The Design Brief, which states the parameters of a project in relation to the user/consumer, is a common document that guides designers through the process of product development. However, designers seldom have the opportunity to work in a broader context that offers more insight into the life of the product and its business aspects.
I find it more useful to create a Business Brief rather than a Design Brief. The Business Brief in contrast looks at the overall business strategy of the product with a particular focus on business markets, sales strategies, distribution channels, etc. This approach allows designers to answer several basic questions such as: Where will the product be manufactured? How will the product be shipped? Where will the product be warehoused? What distribution channels are available? What is the return policy? What is the recycling strategy? Questions like these broaden the definition of the user. In other words, the user is defined as every one who comes in contact with the product throughout its life cycle. In a way the product is designed with the point of view of the assembly worker, shipping clerk, the recycling person, etc.
The Business Brief brings a broader understanding of the problem by providing new insights for better product development. Having this information available to the design team can make a big difference in the final result. Considering external factors and the people that come in contact with the product throughout its life simplifies the design process and focuses innovation.