Design in strategy and strategy in design

An international group of adults stand behind a big board. It says, Make Things Happen. There are lots of coloured post it notes on the board. Design in Strategy.How do we solve big problems such as pandemics, climate change, and unemployment? Linear step by step processes are no longer the way to address these complex challenges. Something else is needed. Jan Auernhammer discusses the issues in his latest article, Design in Strategy and Strategy in Design.

Auernhammer proposes that complex problems require collaborative processes and capabilities. People with diverse perspectives work on solutions together to come up with the best possible solutions. In other words, co-design processes work best. 

Auernhammer first clarifies the vocabulary that’s needed to make sure everyone is talking about the same thing. He then presents three perspectives. First, is a method that uses tools, models and plans. Second, is learning through collective reflection from intent and action. Third, where design and strategy emerge from creative and collaborative processes. 

Put simply, the first perspective follows established logic, the second is where designers think about it, and the third is co-design. The third perspective is about deep engagement in a psychologically safe and free environment. This might be in the design studio itself with other designers, or with stakeholders in a community engagement process. 

From the summary

“Integrating Strategy and Design requires building collaborative and comprehensive design capabilities. These collective capabilities have the potential to respond to emerging complex challenges with strategic intent and through sophisticated design capabilities enacted in everyday practice.”

The title of the article is, Strategic Design: The integration of the two fields of Strategy and Design.

From the abstract

This article outlines the evolution of Design in Strategy and Strategy in Design and discusses the differences and similarities. Examination of the evolutions reveals three different perspectives on integrating Strategy and Design in both fields.

The article provides a nuanced understanding of Strategic Design by purposefully establishing the vocabulary of each perspective.

The first perspective is a planning practice containing strategic tools and design methods to create conceptual models and plans. The second perspective is a learning practice through collective reflection from intent and action.

The last perspective is the enablement of a comprehensive design practice in which tangible design and strategy emerge from the messiness of creative and collaborative design practice.

These three Strategic Design practices require different organization and design capabilities and produce distinctive outcomes. The integration of Design and Strategy is becoming increasingly imperative as there is the need to address the more complex, interrelated socio-technological and economic-environmental challenges. 

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