What is Strategic Design?

By | November 22, 2013
This entry is part 9 of 31 in the series Defining words

intersectionI work with a lot of people who have a strong aversion to the word “strategic” so I really enjoy terms like “strategic design”. When I say such things, the first dear friend to roll their eyes gets the most credit for calling me on another ridiculous tangent into obscure techno babble.

Then I tell them to “Google it” and look down my nose at them like they haven’t read an important book in decades.

Google offers up Wikipedia, where you will learn that “Strategic design is the application of future-oriented design principles in order to increase an organization’s innovative and competitive qualities.

Intersection says “The challenges enterprises face in a hyperconnected, highly dynamic, and technology-pervaded world require them to think holistically about their relationships to people. The design competency can help enterprises to consciously shape the way they are experienced over time, to provide afacevisible and approachable to everyone interacting with them. To tackle problems on this level, the practice of design needs to become more strategic and relevant to problem settings typical to the enterprise.

My hope is that each person goes off and learns that everything we have been doing has been a futile and myopic attempt to optimize a single variable in a complex system. We have been like a group of oblivious surgeons furiously operating away without even realizing they were all trying to save the same patient.

So how do you broaden your perspective and work across disciplines in a well-orchestrated team to make an enterprise work better for everyone involved? That is the subject of INTERSECTION, How enterprise design bridges the gap between business, technology and people.

There is a useful article about the book by Gerd Waloszek on the SAP Design Guild, complete with summary tables that helped me get my mind around the book.

There are other books on strategic design. What drew me to this particular book was the extensive definitions of words, lists of things to think about and do, and a process for putting it into practice.

I encourage you to read the book and then go around saying “strategic design” and see how people react.



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