Design Strategy

Design strategy is a discipline which helps firms determine what to make and do, why do it and how to innovate contextually, both immediately and over the long term. This process involves the interplay between design and business strategy, forming a systematic approach integrating holistic-thinking, research methods used to inform business strategy and strategic planning which provides a context for design. While not always required, design strategy often uses social research methods to help ground the results and mitigate the risk of any course of action. The approach has proved useful for companies in a variety of strategic scenarios.

Design strategy can play an integral role in helping to resolve the following common problems:

  • Promoting the adoption of a technology (Example: Toyota designing the hybrid Prius to resemble the conservative Echo instead of making the Prius look high-tech and adventuresome)
  • Identifying the most important questions that a company's products and services should address (Example: John Rheinfrank of Fitch Design showed Kodak that its disposable cameras didn't exist to replace traditional cameras, but instead to meet specific needs, like weddings, underwater photography and others)
  • Translating insights into actionable solutions (Example: Jump Associates helped Target turn an understanding of college students into a dorm room line designed by Todd Oldham)
  • Prioritizing the order in which a portfolio of products and services should be launched (Example: Apple Inc. laid out the iPod+iTunes ecosystem slowly over time, rather than launching all of its pieces at once)
  • Connecting design efforts to an organization's business strategy (Example: Hewlett-Packard's global design division is focused most intently on designs that simplify technology experiences. This leads to lower manufacturing costs at a time when CEO Mark Hurd is pushing for cost-cutting.)
  • Integrating design as a fundamental aspect of strategic brand intent (Example: Tom Hardy, Design Strategist, developed the core brand-design principle ″Balance of Reason & Feeling″ for Samsung Electronics, together with rational and emotional attributes, to guide design language within a comprehensive brand-design program that inspired differentiation and elevated the company's global image.

Read more about Design StrategyOrigins, Practitioners

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Design Strategy - Practitioners
... Several notable design-related consulting firms have made design strategy part of their overall practice ... Jump Associates IDEO MITSRA frog design Doblin Monitor Tom Hardy, Verbal-Visual Framework LPK Elephant Strategy+Design Continuum (design consultancy) Ajenda Interactive Media fuseproject ...
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... South Waterfront Design Strategy (CreditGerding/Edlen Development Company, LLC, Williams Dame Development, ZIBA Design, Inc ... Val Taylor Smith and Randy Poulsen, USA) Netgear Platinum II design language (CreditNewDealDesign, USA) ...

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