Page 1


2.3 Using co-creation for strategic purposes


2.4 Combining prototypes and co-creation:


rapid co-creation at Philips Design 2.5 Conclusion

Chapter 0 Introduction


Giulia Calabretta (Delft University of Technology), Gerda Gemser


(RMIT University), Ingo Karpen (RMIT University)

0.1 The increasing importance of strategic




0.2 What is strategic design?


Chapter 3 – Designing Transitions: Pivoting Complex Innovation

0.3 Structure of the book


Merijn Hillen (Fabrique), Jeroen van Erp (Fabrique), Giulia



Calabretta (Delft University of Technology)


3.1 Introduction



3.2 Assessing the circumstances: shared


vision and ownership

Chapter 1 – Design Vision as Strategy: The KLM Crew Centre Case Study


3.3 Four types of projects, four types of



Roald Hoope (Reframing Studio, Amsterdam), Paul Hekkert (Delft

3.4 Conclusion



University of Technology)

1.1 Introduction


1.2 Vision creation – an overview


1.3 Vision creation – a closer look


Chapter 4 – Creating Process Understanding: Design Practices and Abilities

1.4 Conclusion


Kasia Tabeau (Delft University of Technology), Gerda Gemser

Chapter 2 – Co-creating and Prototyping to Trigger Innovative Thinking and Doing


(RMIT University), Jos Oberdorf (npk design)

4.1 Introduction


4.2 Practices supporting process



Giulia Calabretta (Delft University of Technology), Paul Gardien

4.3 Abilities needed to support process

(Philips Design)

2.1 Introduction


2.2 Using visual and material artefacts for


strategic purposes


understanding 4.4 Case studies


4.5 Conclusion



7.3 Step 1 – Setting up the business casing


7.4 Step 2 – Developing and documenting

Chapter 5 – Aligning Organizations through Customer Stories






assumptions 7.5 Step 3 – Co-creation of the business case,


assumptions and solutions

Marzia Aricò (Livework), Melvin Brand Flu (Livework)

5.1 Introduction


5.2 Principle #1: Nail the customer story


5.3 Principle #2: Translate the story across


7.6 Step 4 – Identifying key sensitivities for


the implementation phase 7.7 Step 5 – Evaluate success of the design

different business units



5.4 Principle #3: Design for multispeed impact


5.5 Conclusion


Chapter 6 – Designing for Feasibility


7.8 Conclusion


Chapter 8 – Lasting Design Impact Through Capacity Building


Gerda Gemser (RMIT University), Blair Kuys (Swinburne

Ingo Karpen (RMIT University), Onno van der Veen (Ideate), Yoko

University), Opher Yom-Tov (Innovation advisor, start-up

Akama (RMIT University)

8.1 Introduction


6.1 Introduction


8.2 Design principles


6.2 A framework to assess feasibility


8.3 Leveraging and embedding the design


6.3 Case studies


6.4 Conclusion


cofounder, AirShr)

principles in the client organization: Designers as coaches 8.4 Transformational design and cultural


Chapter 7 – Making it Count: Linking Design and Viability





8.5 Conclusion


Chapter 9 - Conclusion


Giulia Calabretta (Delft University of Technology), Gerda Gemser

Nermin Azabagic (Independent strategist), Ingo Karpen (RMIT

(RMIT University), Ingo Karpen (RMIT University)

9.1 Strategic designers: Capital T-shaped


7.1 Introduction


7.2 Strategic design viability model



professionals 9.2 Three-step approach for strategic design




GIULIA CALABRETTA Delft University of Technology GERDA GEMSER RMIT University INGO KARPEN RMIT University


0.1 The increasing importance of strategic design

The scope and influence of design

spring to mind. Organizations like

is expanding rapidly these days.

SAP and Microsoft are using design

Organizations are increasingly adopting

methods and practices to transform

a design approach to define and

their product/feature-focused cultures

implement their innovation strategies,

into user-centered ones. And global

using design to leverage organizational

business consultancies like McKinsey

transformations, and even embracing

and Accenture have recently begun to

design principles as the overarching

acquire entire design agencies to better

philosophy that guides their entire

serve design-driven client needs. Even

organization. There are more and more

entrepreneurship is bonding with design,

Chief Design Officers (CDOs) leading

as start-up unicorns like Airbnb are not

innovation activities and fueling internal

only being founded by designers, but

design culture – Apple’s Jonathan Ive

make design principles the core of their

and PepsiCo’s Mauro Porcini immediately

offering and growth strategy.



Setting the objectives of a strategic design project 18


Figure 1.2: A section of the KLM crew centre at Schiphol before the project started

the closest thing to an office that they

its benefits. Once “tuned into” each

have. And the familiar faces of the people

other, the crew could reach an optimal

‘It spans three floors of an office building

that work there are one of the few stable

performance level. However, familiarity

at KLM’s hub, Schiphol Airport. The

factors in their working life.’

can tend to blur the boundaries between

Describe the KLM crew centre.

airline employs roughly twelve thousand flying personnel, including flight

professional roles, and some behavioral Why do they form new crews for every flight?

attendants and pilots. These people do

patterns are formed which can serve as a disadvantage to overall team

not work regular hours. A lot of them

‘KLM sees this as the most efficient

work part-time, and work a flight once

way to run a very complex organization.

every one or two weeks. Staff rarely work

Manning tens of thousands of flights

‘Crew performance is influenced by a

with the same colleagues. New crews are

each year is a logistical feat of gargantuan

complex interplay of factors. For example,

formed for every flight, so it's not often

proportions. Keeping crews together

passenger satisfaction survey results

that you see your colleagues more than

would only make things more complex.

show that passengers are slightly less

once in your career. The crew centre is

But flying with a regular crew also has

satisfied with the crew on return flights.



