Phase 4 of the D3 journey, running your workshops

The challenge involves running two full-day workshops.  The workshops will increase the potential for competitors to succeed in their search for early end users and paying customers (sometimes they are different).

The best solutions:

  • meet customer needs
  • have a market size large enough to pursue
  • contain a viable business model.

These workshops expose competitors to customer centric co-design methodology and best practices in undertaking Innovation Driven Enterprise (IDE) entrepreneurship.

The workshops bring together experienced facilitators, mentors, life experts and community stakeholders. Entrepreneurs can take this opportunity to connect with enablers, reducing time and cost barriers.

The workshops provide a further opportunity to promote the challenge to the broader community. Videos and photos can be shared through social media channels and reach potential customers and partners who have an interest in the problem.

Objectives of the workshops

The objectives of the workshops are to:

  • expose competitors to the challenge topic including any existing data and research
  • explore and validate the problem and its impact, using best practice interview techniques to understand the unmet needs of end users and paying customers
  • introduce competitors to globally recognised approaches to manage innovation risk, such as:
    • customer development methodologies
    • customer experience driven product co-development
    • lean/agile business management
  • coach competitors on communicating their business concept using a pitch
  • help competitors to understand the judging criteria.

Facilitating the workshops

To run the workshops, your facilitator will need skills and experience in design thinking to take competitors on a journey from establishing a vision, researching markets and customer needs, validating solutions fit for market and demonstrating a viable business model. Seek outside help from your local community or service providers, if you don't have this capability within your project team.

Your facilitators would ideally have experience with:

IDE (Innovation Driven Enterprise) Entrepreneurship Experience.
Experience with building innovative and unique businesses, rendering a classic business planning process inappropriate. This involves experience with building scalable “product” based business models. Product simply describes how the company packages the value being delivered to customers and might be a physical good, a service, an experience or a marketplace.

In a scalable product-based business, the team invests effort in developing and optimising a “product” that is then able to be replicated for a low margin cost to many customers who share the same need.

Product Management Experience
Experience with market and technology research used to inform the building of products or services that are designed for delivery at scale in a way that can return necessary investment ahead of revenue. This experience involves designing products or services for manufacture or software delivery at scale, including designing for scalable customer acquisition and end-user warranty/support.

Business Development Experience
Experience with finding customers, uncovering their unmet needs and successfully crafting a solution contract to deliver a product or service. This experience involves facilitating business transactions from making initial contact through to a signed contract for product or service delivery.

Customer Centric Co-Design
Experience working with customers to drive product development through user validation of design decisions across the customer experience. This experience involves iterative co-development through early and frequent customer engagement through the entire product development lifecycle.

Leadership experience implementing Agile and Lean management practice
Experience with leading cross-functional teams through iterative planning and delivery cycles spanning end-to-end business functions. This experience involves outcome based continuous planning to manage both the “In” and “On” the business activities leveraging the Lean, Build, Measure, Learn cycles to reduce waste and achieve a scalable business model over time.

The D3 Digital Challenge Initiative draws on the principles of the User Centred Design (UCD) toolkit. Familiarity or previous experience using the model will be advantageous for the nominated facilitator.

Running the workshops

The Day 1 workshop is a full-day event for all registered competitors. Day 1 is focused on understanding the problem from the customer’s perspective. You will bring a mix of people and knowledge to the day. Competitors will have access to a series of presentations, research and interactive activities. The day should consist of two sessions.

Session 1: Exploring unmet market and end user needs (morning)

A series of presentations from community leaders in academia, industry and government providing insights, challenges and opportunities to help better understand the problem space. These presentations may also include research and insights into potential market opportunities and the entrepreneurship journey.

Session 2: Understanding people (afternoon)

A presentation on the Design Thinking process and Lean start-up techniques. Competitors will learn how to interview people and test their interview skills with real ‘life experts’, gaining more insight into the problem. Life experts, people affected by the problem, will be invited to talk to competitors.

Competitors are encouraged to interview additional people affected by the problem to further understand the problem and test their initial assumptions. Challenge owners will curate and provide competitors with access to resources and materials on the topic. A “Living Library” can be set up in the room with those resources. Resources can also be uploaded to the challenge website.

After the Day 1 workshop

After the workshop, challenge owners should email competitors with:

  • a thank you for participating
  • links to the presentations and resources
  • a reminder to continue customer research
  • a brief for the Day 2 workshop.

The Day 2 workshop is a full-day event for all competitors. Day 2 offers allows teams to develop their ideas and pitch. A range of activities will be offered to support the teams. Teams practice pitching their idea to a panel of professional mentors and life experts. The day consists of four sessions.

Session 3: Meeting customer needs (morning)

Reflections on what the teams have learned since talking to people on Day 1. What do their customers value and need more of?

Session 4: Developing your idea (morning)

Competitors will learn how to generate multiple ideas to solve the problem for their customer and prioritise them for action.

Session 5: Paper prototyping (afternoon)

Competitors will be introduced to rapid prototyping.

Session 6: Pitch perfect (afternoon)

Competitors will be coached on how to pitch and learn from past winners.


The On-the-Grill session during the Day 2 workshop is designed to challenge competitors and help them refine their pitch and business concepts. Whilst competitors work on paper prototyping their idea throughout the afternoon, they will pop in and out of the larger group session and have up to 15 minutes with a panel(s) of mentors. Competitors will share their business concept and receive feedback and advice from the mentors.

Mentors are there to challenge competitors and ask the difficult questions. These are people with industry experience and expertise in start-ups. Each competitor team will then present to the panel(s) within the time allocated. Pitches should be kept to five minutes with additional time for questions, advice and discussion.

See the Day 1 and Day 2 workshops checklist.

Next phase

The next phase is Judging the team pitches