Strategic Design: 8 Essential Practices Every Strategic Designer Must Master

Strategic Design: 8 Essential Practices Every Strategic Designer Must Master


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If you are a designer and want to better understand and develop your strategic potential, this book is for you! This book off ers eight strategic design practices for design professionals who seek to grow or have already grown into a more strategic role in innovation. These practices have been distilled by expert strategic designers (from, for instance, Philips, Fabrique, npk design, Lifework, Reframing Studio) and researchers in the field of strategic design. The practices are illustrated through tools, methods, cases and guidelines that together will enable you to quickly familiarize with them and get ready to apply them in your next strategic design project.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9789063694456
Publisher: Laurence King Publishing
Publication date: 11/22/2016
Pages: 228
Product dimensions: 7.50(w) x 9.50(h) x 0.70(d)

About the Author

Dr. Giulia Calabretta is Assistant Professor in Strategic Value of Design at Faculty of Industrial Design Engineering, Delft University of Technology (Delft Netherlands). Giulia earned her PhD from ESADE Business School (Barcelona, Spain). Her research interests are in the area of innovation and design management. Currently her research is focused on understanding how design skills and methods can be effectively integrated in the strategy and processes of companies, with a particular interest on the role of designers in innovation strategy and early development. Her research has been published in such journals as the Journal of Product Innovation Management, Journal of Business Ethics, and Journal of Service Management.

Prof. Gerda Gemser is Full Professor of Business and Design at RMIT University of Technology and Design, Melbourne, Australia. She is one of the distinguished full professors appointed by RMIT University to stimulate design research. Gerda earned her PhD degree at the Rotterdam School of Management (The Netherlands). She has conducted different studies on the effects of design on company performance (in cooperation with the European governments and design associations such as the Association of Dutch Designers (BNO) and Premsela). She has held positions at different universities in The Netherlands, including Delft University of Technology and Erasmus University (Rotterdam School of Management). She has been a visiting scholar at the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania (US) and Sauder School of Business, University of British Columbia (Canada). Her research is focused on management of innovation and design in particular. She is part of the editorial board of Journal of Design, Business and Society, is co-chair of the Advisory Board for the annual Design for Business research conference as organized by Agideas (Design Foundation Melbourne), and is part of the Executive Board of RMIT’s Design Research Institute. She has published in journals such as Organization Science, Organization Studies, Journal of Management, Journal of Product Innovation Management, Long Range Planning, and The Design Journal, International Journal of Design and Design Studies.

Dr Ingo Karpen is an Associate Professor and cross-disciplinary researcher in Marketing, Strategy, and Design at RMIT University, Melbourne. Ingo is also a visiting Professor at Copenhagen Business School. In his research, Ingo focuses on drawing on service and design principles to better understand and inform value co-creation strategies in service systems; measuring and investigating the interplay of service-driving organizational design and customer experience design; and managing service systems and human relations towards more engaging experience processes and experience outcomes. Ingo collaborates with international business partners across industries to facilitate knowledge generation for the betterment of business and society. He has published in the Journal of Service Research, Journal of Retailing, Journal of Business Research, Marketing Theory, Journal of Strategic Marketing, Journal of Service Theory and Practice and International Marketing Review. He is a recipient of several national and international awards for his teaching and research..

Table of Contents

The book will be organized in four parts, each representing a key stage or aspect of a strategic design project:

Part 1: SETTING THE OBJECTIVES of a strategic design project
Part II: STRUCTURING a strategic design project
Part III: ORCHESTRATING a strategic design project
Part IV: EMBEDDING a strategic design project

Particularly, Part 1, Part 2 and Part 4 represent the sequential stages of a strategic design project. Part 3 is an on-going fundamental activity. For each part we will introduce two or three design practices (and the related tools and illustrative cases) that support the effective execution of the stage/activity they refer to. In an extensive introductory chapter we will explain the structure, connect to the current evolution of the design profession and innovation challenges, and clarify why the parts and practices can support design professionals in facing innovation-related professional challenges.

