Hanley leverage deep customer relationships to co-create a new service offering

Decision Sprint to de-risk new business opportunities
Hanley decided that developing their new consultancy business required three pieces of proof, all centred on their target customer: the desirability of a consulting service, validation of the pain points experienced, and clarity around top of mind concerns. They eliminated a number of potential customer profiles and service lines from further consideration, allowing the team to focus their efforts on the remaining decisions. With proof of the desirability of the service established via the Decision Sprint, a small set of rapid experiments to provide the remaining required proofs were selected.

At a glance

8 voices
Gathered opinions from 8 external customers and experts
8 weeks
Compressed 8 weeks of consulting effort into just 2 days
64 ideas
Evaluated more than 64 ideas and options from the team

About Hanley Automation

Hanley Automation provide a wide range of automation and IT solutions for life science manufacturing operations. They have a particular strength in digital strategy for pharma manufacturing and supply chain operations.

Their solutions span a broad spectrum of technology from physical machines and robots through to cloud based management solutions. Hanley have a multidisciplinary large team of specialist technical people spanning the breadth of skills to be able to deploy and support these technologies.


The full story

The decision to be made

Hanley had a hypothesis that it could develop its existing consultative sales approach into a productised consulting offer, and preliminary conversations with customers had provided positive feedback on this general concept. Now Hanley faced decisions on how to structure their consulting business to ‘ready to launch’ to their current customers, as well as appeal to potential new clients.

Our approach

The Decision Sprint took in three areas: understanding the problem, creating choice/making decisions on those choices, and producing practical experiments to provide sufficient evidence to resolve the remaining decisions. A 100% virtual workshop involved both Hanley team members and invited external experts, and made use of Miro virtual whiteboard technology partnered with Zoom video conferencing.

Team Alignment

Each participating team member was interviewed for 25 minutes, with the key insights recorded onto the virtual whiteboard. The board served as both a repository for this unstructured knowledge – and the basis for the Decision Sprint report to Hanley – and the collaborative space in which the sprint participants could contribute additional ideas and proceed to make decisions.


In a series of short exercises, team members recorded a large number of opportunities, issues, and problems, with a sorting and prioritisation of these to clarify the elements of the problem. In this stage, the problem remained diffuse with no one aspect (from marketing and sales to client experience) outweighing another.

Product Strategy

External ideas and inspiration came from Lightning Demos in which individual team members researched and presented ideas already present in the market, ideas that Hanley could quickly learn and borrow from within the Decision Sprint. The team distilled the exploratory thinking into a set of distinct high-level concepts for the Hanley consulting offering, with each brought to life through self-explanatory three-panelled storyboards.

Customer Voice

Qualitative customer research was introduced into the Decision Sprint to investigate the desirability of a consulting offering from Hanley , identifying real customer problems that Hanley could help solve. With this input the team developed three different stakeholder hypotheses, each with a different need for consultancy, which were tested with customers.

The Outcome

In a matter of hours, the Decision Sprint had brought Hanley from an opportunity – to provide consulting services – to a set of distinct alternatives for that service, grounded in and evidenced by the best thinking of their team and invited experts. The team also knew that there were a small number of critical proofs needed in order to proceed: validating the key customer pain points (where clients have a recurring and severe problem they need to solve), and clarity around the top of mind concerns of customers (what drives a customer to engage a specific consultancy to help solve that problem). Importantly, these proofs had been understood as separate from each other. Six experiments were devised that would provide evidence to resolve these outstanding questions; the experiments were developed to be capable of being run by Hanley without external support and within a timeframe of weeks. Hanley had accelerated the development of their consulting service by months and established a clear path to launch.

Where we helped
Value Proposition Product Strategy Prioritization Team Alignment Customer Voice
Evidence based decision support

Talk to our Realists

We help you make better decisions

Alistair Hodgett
Alistair Hodgett
US & Ireland
Paul Healy
Paul Healy
US, UK, & Ireland
Paul Geraghty
Paul Geraghty
Remote & Ireland