Design Thinking for Product Localization & Market Expansion – Digital Nova Scotia – Leading Digital Industry
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Design Thinking for Product Localization & Market Expansion

March 12, 2020 @ 10:00 am - 6:00 pm ADT

Did you know, DNS members with less than 50 employees could access this training program for free? Have more than 50 employees? No worries, you could attend for 50% off!

Looking to do business in a new market? This program can help you do just that! 

This interactive workshop (March 12-13th) leverages design thinking to help you explore market expansion. You’ll leave how to assess product viability, identify key customers and select the right markets for your business. Covering everything from user research to customer journeys, this practical workshop will help you adapt your products, services, and platforms to new markets regionally, nationally, and globally.

Designed to help you fuel business expansion and revenues, you’ll walk away understanding how markets and users differ so you can get optimum results. At the end of this program, you have a scalable and repeatable set of tools that can help your organization build a comprehensive plan to move forward. The program also provides a comprehensive introduction to the Design Thinking process, which can be applied to solve a wide range of complex business challenges.

Who should attend?

The program is well-suited for both individuals as well as teams looking to grow their business, introduce new innovative approaches and ensure wider organizational commitment. Some key participant could be:

  • Business executives/leaders
  • Business/digital strategists
  • Marketing managers/directors
  • Product designers
  • UX designers
  • Product managers/leads
  • Business analysts
  • Innovation leads/managers

Program format

  • 2 days on-site workshop
  • 2 online learning modules
  • 1:1 consultation session

The online learning modules will take place after the workshop. The sessions will be recorded and accessible by any workshop participants who are not able to join the live session. Participants are asked to schedule their 1:1 consultation within 12 weeks of completion of the workshop, via the secure online scheduling tool.

Workshop agenda

Day 1 – Introduction to the Design Thinking Mindset

  • Introduction to the mindset of Design Thinking and core values
  • Overview of the 5 phase Design Thinking framework
  • Phase 1: Empathy – research methods, empathy mapping, jobs-to-be-done
    • The role of user research, empathy mapping, personal development and customer journeys in market expansion – understanding how markets and users differ
  • Phase 2: Definition – point-of-view statements, problem reframing, how might we statements
  • Guest speaker + case study
  • Day 1 wrap up, learnings, key challenges

Day 2 – How Design Thinking Can Support Strategic Innovation and Market Expansion

  • How Design Thinking can fuel strategic innovation and support adoption of emerging technologies
  • Phase 3: Ideation – brainstorming methods & best practices, idea sections, subjective/objective evaluation frameworks
  • Group roundtable: practices for uncovering new market opportunities
  • Phase 4: Prototyping – assumption mapping, smart POCs, validation methods
  • Guest speaker + case study
  • Phase 5: Testing – measurement frameworks, iterative nature of Design Thinking, validation methods continued
  • Expansion exercise: designing business experiments for market expansion
  • Day 2 wrap up, learnings, key challenges, and next steps

Online Learning Module 1 – Key Market Expansion Strategies

  • Introduction to additional considerations for market expansion
  • How a Design Thinking mindset can support success in exploring new customers & geographies
  • Round-table discussion on the applicability of Design Thinking principles to market expansion strategic objectives

Online Learning Module 2 – AI and Emerging Technologies

  • Introduction to Design Thinking principles as they related to AI and other emerging technologies
  • Discussion on how to measure the human and business impacts of technology
  • Best practices for prototyping / piloting new solutions and how to measure success based on leading indicators to reduce organizational risk and increase time to market

1:1 Consultations

  • Every organization will be provided a 1:1 consultation (delivered via video call with screen sharing as required) post-workshop. The purpose will be to provide high-touch feedback to support participants in implementing parts of the Design Thinking practice in their respective organizations.


This program has been fully funded through Workplace Innovation and Productivity Skills Incentive (WIPSI), and will be provided FREE for DNS members with less than 50 employees. If your company has more than 50 employees, 50% of program costs will be funded. You must meet all eligibility requirements to take part in this opportunity.

  • Be operating within the tech sector as a tech business
  • Be Located in Nova Scotia and be registered with the Nova Scotia Registry of Joint Stocks or incorporated by an act of the Nova Scotia legislature
  • Be in business for at least one year
  • Have at least 25,000 dollars in wages or owner remuneration (this is not revenue; this is wages paid out either to employees or to the owner)
  • Be a DNS member prior to the program start date
Apply for the Program!

Please submit your completed form to with your preferred course in the subject line.


Facilitated by Ramy Nassar

Ramy is a Canadian engineer, designer and maker. As the former Head of Innovation for Mattel and Managing Director of Design & Strategy for Architect, he has led teams creation of disruptive new retail products, services & platforms. He leads a boutique digital strategy consultancy called 1000 Days Out, focused on corporate innovation and proposition design.

With a background in computer engineering and Design Thinking, Ramy has straddled technical, design, and business-oriented roles, for clients including Cadillac Fairview, Apple, Air Canada, Facebook, New Balance, Rogers and CIBC.

Ramy is a regular speaker at international events including World Usability Congress, IxDA, Machine Learning Exchange, AI Business Summit and World Mobile Congress. Ramy teaches in Retail Innovation at Saint Mary’s University, Design Thinking at McMaster University and in the Master’s of Engineering, Innovation & Entrepreneurship program at Ryerson.


Guest Speaker – Jessica McCall

Jessica McCall has 13 years of experience working with exporting companies on international trade missions and has been an adult educator for 18 years. Jessica holds a CITP – Certified International Trade Professional designation with the Forum for International Trade Training, BA and BSc. degrees and an Adult Education Certificate from Dalhousie University. Jessica has her Design Thinking Certification and is about to complete her Advanced Design Thinking Certification. Jessica is an Export Development Executive and a member of the NSBI Export Readiness Team. The team’s focus is to work with companies that are new to export or those that are exploring new markets. Jessica also manages Export Education programming and the Trade Accelerator Program (TAP) for the Province of Nova Scotia and is the Chair of the pan-Atlantic ATIGA Grow Export 2020 committee.

Jessica McCall, Export Development Executive, Nova Scotia Business Inc. –


Guest Speaker – Alexandre Lanteigne

Alexandre Lanteigne has been with the Trade Commissioner Service (TCS) for 3 years, helping Canadian SMEs navigate the complexities of international markets. Alex holds a BComm (International Business) from Dalhousie University, a Certificate in Global Management from the Grenoble Graduate School of Business, and is currently working on his Certified International Trade Professional (CITP) designation.

Within the Atlantic Region TCS team, Alex is responsible for the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) sector in Nova Scotia. His primary role consists of meeting with companies in this sector to learn of their capabilities, as well as of the hurdles hindering internationalization and export growth. In the process, he helps guide clients towards TCS or partner programs that can best help them overcome these challenges.

Alex’s hobbies include gardening, DIY, and – most recently – prepping for the arrival of his new puppy.



March 12, 2020
10:00 am - 6:00 pm ADT
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