project: The validation of our 2 concepts.

We started off by gathering feedback from our selected B2B and B2C target audiences using face to face interviews and quantitative surveys to learn more about: 

  • Client preferences
  • Pricing 
  • Customer experiences (among other topics)

The results so far have been extremely positive, showing that our target markets are ripe for the picking.

With a stellar validation phase under our belt, we’re currently in the process of introducing the MVP to our newly validated target audiences and bringing in our first clients.   We really enjoyed being part of the CWS journey and helping them prepare to dominate new and exciting markets with their revolutionary cleaning technology. 

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?

Let’s talk about it!

Thomas Van Halewyck

Thomas Van Halewyck

Head of Ventures & Founding Partner at Bundl