Can this dissatisfaction be attributed to

actually quite attached to their own little

leave quite a margin to be safe. They

the “role blurring” as described above,

pigeon hole.’

arrive early, and have extra time to spend. They have coffee, make small talk or talk

or to the different mix of passengers on homebound flights, or can it be explained

‘There are two main user groups, each

to their loved ones on the phone before

by the fact that nighttime departures

of which observes a slightly different

heading out.’

occur more often at airports other than

set of pre-flight routines. The cabin

the hub? We know that crew performance

crew, consisting of flight attendants and

Do you remember what KLM asked you?

has a significant effect on passenger

pursers, goes to one of the briefing rooms

What was the briefing you got from them?

satisfaction, so that is all the more reason

for a flight briefing. This is the first

to study the interplay of these elements

time that the people who are going to fly

‘When we got involved, KLM had already


together will have met. Over the course

started a project aimed at improving the

of twenty minutes, the cabin crew learns

crew centre. They were determined to

about passengers with special needs and

involve the users – the crew – from the

new safety procedures – anything out of

very start. This meant organizing several

‘A lot of practical things take place. Crew

the ordinary really. After the pre-flight

co-creation sessions. The marketing

members need to check in, and then

briefing, the crew jointly exit the crew

and branding department also had

they usually drop off their hold luggage.

station and head for the gate.’

several ideas for improvements, as did

What happens at the crew centre, exactly?

the company responsible for facilities

Because crew members get a daily allowance for each layover day, there are

‘The cockpit crew, consisting of pilots and

management. So at one point there were

also ATM machines they visit to withdraw

co-pilots, has their own space to prepare

literally a hundred ideas that had come

cash in various currencies.’

for the flight. Together, they calculate

from multiple directions. Around that

how much fuel to load, check the latest

time, the project became known as the

‘Staff members are on hand to solve

weather reports, and plot the safest

“Moodstreet project”. We got involved

urgent problems on the spot – from

route. They have usually finished their

some time after that.’

expired passports to troubles at home.

preparation once the cabin crew arrives.’

Crew members can check the roster,

“Moodstreet”? That sounds interesting.

and request changes. Each of the

‘These are largely procedural issues.

twelve thousand employees has their

But there is also a lot of socializing and

‘Let me briefly explain what it means.

own personal post box, used to spread

waiting going on. Check-in time is ninety

Imagine you are a flight attendant getting

internal memos and other corporate

minutes before the flight, but lateness

ready for work, a process that takes

communications. Some employees are

cannot be tolerated, so the crew usually

several steps. You may start your day in


crew performance in 2019 context factors

jogging pants, looking all scruffy. But at

that, you pack, get dressed and head out the door. At Schiphol you begin to feel

your colleagues and start to get a feel for what's going on in the air, what’s in

Just like the armed forces, airlines are traditionally organized in a hierarchical manner. This mode of organization is well suited to safely run a logistical operation of such immense size and complexity. Each crewmember has a clear-cut role and immediate superior. Their usually derive their authority from their experience, their flight hours.

As a crewmember you work in an enclosed space in front of hundreds of people, who are all invisibly connected to hundreds of more friends and followers. Large interests are at stake because your behavior ultimately reflects on the airline. What if the person you denied an upgrade to feel she has been unfairly treated and shares this with all her followers?

shave or put on some make-up. After

more KLM blue around you. You meet



some point you freshen up, do your hair,

the buzz of the airport. There is more and

27 a hierarchical

33 vulnerability in social

/ rgg s/org s/ s/o


developments evelopments

states t

When a factor concerns a phenomenon that is currently changing, or one that is expected to change in the near future, it is called a development.

A state is a surrounding world condition that will probably not change in the near future, but does not have to be necessarily fixed. States are (or appear to be) relatively stable at the moment of observation.

52 flight preparation to

store for this particular flight. Remember

66 giving context lead



Aspects of the cockpit-crew’s flight preparation are shifting from the crew center to the cockpit. Considering that the cockpit is not always available some of the preparations will always take place on the ground.

that KLM is a full-service carrier – you are expected to be your best self when interacting with passengers. This means getting into the right mood. Comparable


p/psy p/p p/ sy

s to

Passengers generally have no clue of the complexity of the logistics involved in managing thousands flights a day. A twenty-minute delay is experienced as ‘a bad job’ if you don’t know what caused it. The same delay is unders tandable when you hear that it’s a foggy day, and there are over twenty planes flying a holding pattern over the airport . People are more understanding when they get the context.

to going through a car wash, called a

ttrends rends

incipes principes

“wash-street” in Dutch – so, “mood-

A special class of developments is constituted by factors concerning tendencies in the behaviour, values, or preferences of (groups of) people. Such developments we often specify as trends.

Principles are factors that are, by their unvarying nature, constant over longer (and longer) periods of time. The term refers to immutable laws or general patterns that can be found in human beings or nature.

street”, there you have it.’ In the end, what was the brief that Reframing Studio got?

