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This is (enter design specialism) design thinking!

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At a recent  Amsterdam Service Design Talk hosted by Geke and the STBY folks we had a very interesting conversation about the recently released book “This is Service Design Thinking”. The book was crowdsourced and co-authored by 23 design professionals from around the globe. Authors Mark Stickdorn and Jakob Schneider were the orchestrators of this admirable effort from their base in Austria. The book’s web site (http://thisisservicedesignthinking.com/) does a nice job describing the purpose of the book:

“ ‘This is Service Design Thinking.’ illustrates the young multi-disciplinary approach of designing services. Both layout and content are far beyond a mere textbook on a viral buzzword. The book itself is based on a Design Thinking process, including the knowledge and passion of the Service Design community and related fields.

User-centricity and co-creation are not only content, but the initial position for the conception of this book. It is designed for beginners to get an outline of Service Design Thinking, for advanced readers to discover a variety of methods & tools and case studies as examples for its applications, and for professionals to use this book during lectures and workshops.”

Speaking of viral buzzwords one of the topics discussed was the title of the book. I confess that when I first saw it I thought, “Wait! It doesn’t just hop on one current bandwagon in the marketing of design but two; service design and design thinking!” My impression was that it was adding confusion to two issues that were already seeking a firm identity in the current design services discourse. “What’s next?” I cried,  “Graphic design thinking?” “Interior design thinking?” “Textile design thinking” And then I thought… “Well, why not?!”

Visualizing Strategy

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Designers partnering in business strategy formation bring many fresh tools, techniques, and perspectives to the process. From methods for gathering information, forming insights, generating ideas, imagining concepts, validating concepts, and articulating a design vision that can make ideas real, design strategists (or strategic designers) bring unique value every step of the way.

One of the most powerful tools at the disposal of the strategy team is the collection of all of the strategic intelligence that realizes the strategy into a single visualization that quickly communicates the forces driving the strategy. From the digital business perspective visualizations often reflect strategies for single or multi-channel products, services, and experiences. The end result may be a completely new web site, a specific set of web-based services for a target market, or a multi-site strategy reflecting a diverse marketing campaign embracing social networks and other discrete touchpoints.

Visualizations can be all-encompassing, covering a full range of inputs that typically include over-arching corporate strategy, brand positioning, competitive positioning, and target consumers as well as outputs such as strategic drivers, principal ideas and concepts translated into prioritized products and services, and brand and design principles to apply when tackling implementation. On the other hand, visualizations can also focus on one contributor to the strategy information stream. A good example is the quantitative and qualitative research driving the establishment of market segmentation and creation of target customer personas.