Rocketspace: empowering startup upscaling through design thinking tools


Rocketspace has hosted more than a thousand high-growth tech startups and 170 corporate brands from around the globe, including Uber, Spotify, Podion and Hootsuite. The global network of technology campuses and services are designed to help the world's most innovative startups grow.  

For startups to succeed, design is non-negotiable. Prospect was asked to support the Rocketspace mentoring and educational programme with 5 Service and UX Design workshop programmes.

The RocketSpace ecosystem supports startups with a deep understanding of what innovation actually requires. As part of their support programme, Rocketspace wanted to provide crucial design centricity. Prospect responded with an interlinked programme that demonstrated the business case for Service Design. 

The programme featured the following workshop modules:

1. For startups to succeed, design is non-negotiable – the business case for Service Design 

2. The importance of UX to survive 

3. Ensuring customer love, retention and acquisition

4. The building blocks of a successful customer experience

5. Scale up innovation: Rapid growth hacking 

1. For start ups to succeed, design is non-negotiable – the business case for Service Design 

Design is now a company's biggest differentiator. It has become essential to the future success of businesses; design centric start ups repeatedly outperform the market and particularly using applying the service design or design thinking approach can improve business outcomes +200 (Harvard Business Review).

The most successful unicorns have developed a design centric culture and ambitious start ups and entrepreneurial global companies recognise that focusing on human centered design and the end to end customer experience will deliver immeasurable Return On Investment. It is unlikely that a start up founded today will flourish without an integrated design strategy. Service Design has become the most important strategic driver for start ups and established businesses alike to create products and services that consider the complete end to end customer / employee experience to create unique value and competitive advantage in the audiences’ mind. “In a startup no facts exist inside the building, only opinions”( Steve Blank - Godfather of Service Design).

Start-ups and established businesses alike can encounter a variety of challenges across different stages that increase risk, costs and success of efficient cross channel rapid market growth. From making assumptions about the audiences and the right growth hacking strategy to spending huge amount of technology budget before validating new ideas and market relevance. Service design is a well established human centered approach to innovation that utilises design methodologies to integrate the needs of the people/users, the possibilities of technology and the business drivers to discover new opportunities, rapidly experiment and fail fast, make evidence based decisions and succeed earlier. As a highly collaborative approach, it can empower the whole team to co-create feasible, desirable and viable product and services with measurable impacts. It means getting big things done faster, way less expensive and with less risk.


2. The importance of UX to survive 

User Experience includes all the aspects concerning end-user interaction with a company and its product/service. A well-defined UX design enables startups to differentiate their offering and ensure a place in consumers’ habits. It ensures that the products are desirable, feasible and viable. At the core of it are human centred insights: the best designed products & services result from understanding the needs of the people who will use them. UX ensures increased customer & employee engagement, increases, trust, adoption, conversions and accelerates market launch by 75%. It reduces costs, risk and increases ROI significantly. 


3. Ensuring customer love, retention and acquisition

One of the hardest things to do in business is to come to grips with the motivations behind customer actions. Too many start ups make assumptions and as a result invest huge amount of money focusing on the wrong problems and audiences. 

Quantitative research can communicate problem areas and how often and where they occur. Qualitative research will allow us to understand the reasons and drivers behind customer’s (and employees) behaviours and uncover the truth, from an end audience perspective. It will give you a deep understanding of your customers’ messy reality: what they really do and want, not what they say they do. 


4. The building blocks of a successful customer experience

Any business (start up) is a service that has a customer or employee experience that needs to be designed to be truly successful. Designing a service is like putting on a play. Back stage activity should support On-stage experiences by breaking the process into steps that influence the customer decisions. 

Only by understanding each audience’s actual end to end experience across all digital, people, spacial, and physical product can the service successfully solve real pain points and deliver those memorable moments of delight that will distinguish the service in people’s mind and as a result generate long term customer loyalty and word of mouth. Cross channel views of real customer experiences and service enablers will ensure that each customer facing channel's and touchpoint’s role is defined and can be operationalised across delivery teams too. 


5. Scale up innovation: Rapid growth hacking

Core to the Lean Start Up or Scale Up approach is experimenting and failing early and succeeding earlier to avoid wasting huge amount of time, money and to reduce risk and time to market. Rapid prototyping techniques can include service role play, UX prototypes, service scenarios and experimenting techniques including Wizard of Oz, Look a Like, Pop Up, ‘Fake door’ and physical prototyping.

The Lean startup approach mandates a constant validation of the product / service by assessing consumer acceptance of the previous deployment. In order to understand if the actual product is working (and which are the next steps and the next features to be included in new incremental deployments), the startup has to experiment and test continuously.