This is real now – Laurea’s Business Design #ThesisHack will start on next week and Differo’s Iana Vesa is there as a mentor. On Monday, August 27th, Laurea University of Applied Sciences will host a startup seminar, where nine enthusiastic students of Bachelor’s Degree in Business and Hospitality Management can get to the start of a unique experiment. In Business Design #ThesisHack a thesis work will be done in three weeks for the first time in Finland. Excuse me?

Why is Differo involved? Because marketing is at the heart of every business, and Differo drives a change in a way how companies communicate to whom, what, how and why they offer. Business models are built with the customer in focus as well as content marketing.

How can the Bachelor’s thesis work be done in a sprint?

Business Design #ThesisHack is Laurea’s courageous experiment, which explores without hesitation whether an agile development model is suitable for doing theses. The average duration of the thesis work is typically three to six months. Laurea’s Business Design #ThesisHack perhaps scores Finland’s record in the completion schedule of the theses.

#ThesisHack’s Bachelor’s thesis is the same for all participants: how do companies leverage business models in innovation? The student can pick from four aspects of perspective: people, processes, systems or spaces. The authors of the thesis will conduct qualitative research and investigate how Finnish companies undertake development work – what kind of processes, teamwork methods, systems and premises are used to develop new business solutions.

#ThesisHack has demanded courage also from students

The #ThesisHack experiment has demanded open minds from the organizers, but especially from the participating students. Even though the students have come to the theoretical background already during the summer, the moment of truth is only before – how do they analyze and bind the theoretical basis to the information obtained from business interviews conducted during Design Sprint and how does the sprint’s creative spirit help them in the end result?

This is a quick experiment, so it may also be a finding that Design Sprint is totally unsuitable for doing a thesis. It is tempting to think what kind of experiences and results will be heard in the Sprint Evaluation Seminar on 13 September 2018. But first, let’s see what this Design Sprint is right for.

What is Design Sprint?

At the heart of the experiment is the Innovation Model Design Sprint, launched by Jake Knapp. Knapp developed this method when working for almost 10 years with Google. He published a book about Design Sprint together with two of his co-authors in 2011. Since then, the method has significantly increased its popularity.

Design’s Sprint’s idea is based heavily on Design Thinking and agile development models.
A few highly motivated people focus on solving a common problem in five days. Every sprint day program is well defined. #ThesisHack also has the same order:

  • On Monday, September 3, 2018, focus is on orientation and defining the research problem.
  • On Tuesday students will develop ideas
  • On Wednesday students will choose the best ideas for further processing
  • On Thursday students will prototype
  • On Friday, ideas and prototypes will be tested with the right users.

What are the benefits of this experiment?

There are still relatively few research data on the innovation of the business models and their utilization in the business development in Finland. This unique thesis experiment is an important addition to it. At the same time, experimentation gives empirical research data on whether agile development methods are suitable for making a thesis.

We’ll tell more about Business Design #ThesisHack over the next three weeks. Follow our #ThesisHack blog updates on differo.com and social media!