Figure 1.3: Examples of four different types of context factors, all obtained from interviews with experts at KLM

‘Well the team was struggling with

Including higher management. This is

them determine an idea’s relevance,

decision-making. They were in need

exactly why we typically use Reframing –

and discern the “good” ideas from the

of arguments that would impact their

to ensure that we have a clear and future-

“bad” ones. They were also open to the

choosing one decision over another.’

proof notion of the reasons that prompted

possibility that their idea generation may

the design. And we then use it to make

not have been exhaustive, despite the

‘For big projects with massive numbers

sure that the reason – the “why” – is

huge number of ideas they already had.

of stakeholders, sound arguments keep

aligned with the “how” and the “what”’.

So the project team asked us to help them develop a framework they could use to

everyone on board. They wanted to be able to demonstrate the value of the

‘KLM needed a new frame of reference

“mood-street” to everyone involved.

for their ideas – a vision that could help


move forward.’

driving force 1 Swift trust in Swift Starting Action Teams KLM crewmembers are very good at quickly forming tightly nit teams. They have no prior experience with one another and must perform their task almost immediately upon formation. In research literature these teams are called Swift Starting Action Teams (STATs) and ‘swift trust’ plays a crucial role in the proper functioning of these teams. Swift trust is forwarded trust; a high level of trust is assumed initially, despite the premature nature of the relationship. Only later the level of trust is verified and adjusted if needed. Swift trust occurs when team members are aligned ‘a priori’. Explicitly through clearly defined roles and responsibilities of individual team members, and implicitly through a rich company culture, strong group norms and habits and similar backgrounds in education. This shared language forms a solid basis for cooperation.Swift trust needs to occur in just the right amount. Too much of it can cause complacency and a lack of mutual monitoring. Too little can lead to conflict.

77 personal in a flash Crewmembers are often quick to share very personal information with each other. By the time the first serving is over they are sharing subject matter usually reserved for close friends only.

13 from ‘forming’ straight


p/socc p/so

one big family The strong bond between crewmembers is very much unique to KLM. If you’re in a hotel abroad and you overhear people who work for KLM you’re instant friends. That goes without saying. All KLM employees belong to the same family.

to ‘performing’

Instead of going through all stages of group formation the crew seems to skip ‘norming’ and ‘storming’ to move straight from ‘forming’ to ‘performing’. In reality a crew probably goes through these stages very quickly during the briefing. The groundwork was laid in the context of training. And the roles and responsibilities are predetermined.

ng crew-

y bondi 10 rapidl members

o carry around phot People used to have their smartphones they folders. Now digitally. their loved ones learn and can show ys take time to But they will alwa Technology won’t es. each other’s stori ss is sharing proce change that. This ing a bond which hapcreat about quickly cular. buddies in parti pens between

p c p/so p/

07 from individual to team Within the twenty-minute time frame of the briefing a group of individuals is transformed into a team. After the briefing one can usually witness an instant expression of collegiality and traveling tips and such are exchanged. Sometimes people gravitate towards each other to from friendly duos.


55 empathy by familiarizing

The people on the ground with desk jobs, the organizational staff, they regularly fly on ‘familiarization flights’. On these flights they work alongside the regular crew. This keeps them familiar with current processes and also increases their sensitivity towards the needs of flying personnel.

25 super fast team building

Crew-members are capable of quickly forming a tightly knit team with unfamiliar colleagues. The collegiality is present instantly.


32 the first face-to-face The first meeting between crewmembers and pursers, the moment they first make eye-contact, is an important aspect of the flight preparation. A purser is put at ease once he has seen each member of his crew. Crewmembers instantly sense if something is the matter.

08 difference between cabin- and cockpit-crew

p c p/so

Apart from the excellent collaboration and collegiality, the cabin-crew and cockpit-crew are still two different groups, with each its own culture. This is due to their particular backgrounds and education, the natures of the jobs, the operational structure and hierarchies, and the lack of familiarity with each other jobs.

56 partner crews don’t mix

The logistical and financial processes of partner airlines are well-integrated. We fill each others planes and together we provide a seamless worldwide network. But we remain to be separate operators. The whole operational side, looking from the perspective of the cockpit and the cabin, that side doesn’t mix.

p/socc p/so

/o g s/or s/

Figure 1.4: Example of a cluster of ten factors which describes a phenomenon that influences human behavior in the domain of

Additional sources; ‘crewWildman performance in 2019’ in Swift Starting Action Teams: A multilevel framework, 2012 Jessica et al, Trust development

How did KLM’s needs translate to the ViP/

crew member – a typical brief. We start

because a few of the current issues had

Reframing methodology?

out with a domain and a scope and get to

bogged them down.’

work.’ ‘KLM asked us to develop a future vision

‘Consider, for example, those 12,000

of the domain of “crew performance”

Do you formulate a domain and scope

post boxes, and the spatial and practical

with a five year scope. They wanted us

together with the client?

logistics involved in maintaining them.

to tell them what the crew centre would

Although crew members had an almost

mean to the crew. So we needed to look

‘Yes, we do – especially the scope. We

fanatical attachment to them, the

at the domain from the perspective of a

suggested looking far into the future,

existence of present-day technological


Visualizations, prototypes and their related practices are highly effective ways to develop strategic projects and call organizations to action. That effectiveness can be maximised if the designer keeps the following four features in mind: 1.

