Design strategy

Design strategy is a discipline which helps firms determine what to make and do, why do it and how to innovate contextually, both immediately and over the long-term. This process involves the interplay between design and business strategy.

While not always required, design strategy often uses social research methods to help ground the results and mitigate the risk of any course of action. The approach has proved useful for companies in a variety of strategic scenarios.


Design strategy can play a role in helping to resolve the following common problems:


Many schools have pioneered the thinking that has contributed to the theory and practice of design strategy, most notably IIT Institute of Design which offers a Dual Degree program in which students receive both a Masters of Design and an MBA, The California College of the Arts' MBA in Design Strategy, Parsons School of Design MS in Strategic Design and Management, The Hochschule für Gestaltung Ulm (The Ulm School of Design: 1953-1968),[7][8] Centre for Design Management - The London Business School,[9][10] Stanford Joint Program in Design , [11] Strategic Product Design at Delft University of Technology[12] and the Institute without Boundaries at George Brown College, 2003. . Those in academia having a significant influence on the field include: Tomás Maldonado (1921- ) at Ulm,[7][8] Peter Gorb at The London Business School,[9][10] Jay Doblin and Patrick Whitney (1937–present) at IIT Institute of Design [13] and Rolf Fäste (1943-2003) at Stanford . 1994 onwards Naomi Gornick and David Walker MA Design Strategy & Innovation at Brunel University, UK.

It is important to note that traditional art and design schools typically will not offer programs based on strategy.


Several notable design-related consulting firms have made design strategy part of their overall practice.


  1. Duan. M., ″Getting jump on good ideas″, Silicon Valley / San Jose Business Journal, January 12, 2007.
  3. 1 2 Chung, K.; Freeze, K., “Design Strategy at Samsung Electronics: Becoming a Top-Tier Company″, Design Management Institute Case Study - Harvard Business School Publishing, 2008.
  4. 1 2 Krishnan, R.; Kumar, K., ″Capturing Value in Global Markets: The Case of Samsung Electronics″, SCMS Journal of Indian Management - Indian Institute of Management, October - December, 2005.
  5. 1 2 Buchanan, L., "From Cheap to WOW", Case Study, Thunderbird School of Global Management, 2005.
  6. 1 2 Chung, K.; Hardy, T.; So, S., ″Strategic Realization″ , Design Management Journal, Winter 2000.
  7. 1 2 Ulm School of Design | HfG Ulm Archive
  8. 1 2 Lindinger, H., (1991), Ulm Design: The Morality of Objects, Cambridge: The MIT Press.
  9. 1 2 Gorb, P., (1990) Design Management, London: Phaidon Press
  10. 1 2 ”Design Management”, Papers from the London Business School, London: Architecture & Technology Press, 1990.
  12. Bloomberg Businessweek, “World’s best design schools”, Bloomberg Businessweek.
  13. AIGA Biography, "Jay Doblin."
  14. Bortolot, Lana. "Designing a Better Office Space". Retrieved 26 July 2014.
  15. Pepitone, Sara. "Workplace Strategy In Design". Retrieved 24 May 2013.
  16. Ikenson, Ben. "Gensler's Secret Sauce". Retrieved June 2013. Check date values in: |access-date= (help)

See also

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