Integrating Design and Strategy Practices: the Role of Designers in Strategy

Publication Type:
Conference Proceeding
Issue Date:
Full metadata record
We explore the integration of design into strategy practices with a particular focus on the role and value of designers in developing innovative strategies. Despite the growing recognition of design practices and particularly design thinking for fostering innovative strategies, we still need to learn more about how designers contribute to strategy and how the practices of designers and strategists relate. To address this, we conducted a qualitative study involving 19 strategic design practitioners and 14 strategists. Following a grounded theory methodology, we share emerging themes to develop a conceptual framework that explains the roles of designers in strategy practice and how they are involved in strategy formulation. Our analysis suggests that designers increasingly work in roles that place them at closer junctions with strategy practitioners and therefore see their work influencing strategy more frequently and differently. Even when firms follow traditional strategy-making approaches and designers' proximity to strategy practices is more distant, designers are valued in many ways. Designers are integrated into strategy work, for example, through communication, inspiring a human perspective on impending change and transformation, exploration and discovery of possibilities and identifying ‘levers’ for change. Another valuable perspective designers bring is human-centredness and systems thinking, allowing strategy problem-solving to be divergent and iterative. We discuss the implications of our findings for designers and strategists and identify avenues for further research into the merging of strategic management and design practice.
Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: