The Mystery of the D1
What exactly is a D1, and why does it matter?

"Let's initiate a D1 and explore."

The term "D1" is integral to our lexicon. We frequently discuss crafting D1s for a myriad of projects, products, apps, and ideas, catering to both our clients and ourselves.

Often, companies approach us with ambitious visions. Perhaps an executive envisions a fresh take on an existing product, or a founder seeks guidance on the subsequent steps for a novel project. Our approach is to dive into a D1:Define. It represents the inaugural "D" in our 5Ds methodology and is succinct, usually spanning less than two weeks. Key stakeholders and Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) participate in a 1-2 day workshop, employing our D1 strategy to grasp the essence of the new concept. The objective is to distill the idea into comprehensible segments, reframe it into a lucid action plan, and then convey it as straightforwardly as possible. This methodology is pivotal in devising a universally effective strategy.

A D1 isn't about innovation or troubleshooting—achieving that in mere days is unrealistic. Instead, it's about achieving mutual clarity on the mission and offering tools and insights for its effective management.


In order for us to best understand the exact nature of a project, we typically work through an exercise we call WHAT, WHY, HOW. WHAT has several components. These structured conversations take many different paths. Here are some of the considerations discussed.


In as few sentences as possible, what is the product or service we're talking about? What is the business model around the product? What are the metrics for success? What are the main functions? What are the high level goals? Who are the customers? Who are the Stakeholders and who are the Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) and what is their experience? Note: Who is actually part of the What in this exercise. The output of WHAT are descriptive text.


Empirical evidence drives WHY. It's not about "hunches," but rather about what research says about the viability of the project as product, service or application. This data provides the basis for discussion and helps our clients and ourselves to best understand clearly the idea and how to communicate it later. The output of WHY is typically charts and graphs.


Those of you familiar with PERT charts can understand the HOW part of this. A step-by-step process is reviewed on how best to move forward. We call this a Road Map and it also outlines resources, timescales and sets expectations for next phases of the 5Ds.

The output of HOW is typically tables, PERT or GANNT charts, and sometimes an infographic.

Data and Notes

During our workshop days, we carefully take lots of notes. Afterwards, we assemble the notes into a document and immediately share it with the client for verification. It's most important we are all on the exact same page. These notes will be used during the development of the final presentation.

The Customer Journey

One of our most effective tools for grasping both new and existing concepts is mapping the customer's journey. This encompasses the initial discovery of the product, the information gathering and decision-making phases, the onboarding and inaugural use, routine utilization including support, and finally, understanding how seasoned users can bolster the product's business model.

We divide into compact teams to workshop each of these phases. While a comprehensive customer journey analysis isn't our primary aim, this exercise invariably enhances our understanding of the product and illuminates potential improvements.

The Essence of Cognitive Visualization

While we've delved deep into Cognitive Visualization in our narratives, in essence, it's where we amalgamate our learnings with a touch of design flair to visualize the product or service concept. This isn't a finalized design but a mutually agreed-upon representation to effectively communicate our objectives. A cornerstone of the Design Thinking approach is to have standout visuals from the outset. These visualizations can manifest in various ways: product renderings in action, interactive software interfaces for smartphones, immersive virtual reality experiences, or even infographics elucidating intricate systems.

The D1 Culmination

The D1 process concludes with a definitive presentation. This encapsulates a succinct overview of the project, complemented by lucid descriptions and ideagrams of the WHAT and WHY. The HOW and WHEN are charted in the Road Map, with the Cognitive Visualization being a highlight of the final showcase. To see this in action, reach out to our team for a scheduled demonstration.