New concepts for the Chinese market with Danone

How we helped Danone create 8 food and beverage concepts for the Chinese market while training staff in practical business design methodologies.


Define a new strategy &
develop 6-8 concepts.

The water division of Danone, a leading global food and beverage producer, wanted to define a new strategy and develop innovative concepts for the Chinese market.

Danone reached out to Board of Innovation to facilitate their Design Thinking process. They asked us to challenge the team with our grounded cross-industry expertise in new product development, and help them develop 6-8 user-validated food and beverage concepts.

The team from Board of Innovation was very experienced in the Design Thinking process, not only with coaching but also on facilitation to drive the result. They are passionate and dedicated.

Ivy Yang, Associate Director of the Marketing Department


Product concepts
for 3 personas.

Together with Danone Waters, we set the initial challenge scope based on the behavior of the people we were aiming to serve. From an original list of 12 defined personas, we tackled 3 – those who care the most about healthy beverages. We knew from experience that researching extreme behavior would unlock interesting user insights that we wouldn’t find by focusing on the mainstream market alone. 

We ran a 5-day design sprint in Shanghai with 30 employees from 3 departments (marketing, packaging, and R&D). Using Design Thinking methodologies and user insights, we defined a specific challenge for each persona, divided the participants into 3 multidisciplinary teams, and assigned them 1 persona each.

For the prototyping phase, we involved an amazing bartender who translated the story of the beverages into a ready-to-taste prototype. We also brought 2 great illustrators on board to help the teams visualize their solutions, while scriptwriters developed a narrative/manifesto for each new concept.

At the end of the 5 days, the Danone Waters teams had developed 2-3 concepts for each persona, all of which had been validated with feedback from their target consumers.


8 validated food & beverage concepts.

By the end of the sprint, each team had developed 2-3 new user-tested food and beverage concepts for their target persona. In addition, they’d backed up each concept with a ready-to-taste prototype, appealing storyboards, and narratives. 

Under our coaches’ guidance, the participants experimented with Design Thinking tools and techniques, developed pitching skills, and tested the desirability and viability of the 8 concepts.

Following this first iteration, the core team will proceed to refine the concepts, with the aim of launching some of these concepts into the Chinese market. 

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