Far too many roadblocks exist in business today, and for a variety of reasons.

So many companies often can’t see the way around any potential issues, and that’s a problem in itself.

However, the problems aren’t the problem.

It is the attitude of most people towards solving the problem that is fundamental to why certain companies are still hampered by a lack of progress.

If employers took a step back and re-evaluated where things were going wrong, and importantly allowed staff to be creative when suggesting a solution, rather than sticking to tried and tested – and unworkable – methods, they could and would move forward far quicker.

Companies that create can even solve issues that they may not have initially realised were there, but are uncovered because of a different way of working and thinking.

This can sometimes lead to a better way of doing things, and such a business strategy is a formal ‘discipline’ known as category design. It allows companies to ‘play bigger’ rather than being forever stuck in the past.

What is Category Design?

If you’ve not heard of it, broadly speaking, category design could best be described as a discipline of creation and monetisation of new markets within a business setting.

To begin, one must be acutely aware of the nature of any problem that is needing to be solved.

From that standpoint, which you will come to understand is the proxy for the category and also a strategic element that’s missing, your challenge is to find the category which will, ultimately, solve the problem.

If you’re able to do just that, consider yourself a ‘category King.’

It’s Always Been There

It may surprise many, but category design has always been around.

The discipline has often been utilised by forward thinkers instinctively. It is precisely by being forward-thinking that certain individuals and their companies have become adept at being category leaders.

Persuading staff and customers is key in pushing through any reticence to embrace new ways of doing things.

Innovate. Educate.

Addressing the Key Steps in Category Design

Identify the Problem

What is the problem?

Define that, and the way in which either the insight or technology you have can solve it.

That is always the first step in any category design journey.

Define the Category Name

No one will understand what the container for the problem is unless you’ve defined the name of the category.

Though it’s likely to evolve over time and as the category expands, the name should ultimately include what the problem is, the market type and which audience have the problem.

Publish Your Category Blueprint and Ecosystem Map

How are you going to fulfil the potential of your category?

Publishing a blueprint is vital given that it will set out which people are required, as well as which products and processes to ensure the category potential is fulfilled.

What is your solution at the present time and how is it likely to change in the future? What are you going to build to ensure needs are met?


Explain what the future of your company looks like if the problem isn’t solved.

Ensure that your vision is accompanied with a point of view (POV) that sets out the pathway moving forward in both instances.

The point of view will underscore the category problem and also provide your answer to it.


The importance of mobilising the company cannot be stressed enough.

If a category King (or Queen) can use the strength of his or her personality to drive change, it becomes an incredibly useful weapon.

Unifying the entire organisation when it comes to believing that there’s a need for a certain product and way of doing things will ensure category goals are met.


A business needs to align across all aspects and for a certain period in order for category potential to be expanded.

What’s more, in order for your company to be considered a category King, it’s imperative that certain biases are targeted.

Often termed as ‘lightning strikes,’ they ensure a commitment and conformity to your agenda, and momentum is gained in so doing.

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