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What is Strategic Design?

What is Strategic Design?

Strategic Design is a renewed vision of design that takes the discipline out of its traditional fields of action to apply it to areas that seek to respond to the complex problems of the present since occupying the same type of thinking that was used to generate the structures, and Existing models of our society will not allow us to find comprehensive and sustainable responses to today’s new challenges (Brown, 2008; Cooper, Junginger, & Lockwood, 2009; Viladás, 2010).

It moves the distinctive approach from tangible product design to innovation management, which seeks to address organizational problems and produce people-centered transformations. The situations it faces do not necessarily require creating a product for sale but producing changes that generate value for all the stakeholders involved. Its ultimate goal is to become a sustainable competitive advantage that helps organizations prevail and distinguish themselves, not just survive, in today’s hyper-competitive marketplace.

What does the Concept of Strategic Design Refer to?

The design seeks to produce new or better versions of what already exists to improve people’s quality of life. It arises from identifying challenges that allow detection opportunities for improvement. The design responds with solutions that fulfill a specific function and are gratifying and significant for users and consumers. Look for solutions motivated by human needs, desires, preferences, and tastes but rooted in real possibilities. For a design to achieve its goal, it must be valuable and desirable for the user, consumer, and client, as well as salable and distributable, so that the public to which it is addressed can obtain it.

Why does Strategic Design Arise?

Globalization, economic instability, and constant technological changes create a highly changing and unstable environment for businesses. Today, companies must survive in markets characterized by hyper-competition, continuous changes in user need and desires, low consumer and customer loyalty, continuous demand for products and services at lower prices, and shorter times to develop new solutions. These conditions force organizations to seek to differentiate themselves from their competition through sustainable competitive advantages. However, its environmental conditions make these sustainable competitive advantages increasingly difficult to find and maintain. The tangible assets of companies are no longer enough to stand out, so innovation becomes essential; it allows organizations to adapt and modify their competitive advantages in response to environmental changes.

What Qualities should a Strategic Designer Possess?

Executive / Strategic

The executive side of design focuses on executing ideas to transform them into tangible results that fulfill a specific function that satisfies a particular need or want.

The strategic side of design focuses on solving problems and planning and managing the resources needed to devise, execute, implement, and evaluate the solutions produced.

Network Vision

Given that many of today’s challenges come from complex networks of interconnected problems, this disciplinary mix allows situations to be analyzed from a more significant number of perspectives, increasing the possibilities of finding more viable and sustainable answers to questions.

It is why strategic design nourish by a network of connections and globalized dynamics, where the concepts and events of the project converge: bureaucracy, economy, corporations, identities, research, teaching, consumption, and objects. , the subject. It is becoming more like thought equipped to pose questions and interact, knowing what is known and what is unknown.

Problem Architect

Strategic Design seeks to solve complex problems and wicked problems (known as wicked problems in English).

Complex problems are those that clearly define, but there is no consensus on what is the best solution to solve them. Wicked problems are unique, usually large-scale, social/cultural problems that arise from multiple interrelated situations and do not have a definitive answer. Their systemic nature means that any solution applied to them has both positive and negative consequences on the different elements that compose them, for which there are no correct or incorrect solutions to solve them.

Strategic Design within the Organization

Strategic Design uses design strategically rather than tactically by intentionally applying design thinking, processes, and tools to business activities. Integrating Strategic Design at all levels of the organization makes it possible to create a sustainable system for innovation that align with the institutional strategy and operational processes, helping to transform new ideas into practical and attractive results that generate value for the organization as well as for the rest of the organization. The user and its various stakeholders

Strategic Design as a Process

Strategic Design seeks to incorporate, from the beginning, in all the key stages of a project to facilitate a more critical and comprehensive questioning that helps define the root problem that must solve and to motivate constant experimentation and visualization of ideas, reducing risks. And increasing the viability and functionality of the solutions

Strategic Design as an Enhancer of the Customer Experience.

Strategic Design offers a vision focused on people and a process that allows responding to the new profile of the user/consumer and finding new business opportunities in their needs and desires that not yet satisfies by the current offer. This new user/consumer better inform and seeks more individualized products, services, and experiences, but at a lower price, that improve their quality of life. The user-centered process that follows this discipline seeks to understand the company from the user’s point of view; sees the user as an integral being who does, thinks, and feels around the activity of interest;

This deep understanding of the user makes it easy to understand that a variety of users must answer, helping to diversify the products and services offered, open new categories of products and services, and create new market niches.

It is about understanding the user/consumer as an integral being who does, thinks, and feels around the activity of the Experience provided by the company.

The understanding of the Experience as a network of interactions, channels, and actors that interrelate with each other over a given period (customer journey), allows you to navigate within it as a system


Strategic Design is an integrative discipline that fuses the insights and viewpoints of design, strategy, and social science research to help organizations tackle complex and wicked problems. His search for integrative thinking and systemic understanding of problems offers organizations a new path to promote and also enhance innovation. Its people-centered vision and flexible and iterative processes help produce practical and attractive results that generate value for the user/consumer, the company, and its stakeholders, thus enhancing their overall Experience.

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