Keep it simple. Strategic visualizations are intended to make an uncertain future more approachable. Thus, any new technologies, early prototypes and potential new market scenarios should be presented using simple representations that depict essential information. Designers should not aim to showcase their drawing skills, but rather to spark the imaginations of relevant stakeholders.


Leave it incomplete. If the aim is to solicit feedback and inspire action, undeveloped or incomplete visuals might – surprisingly – be what is required (see Figure 2.1). For instance, presenting a customer

Figure 2.1: Using incomplete visuals to solicit feedback and inspire action


journey map that has only been sketched out, which stakeholders are invited to complete with their own first-hand observations of user behaviours will better serve a strategic purpose than a full-scale customer journey where designers have filled in all the blanks – including new business directions. Also, detailed visualizations trigger detailed questions that are not yet relevant in the early stages of a project. On the other hand, conceptual visualizations trigger general observations about the overall idea. Moreover, if the visualization is too detailed, some stakeholders may assume that the general idea has already been fixed, and fail to see how their contributions matter. 3.

Plan the making process. The process of creating a visual or material artefact together with a stakeholder Figure 2.2: An intermediate step in the making of INK visuals






company and eventually to other players


fostering of a designerly mindset and employing designerly modes of work have emerged as particularly suitable ways to ignite and consolidate change, given their ability to reduce perceived risks and make unconventional and unexpected futures approachable and even engaging. Design has created a framework, dubbed


in the ecosystem. Design methods, the

Create Enable

‘Co-creating Innovation’, and developed a method within it, which we call the ‘Rapid Co-Creation approach’, to help

Figure 2.3: Philips’ Co-creating innovation framework

us move forward. The Co-creating Innovation framework focuses on creating

The framework starts with a position

(the create stage), as only through

meaningful propositions for business

stage, where different stakeholders

experimentation and fast iterations can

opportunities in the ecosystem and,

identify relevant business opportunities

Philips really understand whether a

through an iterative process, enabling the

and derive meaningful propositions

proposition is truly relevant to people,

company to improve and implement those

to iterate on. Research findings from

technically feasible and viable for our

propositions. The Rapid Co-Creation

different sources and different methods,

business. In order to be carried out

(RCC) approach aims at accelerating

together with knowledge of current

effectively, RCC needs to be supported

acceptance and implementation by

products and services and understanding

by an infrastructure that enables the

translating the proposition into a

of company resources, assets and

realization of the prototype, and any

prototype and iterating on it. (Calabretta

capabilities drive the positioning stage

technical iterations it has (the enable

and Perez, 2014). The Co-creating

and the creation of the proposition.

stage). Such infrastructure includes,

Innovation framework is visualized in

Propositions are then regarded as

for instance, IT systems, hardware and

Figure 2.3.

hypotheses to be tested through RCC

software components and even privacy


policies. Given the iterative and nonPrototype

linear nature of co-creation, the three

design build test

stages run simultaneously. In parallel to them, the empower aspect creates support within the company for design-driven cocreation, and design thinking in general, by conducting training courses on RCC that are open to everyone – especially to


people who do not belong to the Design community. This activity is fundamental

u s 3 ho ay 3d k ee t 3w on 3m

prototypes that may come out of the RCC approach. Within the Co-creation Innovation framework, RCC is one of our core methods (see Figure 2.4) RCC best exemplifies the inspiring power of combining prototypes – strategic



to increasing the odds of a ‘soft landing’ for the innovative propositions and

Frame rs

Technology & science Company




Society & culture


Relevance Feasibility


Experience context People

Figure 2.4: Philips’ Rapid Co-Creation approach

visualizations – with a co-creative approach. Different internal and external

on design thinking as developed by a

renovated and upgraded these approaches

stakeholders are involved throughout

number of eminent design companies and

in order to make them work within the

the process, generating enthusiasm

professionals, but for a large company

Philips context.

and commitment for the innovation

with a manufacturing tradition it can be

outcome and its implementation. The

regarded as radical. Thus, Philips – and

Design started RCC in 2009, initially

RCC approach is not novel – it is based

Design – is exemplar in the way it has

with the aim of establishing a structured



direction. However, it is difficult to

research should accompany the entire

the subject of ongoing debate. There

combine the neutrality that effective

process, and cover different aspects.

needs to be a balance between what

facilitation requires with designers’

Early stages (preparation and frame)

is needed to get the right feedback at

own expertise in desirability. As

should be focused on understanding

a particular stage in the process, and

it is important that the ‘people

the company and how the outcome

a level of clarity and completeness

perspective’ is well represented, the

of RCC will fit within the existing

that both inspires stakeholders and

designer-facilitator might show a

product portfolio, brand, capabilities

makes them confident in taking

degree of bias – or be seen as biased

and assets. Furthermore, user research


– their commitment to represent

on the lifestyle domains for which

the users may unconsciously steer

RCC will develop solutions is also

As we, as a society, move towards

the team towards solutions that

important. For instance, if the aim

more systemic and volatile problems

might overemphasize desirability

of RCC is to develop a proposition for

and solutions, the ability to visualize

at the expense of feasibility and

monitoring and improving individual

preferable future directions and to

viability. For co-creation and RCC

lifestyle habits, then gaining in-depth

develop them quickly, iteratively and

to be successful, different designers

scientific and user knowledge on

with a firm end-user focus to ensure

with different roles should be present

topics like sleep and lifestyle change

that people will recognize and adopt the

– some should lead and facilitate co-

improves the team’s prototyping

solutions is of utmost importance. Design

creation, some others should focus

and reflecting capabilities. The level

and design thinking have a key role to

on desirability of the solutions, and

of research depth and specificity

play in developing these solutions, but in

perhaps some others could take care

increases all along the process, and

order to deliver on this promise we need

of the visualizing processes, activities

may even lead to involving specific

to embed them well in every organization.

