Agile and design thinking; strong partners for boosting store concepts

Monday 30 May 2016

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Agile and design thinking; strong partners for boosting store concepts

The role of the store is changing. I believe that with the growing maturity of e-commerce, we need to rethink the role of the physical store. Simply to make sure we create the right value of a physical store in relation to e-commerce. Meaning we have to think beyond parameters as sales per m2 and distribution. Seeing it as the opportunity to build on an experience that enhances a meaningful interaction, Using it more as an instrument of marketing & branding.

As a consequence, the physical store needs to become flexible.  We want to adapt. Adapt to new themes, experiences, interactions and campaigns. Using the store like a magazine, constantly changing its content. So that consumers love to come to the store frequently to see what experience the brand has to offer them. However, this requires a major attitude shift in our approach to concept development. From a retailer’s perspective as well as from creative agencies.

Hybrid formats

As retailers we can no longer rely on pre-based format definitions with derivative parameters, only to make it easier to operate and role out store concepts. This does not fit the demand for flexibility needed as demanded by customers. Formats will therefore become much more hybrid. New to define roles and functions are being combined in one concept. With parameters that can differ per brand.

Concept Development

So what does this mean for concept development? First of all we need to embrace that ‘change’ is the only constant of this time. Meaning the old development process does not fit anymore. Too often we develop a pilot with the ambition to leave it intact as much as possible and stay relevant for an average lifecycle of 4 -7 years. So how can we change?

As a creative industry we have to come up with flexible and creative ideas that keep the concept interesting. Taking multi-disciplinary creative teams to offer a solution. From product and concept to process and organization.

Agile, Scrum and Design Thinking

An interesting method that can drive this radical change is Scrum as part of the Agile philosophy. The success of this method is build on experience within IT organizations and therefore has in our creative industry the perception of being to structured and even rigid. In our industry much attention is given to Design Thinking. A philosophy to drive radical innovation and press to reframe problems so new solutions arise. Therefore I plead for a combination of Design thinking and Scrum. From my experience the combination of both is a guaranteed winner. Starting concept development with real out of the box approach of whatever is needed to answer to the consumer need.

Let’s recognize that Agile and Scrum led to great innovations within IT industry and speeded up the process of development beyond the highest expectations. In combination with the unlimited creativity that comes from design thinking we can create a long lasting relationship where our concepts will be adaptable in a way we have never seen before.


Lieneke van der Laan

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