Beyond design thinking: strategic design

Strategic design happens in areas where the work is more abstract and ambiguous. Unlike scenarios where constraints and focus areas come into consideration, the focus of strategic design is to generate a wide range of bigger-picture questions and explore multiple potential solutions to frame the right problem. The biggest possible impact of strategic design can be utilized at the beginning of the problem-framing process, where key decisions need to be made and challenges are complex.

Unlike design thinking which is a form of problem-solving design activity performed by designers and non-designers, strategic design is an emerging sub-discipline of design. Strategic design encapsulates and goes beyond design thinking by applying creative problem-framing and problem-solving practice. This is where a design expert plays a role of a facilitator introducing design processes, encouraging design thinking skills in non-designers, and envisioning the need for long-term solutions in a broad context of social environments.

Contrary to design thinking that investigates currently expressed user needs, design strategy explores future possibilities and makes predictions of grand visions to understand how things could be and prepare for futures that might happen. I envision strategic design as a better way to define problems that need to be addressed and plan efforts in order to accomplish the goals.

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