and outcomes.

knowledge experts in the co-creation

The proper use of visualization techniques

Research should be conducted throughout


and co-creation methods plays a key role

Designers should be able to assess the

in developing sustainable solutions that

the risks of RCC is that the emphasis

required prototyping fidelity levels.

have the confidence of many stakeholders

on speed might make the innovation

The ideal level of ‘visualization’ to

and meet the challenges of today and

efforts too shallow. To prevent that,

present to users and stakeholders is


the process as a parallel activity. one of



About the authors


Management (Norway).

Professor in Strategic Value of Design

the innovation strategy and processes of companies. Additionally, she is interested

at the Faculty of Industrial Design

Giulia believes that design and design

in what makes a great Chief Design

Engineering, Delft University of

practices are the right way to go for

Officer and why each company (and

Technology. Giulia has a marketing

making companies more innovative in

institution) should have one.

background, as she got her Master’s

their DNA and preparing them for the

Degree in Management and Marketing

behavioral, technological and cultural

Her research has been published in such

at Bocconi University (Italy). She also

revolutions of the future. So her current

journals as Organization Studies, Journal of

holds a PhD in Management Science from

research focus is on understanding how

Product Innovation Management, Journal of

ESADE Business School (Spain) and a

design practices and capabilities can be

Business Ethics, Journal of Service Theory and

Post Doc from BI Norwegian School of

effectively and permanently integrated in

Practice, Journal of Service Management.



Configuring a strategic design project 66


political enabler

Type 1 – The political enabler

Characteristics: strong ownership /

This quadrant houses strategic design

the smooth and timely execution of the

diffuse vision

projects characterized by strong

strategic design project.

Main challenges: lack of widespread

innovation, but whose vision is diffused.

In this context, design professionals can

These are projects where there are

act as political enablers, by identifying

organizational stakeholders

multiple ambitions to satisfy and differing

the key objectives, key stakeholders and

opinions about which direction to take

key expertise needed for the successful

Leadership goals: create a vision

– resulting in the lack of a common,

completion of the project, and facilitating

unifying vision, or in a vision that is an

their convergence towards a common

throughout the organization

inappropriate fit for the desired goal.

vision. Convincing a client or an

There is a need to combine different areas

organization to rethink their vision is, in

Needed team: guru thought leader(s)

of expertise and a variety of departmental

most cases, not very welcome news. The

interests – often resulting in a state of

design team needs to act as a thoughtful,

overwhelming complexity that hinders

careful and trustworthy unit.

Main characteristics of the

understanding and support from

that inspires enthusiasm

and a strongly motivated team

ownership and organizational support for

Figure 3.3: A screenshot of the Allerhande app


Case: Allerhande, a cooking app for Albert Heijn

owner who championed the project within

nurture and develop the application

the team and the entire organization, so

as part of their customer touchpoint

much so that the whole design team was


willing to exert extra effort and make it work.

Take-away As the example shows, the team of

Context Albert Heijn – the Netherland’s leading


designers played the role of political

food retailer, and renowned for the

Through a series of creative workshops

enablers by using creative facilitation

momentum of their innovation – asked

with product owners, Albert Heijn

techniques to distil a vision that united

Fabrique to co-build a cooking app for

and Allerhande brand managers and

different parties and stakeholders within

Allerhande, one of their sub-brands.

content managers from a media agency,

the company. There is no strict way to

Since 1956, Albert Heijn has published

Fabrique designers used their creative

handle this. Designers could use vision

a free print magazine about food and

facilitation skills to collaboratively

creation tools like ‘ViP’ (Hekkert and

cooking, where the company’s vision and

develop a solid project vision that defined

Van Dijk, 2011; see also Chapter 1) or

brand statement is also broadcast clearly

where the product would go and how

‘frame creation’ (Dorst, 2015) to get

and distinctively. The magazine’s role

the team would get there. The team

key stakeholders around the table and

and purpose – its vision and branding

created an ‘interaction vision’ and a

moderate the discussion in a way that

attributes – were commonly understood

plan to implement an agile development

any conflicts of interest would be openly

and accepted across the company. At

environment within the company

addressed and dissolved, which makes

the start of this project, however, it

where all parties involved could better

room for a common vision to emerge. In

became clear that there was no previously

understand the vision and contribute

any situation, it’s important to make sure

defined vision of the kind of digital

to the app’s development. The app was

the vision is shared by all the relevant

experience they wanted the cooking app

launched in October 2014, and became a

people and departments in the company,

to deliver, and how the app would fit

huge success (see Figure 3.3). Thanks to

since the designer’s aim is to move to

into the overarching company vision.

the strong and coherent vision behind it,

quadrant 2.

