Design sprint for Danone

Creating 8 novel concepts of food & beverages for the Chinese market.


Defining a new strategy and related concepts.

The water division of Danone, the global multinational of food processing, wanted to define a new strategy and related concepts as one of the innovation streams.

Danone reached out to Board of Innovation to facilitate the Design Thinking innovation process and to challenge the team with our grounded cross-industry expertise in new product development. The expected outcome of the project was to have 6-8 user validated product concepts.

The team from Board of Innovation was very experienced in the Design Thinking process, not only on coaching but also on facilitation to drive the result. They are passionated and dedicated. Ivy Yang, Associated Director of the Marketing Department


Elaborated conceptualization for 3 main persona’s.

Together with Danone Waters, we set the initial challenge scope to be driven by the behavior of the people we aim to serve. Starting from an original list of 12 personas, we shortlisted to 3 personas we wanted to tackle first, being characterized by their extreme relationship towards health and beverage. We knew from experience that researching extreme user behavior would have unlocked interesting user insights that we wouldn’t have been able to find by focusing only on the mainstream market.

We ran a 5-day design sprint in Shanghai with 30 employees from 3 departments (marketing, packaging, R&D). Through Design Thinking methodologies and user insights we specified the challenge area for each persona. We divided the participants into 3 multidisciplinary teams, each group focusing on one specific persona.

For the prototyping phase, we extended our collaboration to an amazing bartender, who translated the story of the beverages into a ready-to-taste prototype, 2 great illustrators, who helped us to conceptualize the new beverages, and 3 scriptwriters, who helped us to develop the narrative/manifesto for each new concept.

At the end of the 5 days, we created 2-3 concepts for each persona, that were validated with their key audience and backed up with a prototype. 


8 validated and consumer-oriented concepts.

For each persona, the 3 teams developed 2-3 new concepts, user-tested them and backed them up with prototypes ready for tasting, storyboards, and narratives. 

By the end of day 5, the teams also got the chance to personally experiment the tools and techniques of Design Thinking, develop pitching skills, share what they’ve been working on with the rest of the team, and ultimately get already a first glimpse of the desirability and viability of the 8 concepts.

Following this first iteration, the core team will proceed to refine the concepts, with the aim, by 2019, to see some concepts being launched in the Chinese market. 

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