Providing thought partnership for the structure of a new business model resulted in clear insight into an industry-wide opportunity gap. 

a process chart identifying the service opportunity gap
Image blurred for client confidentiality


Steelcase Studio

– Research reports
– Stakeholder and market research
– Information graphics
– Workshop design and facilitation
– Service blueprinting
– Customer journey mapping
– Brand collateral
– Catalogs and data sheets

Steelcase, one of the world’s leading manufacturers of furniture for offices, hospitals, and classrooms, was interested in the desirability, viability, and feasibility of a custom furniture business model. Neapolitan & Co was engaged through the the Steelcase New Business Innovation group as a thought partner and communications designer to help share insights internally throughout the research process, as well as in the creation of the final summary deck. 

The research resulted in the discovery that participants had varied definitions of “custom” design, a key learning that helped us identify a larger opportunity. To help quickly connect this insight to the opportunity gap, I created a visualization highlighting the internal breakdowns in the current service model, which was included in the summary deck.

After the research was completed and shared internally, one of the Steelcase operations teams decided to pilot a new service model based on the opportunity insight. The project plan that I co-created with the client included multiple working sessions with cross-functional team members to develop personas, journey maps, and a service blueprint. After trialing this model on past projects and refining as needed, the pilot was tested with clients and successfully launched.

I continue to create collateral materials for the growing team as new furniture products developed through the service go to market. 

A collage of images showing a wall of post-it notes, a process diagram, and service maps used in creating Steelcase Studio
Image blurred for client confidentiality

What my client said.

very light gray open quote marks

I have engaged with Sara on several projects from strategic-level thought partnership to more tactical communications design. She has helped tremendously at both ends of that spectrum. 

As we developed our custom furniture business, we engaged with Sara to help develop the experience design, specifically to engage in the development of a service model blueprint so that we could design front-of-curtain experiences and back-of-curtain capabilities to support a phenomenal overall client experience. That experience has helped to launch a new and highly successful business within our company.  

As we developed our “Space-as-a-Service” business model, we leveraged Sara in our communications design, but even more importantly in our “lessons learned” document, which was a combination of 3 years of work…a tool which the company still leverages in their pursuit of business models, so they know what to do and what not to do. That piece had to be high level enough so an executive could understand it but detailed enough so that a practitioner could easily assimilate its lessons into their work. 

Ryan Schmidt
General Manager

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