A Strategic Design Agenda for 2019

Updated: May 17, 2019

Let me share with you some ideas on how to start a strategic design agenda in your organisation.

First, let me say that strategic design is still a new approach to business innovation. Teams working in organisations struggle to grasp the difference between conventional strategic thinking and design thinking. If you feel discouraged to involve colleagues on a strategic design agenda, don’t be, rather let’s focus on the problem. 1) Efficiency: the main goal of an organisation is running lean, organisations strive to lower the costs of production. While lowering costs creates an (incremental) advantage, it paralyses the formation of new ideas fostering (disruptive) competitive advantages. This suggests that strategic design, to get started, requires a catalyst, someone inviting slow thinking over fast thinking. 2) Risk / Responsibility: no one I know loves accountability, mostly for proposing new ways to do something. Here’s is the confusion - ideas are free and sharing them makes them more valuable. Yet, proposing a new idea implies taking responsibility for its possible outcomes. There is the need here to break that connection, to separate the thinking from the doing.

Proposing a new idea should be rewarded rather than inhibited. 3) The creativity gap: we are all born with a great dose of creativity. The risk is that the more we specialise our studies the narrower our creativity becomes. As schooling (in recent years) focuses predominantly on educating specialised professionals, organisations lack employees fostering creative rather than incremental thinking.

The strategic design agenda for this year is becoming a catalyst beyond your specialisations, and the good news is that the two are not mutually exclusive.

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