The introductory chapter will cover the following topics:

• Explain the changing role of design, which is becoming increasingly relevant for addressing strategic innovation decisions, like innovation strategy, innovation vision, branding, new product/service portfolio, business model innovation. This transition will be illustrated through examples of international corporations and design consultancies experiencing such a transition.
• Explain that a powerful driver of such a role change are the servitizing and cocreation trends, which are affecting many companies’ innovation strategy (manufacturers going from products to product-service-systems (PSS); emergence of service and co-creative design)
• Introduce the ten strategic design practices – i.e., routinized strategic actions and ways of working - that emerged as important for effectively planning and executing a project where design professionals are involved in strategic innovation decisions (i.e., a strategic design project). These ten strategic design practices are: envisioning, inspiring, reframing, focusing, road mapping, simplifying, aligning, translating, educating and embracing (see also below). We will explain how a strategic design project differs from a traditional design project and visually illustrate how the practices are linked to different steps/activities of a strategic design project.

This first part of the book relates to the practices enacted by designers in the early stages of a strategic design project, when the involved actors discuss the project’s objectives and directions. In this Part One we will introduce and explain three key strategic design practices:

­- Envisioning: the practice of helping actors to incorporate a future-oriented, long-term perspective in their project objectives.
• Inspiring: the practice of making actors think and act differently and making them confident in pursuing innovation opportunities.
­- Reframing: the practice of framing a problematic situation in new and
interesting ways, thus paving the way for more creative solutions.

These three practices are relevant in relation to a key feature of strategic design projects in the innovation domain, namely that the achievement of their full potential impact requires facing uncertainty, running risks while committing substantial business resources. Since many managers tend to be risk adverse, design practices in this chapter aim at inverting this tendency by keeping managers open to innovation and committed to projects where the outcome is uncertain.

Part I will include four chapters: a chapter explaining the practices of envisioning and inspiring in general; three chapters illustrating these practices through specific tools (e.g., VIP, design of rich experiences) and representative cases.

Part II relates to the relevant practices on ‘how to go there’, namely on how to structure a strategic design project in a way that it can be effectively executed according to the objectives and directions established upfront. This part incorporates the following three design practices:

• Focusing: the practice of helping actors to focus their interest and activities on the project’s strategic objectives.
­- Road mapping: the practice of specifying the steps that need to be undertaken to reach the project’s strategic objectives and guiding the actors through these steps.
­- Simplifying: the practice of filtering what is most relevant or useful (e.g., information, resources) to reach the project’s strategic objectives.
Providing actors with a clear, simple, structured plan for executing a strategic design project contributes to reducing the perceived uncertainty of these projects and, thus, keeps actors committed to them.

Part II will include four chapters: a chapter explaining the practices of focusing, road mapping and simplifying; three chapters illustrating these practices through specific tools (e.g., Veylinx, Scrum) and representative cases.

This part of the book relates to designers’ practices aimed at combining and
harmonizing/synchronizing different types of people, knowledge, and expertise in strategic design projects. The effective execution of strategic design projects requires a multidisciplinary team and the support and commitment of a variety of stakeholders. The involvement of people with different ways of thinking, languages and personal interests might hinder strategic design projects. Design professionals facilitate the integration of people and interests prevalently by means of two practices:

• Aligning: the practice of steering strategic projects’ key decision moments towards a human-centred direction that agrees or matches with a company’s values and assets.
­- Translating: the practice of converting information from one language to another (e.g. verbal to visual, tacit to explicit) in order to facilitate alignment.

These practices are enacted throughout the strategic design project.

Part III will consist of three chapters: a chapter explaining the practices of aligning and translating; two chapters illustrating these practices through specific tools (e.g., co-creative sessions; visual thinking) and representative cases.

This part relates to helping actors learn and retain a design-oriented approach to innovation strategy and integrate the outcome of strategic design projects in the organization. Frequently actors find it difficult to implement the outcomes of a strategic design project, given the outcomes’ inherent complexity and novelty and the actors’ risk adverse attitude. Design professionals support actors in embedding the outcomes of strategic design projects by means of the following practices:

­- Educating: the practice of teaching design practices and tools to actors involved in strategic design projects (also refers to explaining how the design outcome came about)
­- Embracing: (complementary to educating) the practice of ensuring that strategic projects’ outcomes and design practices and tools are embraced and institutionalized by the involved companies and actors in the longer run.

These practices generally occur towards the end of the project, but our chapters will stress the appropriateness of enacting them throughout the project.

Part IV will consist of three chapters: a chapter explaining the practices of educating and embracing; two chapters illustrating these practices through specific tools (e.g., hackathons, pressure cooker) and representative cases.

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