Nevertheless, there was a great product

Albert Heijn has been able to maintain,


Figure 3.6: The new visual identity for NMM


circumstances and eventual need to

essential part of moving a type 3 project

In type 3 projects, there is a high risk

confer responsibility onto those with

into a type 2 or 4. This skill therefore

of project failure. The NMM case shows

greater expertise. Being brave enough to

asks for a senior designer who shows

however, that catastrophe can be warded

perceive professional shortcomings and

authority and has excellent reflective and

off by developing awareness of the

confront clients/stakeholders is the most

confrontational skills.


Main characteristics of the coaching leader Characteristics: weak ownership / shared vision Main challenges: risk of losing project value after implementation, if the organization is not yet ready to ‘nourish and nurture’ novel changes Leadership goals: create awareness of what is needed after the project is implemented Needed team members: a coaching leader with sensitivity for operations

Type 4 –The coaching leader In this quadrant there is a clear vision.

employ to simplify this kind of process

However, although the direction the

consists of coaching organizations

innovation needs to take may be evident,

in project implementation, which

the organization is not ready for it.

progressively creates ownership. Thus,

There is no ownership, there is often no

design professionals should take the

budget and the organization is unaware

lead in executing the project according

of or does not have enough ambition

to the vision, and at the same time teach

to implement new products and/or

the organization the necessary tools,

services. Thus the complexity resides in

methods and principles. (For more on

the implementation, rather than in the

this, please refer to Chapter 8.) The

conception of the design. The type of

vision acts as a driving force for creating

leadership that design professionals can



In this chapter, we report our findings

prototyping and production support. We

from a study of the working methods

present, in depth, two innovation projects

of Dutch design consultancy npk design,

that were completed by this design

to illustrate the kinds of practices

agency (See boxes 1 and 2).

that help designers to create process understanding. npk design is a recognized

npk design divides the innovation process

Dutch design consultancy that manages

into three phases: strategy, design and

the entire development process from

realization. The strategy phase focuses

strategy and ideation to engineering,

on defining the problem that will be


solved in the project as well as exploring

Finally, in the realization phase, the

the context in which the solution for

engineered solution is produced. In

that problem will be introduced. The

this final phase, npk design guides the

strategy phase ends with a design brief

production of the solution developed for

that describes the solution space. Ideas

its organizations. The role of npk design in

for the solution are developed in the

realizing the solution ends when the first

design phase, after which a selected idea

series of the solution is delivered.

is prototyped, tested and engineered.




Aligning the Organization through Customer Stories

5.1 Introduction

The business world is slowly waking up

– they may sometimes be trained to

to the incredible potential design has

perceive what is technically feasible, but

to achieve impact for customers and

very often have a limited understanding

organizations. Organizations are realizing

of what creates business value, and

that traditional ways of solving business

most importantly, how to navigate the

challenges – process improvements,

organizational maze of politics, policies,

automation – do not lead to tangible

processes, procedures and practices.

benefits beyond a certain point. Design

The deficiency of their understanding

disciplines such as strategic design

becomes strikingly apparent during the

and service design, as well as methods

design of new services, that, in order

like co-creation and customer journey

to be delivered, necessarily depend

mapping, offer alternative solutions that

upon the coordination of a number of

question the assumptions that subtend

different departments, and often require

a problem, reframe the challenge and

organizations to effect changes to the

ultimately point towards unexpected

operations that structure these domains.


Failing to take into consideration existing organizational structure during the design

Yet this shiny façade of growing

stage will certainly mean failure at the

possibilities for design practice hides a

service implementation phase.

much darker, more chaotic situation. Designers are trained to operate at the

Over our last 16 years at Livework, we

edge of business development, and

have experienced all of this first hand.

thus many of them lack a profound

Livework is one of the first service design

understanding of how organizations

agencies in the world. Since very early in

operate day to day. Designers are often

its inception, agency founders Lavrans

trained to explore and make sense of what

Løvlie and Ben Reason have been shaping

organizations say they need and expect

the discipline and practice of what is



today called ‘Service Design’ from the

reflection on the journey made so far. It

outcome we produce is aligned with

ground up. In 2012, new partner Melvin

contains some of Livework’s most central

the client, the client’s business and the

Brand Flu joined the venture. Melvin is

insights, with the conviction that these

client organization. Therefore, by using

not a designer, but a professional with a

will be useful and relevant for strategic

these three principles in practice, our

business consulting background. Joining

designers struggling to be effective in the

designers are able to obtain and utilize a

together a business perspective with a

context of their client organizations.

profound understanding of a given context

designerly one has enabled Livework to

– the combination of an organization’s

address organizational development that

Three principles actively drive our work.

needs, wants and expectations, plus

is increasingly strategic in nature, and

These are Nail the Customer Story, Translate

their business drivers and capabilities.

served to further professionalise their

the Story Across Different Business Units,

Articulating this understanding can enable

inter-organizational relationships.

and Design for Multispeed Impact (Figure

design professionals to clearly perceive

5.1). The three principles together seek

the organizational context in which they

to ensure that any strategic design

are operating, and will ultimately present

This chapter is the result of a deep

Principle #1

Principle #2

Principle #3

Nail the customer story

Translate the customer story

Design for multispeed impact




Agile solutions


Robus solutions

Operations IT

Figure 5.1: Three principles for aligning the organization




Learn Figure 6.9: A lean start-up approach

The AirShr founders applied a very

It would have been very difficult to

As the AirShr co-founders embarked on

simple iterative approach to design and

predict these requirements up front.

this journey, they knew what they wanted to achieve. However, they did not know

development, the so-called ‘lean’ startup approach (see Figure 6.9). In each

Feasibility questions asked in every

how they were going to achieve it – they

iteration, they defined what they wanted


had no idea of its ultimate feasibility.

to achieve. Then they would build a

Does the technology deliver our user

Although they encountered many

experience targets?

technology and workflow roadblocks

Are we getting the right data from

along the way, the multidisciplinary

the radio station?

team’s shared vision and focus ensured

Can the radio station cope with the

that they worked together to find a

additional workflow?

solution to each problem.

version of the technology and test it with listeners and radio staff to identify issues

and insights, which they applied to the next revision. This approach helped them to rapidly uncover and address technical

and workflow (feasibility) requirements.


