November 12th 2017

7 Guidelines for Designers to Become Involved in Strategy

7 Guidelines for Designers to Become Involved in Strategy

Design has a lot to offer the business world and if the power of design is ever going to be realised it requires us, designers, to build an equal partnership between decision makers and creators. Thought leadership and good communication skills are essential skillsets for the designer of the world.

The designer's skillset

To help take a step closer to this utopia are seven guidelines that can assist designers to realise the strategic significance of their role:

1 Be a thought leader

Thought leadership requires needs a clearly defined target audience. You should while doing your research a wide range of different audiences and create a strategic plan to prioritise the key ones. You need to be tough as you can't please everyone.

2. Be passionate

It's part of your job description, by getting under the skin of the subject matter and understand as much as you can, tie this back to the key audiences you have chosen and become a champion, dazzle your peers and stakeholders with a passionate researched approach.

3. Be thorough

Take the passion and drive this into doing as much research as possible, look at every direction and outcome narrow it down to the audiences and prepare a strategy.

4. Listen widely

You can't have all the answers, yes your passionate, yes you have done your research, now you need to influence your peers and stakeholders, get their input, let them share their thoughts, work holistically to the design and idea to the best it can be. Often ideas are left to one person, but listening to your whole team or different groups within the organisation helps unearth some gems which can help with your design approach.

5. Think the unthinkable 

Being a designer you often thought you are super creative, however, you need inspiration and using the previous 4 points can help germinate those truly crazy ideas into something breathe taking a design that breaks convention and truly inspires.

6. Win Friends

Unfortunately, many organisations are highly political and what may seem a logical design idea that makes perfect sense can fall on deaf ears if you haven't won the right people over. A key part of a designer skillset is to embrace key individuals who can amplify your passion and ideas, often you may have to approach people unlikely champions who can help the change happen within the organisation. Use your research and your thought leadership skills to help sale the concept and design idea to and then it should be easy to make the change.

7. Be flexible

So design strategies and ideas may seem amazing on paper but practical issues may get in the way of getting your design of change in place. There could be a sudden change in your target audience or cost implication which could mean you need to scale up or down. Don't say this is it, or nothing, use your design skills to change the initial concept and make changes where needed.

Designers bring energy to strategy, they find ways forward. They can enable their organisations to build competitive advantage. Remember for the most part everyone is doing the same, in the same environment, design can react to a changing environment and deliver value quickly, it can also radically change the direction of a business which can lead to a better culture and more importantly keep your organisation in the lead.

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