EYELEVEL designs and realizes engaging customer experiences

Challenge

Develop a new long-term vision and accompanying value propositions.

Solution

A number of workshops in various configurations in which we have defined how we will become the first choice partner for leading brands who want to distinguish themselves in innovation, sustainability, and the customer experience.

EYELEVEL designs and realizes engaging customer experiences for global brands. The company originally came from the retail sector and designed store concepts, but it evolved in the digital world. The design of rich customer interactions, in a shopping environment and digital, is now the company’s specialty. This business model can last for years, but EYELEVEL realizes that you have to start thinking about new business models well before the marketplace starts to change.

Develop strong future vision

Global Director of Design & Innovation, Ben Jensen says: “We’ve always been a values-driven company, with passion, purpose, and an entrepreneurial mindset as part of our DNA. But our internal communications and external brand positioning was inconsistent and outdated. What does a tagline like ‘Inspiring Brand Experiences’ mean? We also had no clear vision of the future: where do we want to be in three years? In ten years? What will the future of retail look like, and how can we help shape it?”

His quest to clarify EYELEVEL’s core purpose and future vision began in 2015, when he attended an annual Design Management Institute conference in Berlin. “That inspired me to delve into design thinking in the enterprise world. A year later, the same conference took place in Amsterdam and I brought along some colleagues from our Prague leadership team. There we attended a workshop with Patrick van der Pijl and our partnership with BMI began. Later that year we hired BMI to help us define a clear vision for the company, and come up with business model innovations to take forward. We thought we would come home with a one page vision. However, they showed us that a vision needs to be borne by the whole company, you can’t develop it with five people in a two day workshop. It is important to involve employees from all parts of the organization. BMI showed us a mirror to our existing strategy, and then gave us the tools to develop a vision and improved strategy with a much broader team.”

Designing circular retail environments

A year later, a need arose for a intensification and the company did a second workshop with BMI, this time with 25 people from all offices worldwide. Jensen: “We refined our 2025 vision and explored new directions for our business model.”

Four directions emerged that EYELEVEL now explores and elaborates on: sustainability, digital platforms, a business-to-consumer model and a consultancy model. These four directions can be viewed separately, but also in conjunction. And that makes them even stronger. “I’m particularly passionate about sustainable innovation in retail, and believe that our ability to help brands innovate in this way is key to our future success”, says Jensen.

Own design thinking method

With this proposition in mind, EYELEVEL has designed its own design thinking method that is partly based on the ideas of BMI, but which also includes tools from other consultancy firms, plus some they’ve created on their own to fit a specific need. Jensen: “We’ve learned a lot from BMI and even modeled some of our workshop structure after their best practices. We use the EYELEVEL method internally for everything, from process improvements to design sprints, to come up with innovative retail concepts. Now we are even offering our clients a consultancy service in addition to our current scope of services. This innovation agency model both strengthens our current business and at the same time contains a new business model for our organization”, says Jensen.

The great thing about this new business model is that it works in two ways. “Thanks to this consultancy service model, we are able to connect with our clients much earlier in the process. As a result, we have a better understating of the brand and their strategic goals, which means that we can ultimately design better experiences for the end user. The workshops uncover new and powerful insights for both, our clients and for ourselves.”

Parent company also convinced

Parent company InnerWorkings saw the steps taken by EYELEVEL and became curious about the methods they used to set their long term vision and strategy. Jensen was asked to help organize a similar workshop for the parent company, and brought in BMI to help design and facilitate the program. Not for a small group of top managers, but for a group of 25 people from all departments of the company and with a diversity of functions. Jensen: “We planned three days for it because we had experienced that two days is quite short. The first two days were facilitated by BMI, the last day by us. On day 3 we used our EYELEVEL method to convert the output of day 1 and 2 into concrete plans and actions to take forward.”

New way of thinking

BMI not only helped EYELEVEL with the creation of a vision for the future and a new business model that is complementary to the current one, they also contributed to a new, shared way of thinking and working. Jensen: “The latter is perhaps even more important than the first. BMI has helped us change the way that we think about the future of our company. And they proved that a design thinking approach to solving business challenges can be extremely powerful. We have benefited tremendously from this approach.”

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