Business Origami

Business Origami is a paper prototype activity that helps create a mental model of a future service system, allowing participants to discover new possibilities and optimize the system.


Business Origami is a hands-on method that uses paper shapes to represent different elements of a business system, such as customers, products, and processes. By physically arranging these shapes, participants can explore complex relationships and workflows. This tangible approach makes abstract concepts more accessible and fosters collaborative problem-solving. Business Origami is particularly valuable in service design and business analysis, where understanding the interplay of various components is crucial.

Suitable for

  • Modeling complex systems
  • Discovering new possibilities for the system and optimization
  • Engaging stakeholders in the service design process


Business Origami Workshop Plan

A detailed plan outlining the objectives, activities, facilitation methods, and required materials for conducting a Business Origami workshop tailored to the project's specific goals and attendees.

Origami Elements Templates

Customized paper cut-outs representing key components within the system, such as users, tasks, and interfaces. These templates can be used by participants to create their Business Origami diagrams.

System Maps

Visual representations of the current and/or proposed system, created by arranging the origami elements on a large workspace (such as a table or wall) to show the interactions and flows between components.

User Scenarios

Detailed descriptions of how users will interact with the system, derived from insights and patterns identified during the Business Origami process. Scenarios can be used to guide future design and development efforts.

Stakeholder Insights Report

Documentation of findings and patterns identified during the Business Origami workshop, including insights into user needs, pain points, opportunities for improvement, and recommendations for next steps.

Photographic Documentation

High-quality photos capturing the various stages of the Business Origami process, including workshop activities, origami element configurations, and system maps. These images can be used for reference, presentation, and communication purposes.



Identify the problem and goals

Start by determining the problem to solve or the goal to achieve through Business Origami. Understand the business objectives, user needs, and the situation or context for which the method will be applied.


Assemble the team and gather materials

Form a diverse team of stakeholders, designers, and users to work together on the problem. Gather required materials, such as paper cutouts, sticky notes, pens, and a large workspace, to accomplish the workshop session.


Define key elements and relationships

Identify key elements in the problem or system, such as users, processes, devices, and environments. Create paper cutouts representing each element, and note down their attributes and relationships on the cutouts.


Create a physical model

Construct a physical model by placing and arranging paper cutouts representing various elements on a shared workspace. Explore and discuss different scenarios by rearranging the elements, highlighting connections, and their relationships.


Encourage collaboration and discussion

Invite team members to actively engage and participate in modifying or proposing alternative arrangements to the model. Encourage them to analyze the user experience and discuss opportunities or challenges arising from different configurations.


Capture and refine the model

Document the physical model, either through photography or digital tools. Refine the model based on insights gathered from discussions and by exploring trade-offs among different arrangements. Record the team's learnings, recommendations, and next steps.


Iterate and validate

Iterate on the refined model and re-examine the relationships among the elements to uncover unaddressed issues or opportunities. Validate the refined model with real users or stakeholders to ensure alignment with their needs and business objectives.


Translate into actionable insights

Translate the findings from the Business Origami method into actionable insights for UX design or process improvements. Ensure that these insights inform strategic decision-making, design choices, and communication across teams.



60 minutes or more


large surface, writing utensils, post-its in various formats


Four or more participants, preferably with diverse backgrounds and roles in the service system being explored


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