1. Listener test

2. Proof of concept

3. Regional pilot

4. Metropolitan launch

A basic voice recorder app to

The radio data was faked by

Working closely with a small

The insights from the pilot enabled

measure how often listeners hear

manually entering it. This was

regional radio station, AirShr

AirShr to integrate with a much

something on the radio that they

sufficient to sell the service into a

successfully integrated data and

larger metropolitan radio network

want to remember. Testers kept this

regional radio station who would

aligned to its workflow. Various

with much more sophisticated

app open while driving, and tapped

conduct the pilot.

methods of promoting AirShr on-air

technology. The larger station

the button whenever they heard

were tested to attract listeners to

presented a new set of technical and

something they wanted to keep.

the platform.

workflow challenges.


7.2 Strategic Design Viability model

What a ‘viable’ strategic design solution

(as seen in Figure 7.1 below, in

is will naturally depend on the individual

the ‘Deliver’ stage). Because the

circumstances of an organization and

solution is attractive to customers

the solution proposed. However, general

and seemingly makes sense to

principles can be applied, in that any

everyone, its viability is often taken

design solution should aim to relate to a

for granted. This can be problematic,

genuine (strategic) business opportunity

for example, because the market

or challenge, generate value in relation

segment targeted may not be

to the business opportunity or challenge,

large enough to meet the firm’s

and be implemented and recognized as

business objectives, or the price that

‘successful’ by the organization and its

customers are actually willing to pay

key stakeholders.

may be much lower than anticipated. •

The implementation context might

First, let’s start by examining what may

not be sufficiently considered. This

be problematic in design projects:

leads to challenges realizing the

Business objectives are ill defined.

solution, and measures are not in

Management has an idea about what

place to monitor how the solution

they would like to do, but no specific

meets key financial milestones.

or meaningful success measures are

set, which may result in difficulty

The key tool to manage the viability of

determining the impact of the design

a strategic design initiative is a business

solution on ‘hard’ financial metrics.

case. Simply defined, a business case is a

Designers will explore the problem

justification for a proposed undertaking

and potential solutions until they

on the basis of its expected commercial

find one that they believe is well

benefit. Business casing typically involves

suited. Viability is then often

financial modelling, which can be

fitted to the design solution as an

defined as translating a set of hypotheses

afterthought – that is, after the

(assumptions) about the behaviour of

solution has already been developed

markets or customers into numerical

and prototyped with customers

predictions and measurable outcomes.







Figure 7.1: Conventional consideration of a business case in the later stages of the design process

While there are many techniques to model

approach ‘Opportunity Engineering’ (OE).

out future returns, most of them are not

For those designers who wish to focus on

well suited to innovation projects. The

business and financial modelling skills in

challenge when designing a new business

their work, the suggested books above on

model, a new offering or a new experience

DDP and OE will provide detailed, step-

is that existing parameters cannot be used

by-step instructions.

and new assumptions often have to be made.

For a high level demonstration of how these techniques can be practically

One ‘assumption-based planning’

applied, we will work through a real-

technique, which is better suited to

life example below by applying the key

innovation initiatives, is Discovery-Driven

practices of DDP, as well as the fields of

Planning (DDP) (McGrath and MacMillan,

Strategy and Finance, aligning them to

2009). Enhancements to the technique

the well-known ‘Double Diamond’ design

have been provided by Van Putten and

process (Design Council UK, 2007).

MacMillan (2009), who call their extended


Case study Scenario: For this case study, we will use the pseudonym Oz Bank to represent a large player in the Australian financial services market providing a comprehensive range of banking and wealth management solutions. Oz Bank would like to develop new financial services for female entrepreneurs to gain greater market share within this growing customer segment.

Designers thus have an interest in

design principle 2. Clarifying which

Designers often have to deal with

building closer ties with key players

horizontal and vertical unit these

changing conditions of an organization

across teams within the organization

ambassadors may be positioned in,

and design project – project team

– not just to secure buy-in and

through mapping the organization, can

members could leave the organization,

ownership, but also to provide much

be helpful.

or be taken off projects to attend other organizational needs/projects, or design

needed mutual support – related to

ambassadors might step away from their role due to frustrations with the potential challenges they face when promoting design internally. Designers need to be

Strategic Questions: 1)










resilient, and ready for the hard work it will take to potentially train or re-educate

Is the design project of strategic importance and value to the business? Is the scope of the design project fully understood? Can you get the right team with the right time commitment? Do you have sufficient funding (or a clear pathway to funding)? Is it realistically timeboxed?

organizational members. In anticipation of potential changes, designers can define ‘rules of engagement’ that set expectations for anyone involved in the project. Defining such expectations helps everyone to understand priorities and no-go areas. Rules of engagement frame designers’ efforts to ensure successful

Strategic Questions:

Strategic Questions:

customer-centric solutions that are desirable, viable and feasible, and to scale

6) 7)


Are you committed to applying a HCD approach? Are you ready to let yourself be challenged, and to change course based on findings? Can you set your ego aside? Can you provide the space (physical/virtual) to enable the team to collaborate effectively?


