Strategic design for business growth

In this post let’s explore strategic design, where it happens and how it contributes to the growth of your organisation.

Strategic design occurs at the intersection between strategic thinking and design thinking.

Strategic thinking emerged during the 70’s as a way to cope with an increasing level of competition in many industries. Strategic thinking finds its origins in academia and also in the work of consultancies companies as BCG.

Who is responsible for thinking strategically?

The senior management plays the central role; the C-Suite is where strategic thinking happens. The rest of the people working in the organisation are not responsible, or even asked, to think about the strategy of their organisations; they have to implement some else's thinking/planning.

Let me say that while this is intuitive, I mean, we need someone in charge; it offers a narrow understanding of business strategy. It all would be great if industries didn’t change, but we all know that this is just a dream.

Welcome to design thinking.

Let’s embrace change and walk down the corporate ladder. Design thinking or broadly speaking human centred design starts with the idea that the need is already there, we just need to be in touch with the customer and able to spot it.

It’s not a case that more and more CEOs are taking the opportunity to work just a few hours as receptionists within their businesses. While this is good marketing, it’s not scalable. Therefore there is a role for the receptionist, the line manager and the middle manager to contribute to the business strategy of an organisation. Day after day they can develop intelligence regarding unarticulated customer needs.

Here’s the thing, while companies are investing a fortune in developing the IT infrastructure enabling the collections of Big Data, they are largely missing the opportunity to develop empathy for their customers, and this is to me a massive loss.

The advantage of embracing strategic design.

Senior management plays a tremendous role in deciding the strategy of an organisation. The leadership team has to make the strategic choices enabling the long term success of their business.

At the same time though the intelligence required to embrace change, to keep a strategy relevant over time, to spot growth opportunities is distributed to the people working in the organisation, no matter their status.

Strategic design, as I see it, enables organisations to make their strategy more dynamic to embrace rather than reject change by making strategy everyone’s job.

This is a relatively old video of mine exploring the difference between deliberate and emerging strategies.

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