What is Design Strategy?

What does the best product in your industry look like? What characteristics make it the best? Is it the hardware design, the software design, the packaging, the marketing, the sales approach and on boarding?

If you have ever thought about your own products and what it would take to make them the best in the industry - you are considering design strategy.  

Design Strategy is a discipline that mixes ideas from business, marketing and design to produce product outcomes that are intentional not accidental.

Design Strategy considers:

  • who should the product be for?
  • what product should be built?
  • what value will the product deliver?
  • how should the product be priced?
  • how should the product be positioned?
  • how should the product be sold?
  • how will the product integrate with other products?
  • how will we reach the target customer
  • etc

Design strategy considers these product facets simultaneously. Why tackle all of these questions at once? Wouldn't it be easier to tackle each facet independently? Couldn't each facet be tackled by a separate team? The problem with breaking down and separating the problem is simply that each facet is potentially interdependent. Decisions for one facet directly impact the others. Considering the options for one question may influence a response for another question. The question of what to build cannot be answered without considering who are the users and visa-versa. To tackle these questions holistically requires a new approach and some new techniques.  

What new techniques?  

The business model canvas is a great place to start. If you haven't heard of it or seen in action with a seasoned practitioner check out these links. The output of the business model canvas is a business model

Teaching the techniques of design strategy is too lengthy a subject for a simple blog post and does require some education, facilitation and mentoring for an organization to become proficient. Here are a few places to start learning:

Stanford Dschool - Bootcamp Bootleg

Exposing the Magic of Design - Jon Kolko

Please comment, I'd love to hear what you think.