Does this design project have full sponsor and decision maker support and buy-in? 10) Will the sponsor and decision maker make the necessary time commitment? 11) Is the business committed to investing in the outcome? Is there commitment to implement?

human-centred design capability across the business to enable others to practice the approach. Figure 8.1 illustrates one way to do this, taken from a recent design project. Figure 8.2 outlines some strategic questions to ask in relation to these rules of engagement.

Figure 8.2: Strategic questions that refine the rules of engagement


8.4 Transformational design and cultural interventions

Designers cultivating a capacity-building

risk- or failure-averse – any waste of

mindset must take into account the

resources and effort must be minimised.

specifics of any project and its context.

Many organizations perform daily routine

A client organization’s internal culture

protocol checks, or large investments

is the central context in which designing

might require multiple sign-off stages

unfolds, and as such designers need to

across decision-making levels, or

make themselves keenly aware of its

company expectations around innovation

dominant traits. Refining the accuracy of

might focus on finding safe solutions

this perception goes hand in hand with

with manageable risks. When a designer

supporting the transformation of that

intentionally sets about exposing these

culture into one that practices effective

underlying cultural traits, that audit will

design thinking.

reveal conditions that would likely make it harder for the organization to embrace

As a start, designers can ask important

certain design principles, or dynamics

questions such as ‘how does the

that could block the application of

organization work?’ This kind of ‘cultural

effective design practices.

auditing’ and awareness building helps designers to better anticipate potential

While it might be easier for seasoned

hurdles or intuit levers for design that

designers to influence the direction

stem from values, common practices and

an organization will take, even junior

culturally-informed expectations. (Please

designers can significantly shape

refer to Chapter 6 for a more detailed

internal context such that sponsors

list of feasibility success factors.) For

and decision makers are pleasantly

instance, the existing culture might be

surprised by outcomes, and want other


interactions and interventions on-site

became apparent – effects which may also

member of an organization. It is the

should also help them determine what

serve to map out the bigger picture and

cultural responsibility of every employee

motivates employees, what bothers them,

include a broader variety of stakeholders,

to recognise and be sensitive to customer

and where opportunities exist to create

and the impact that the organization has

needs and desires, to hit the alarm bell

experiences that change perspectives and

or is seeking within their community.

when customer ‘pain points’ and market changes emerge, and to understand

attitudes, and model new mindsets. Doing so helps employees identify with design-

Ideally, a client organization already

the impact of an organization’s actions

driven organizational change, feel more

has someone like a Chief Design Officer,

on customer experiences. Equipping

empowered and co-responsible while

whose role it is to focus on design and

stakeholders with customer-centred radar

contributing momentum to the initiative.

strategic decision-making. Cultural

via basic customer-experience research is

For instance, one designer constructed an

change can be facilitated by external

an essential way designers can facilitate

intervention that had employees map out

designers, but ideally is supported

cultural change. Customer empathy

their existing core beliefs about the firm

through internal design ambassadors

and a sense of accountability for their

and its business context, and then asked

and a design leader with real authority

needs are central to building a culture

them to collectively turn each on its head

– like a chief design officer, or a design

that commits to design. For example,

by asking ‘what if…?’ (see also techniques

director. If such a position and person

designers might ask relevant employees

developed by de Jong and van Dijk, 2015).

doesn’t exist yet within an organization,

to imagine customer experience, jointly

These newly-defined beliefs led to fresh

it might be helpful for the designer to

reflect on this, and develop specific key

implications for customer and employee

point out the benefits of having one,

performance indicators together with

experiences, and concepting of unique

and potentially even facilitate efforts to

other employees and management – the

outcomes. Compromising beliefs were

recruit one. Ultimately, design shouldn’t

process will ensure that employees’

exposed and challenged, and concrete

just be the task of a design leader – it

priorities are aligned with desired

ways of embracing alternative positions

should be the responsibility of every

customer experiences.


Designers can support the transition towards cultural change by being open to experiment, even within certain boundaries, including a strong concern for viability and feasibility (please refer to Chapters 6 and 7 for more on this). While such concerns help designers reduce their risk of failure during experimentation and implementation, it is important to emphasise in working with clients that design values continuous change and evolution – and a culture that accepts that designers are ‘always in beta mode’. A solution and experience context is never complete when key performance indicators are in constant need of adaptation. Over time, new opportunities emerge – coincidentally or purposefully – to improve the Figure 8.3: Participatory design methods (Playful Triggers and Scenario Cards) are used in a training course with Australian emergency management staff to develop capacity in a community-centred approach to strengthening disaster resilience (image credit : Yoko Akama) 


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Strategic Design - 8 Essential Practices Every Strategic Designer Must Master  

This book proposes eight strategic design practices for design professionals who seek to grow or have already grown into a more strategic ro...

Strategic Design - 8 Essential Practices Every Strategic Designer Must Master  

This book proposes eight strategic design practices for design professionals who seek to grow or have already grown into a more strategic ro...