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Design Strategy – The Week in Tweets

May 28, 2011

Here are some of my design-related Tweets that my followers on Twitter have shared with their followers (retweeted or RT in Twitter parlance.)

Take a look. Click on the links to find articles, websites and other resources.

If you are not a Tweeter, by browsing the list of micro-posts you will get a good idea of how I use it. And if you like what you see, follow me on Twitter @randydeutsch


Stanford Executive Education Taps JetBlue for Design Thinking Boot Camp July 6-8 #designthinking #design

Ori Brafman: How to Build Instant Connections & other Stanford U Entrepreneur Thought Leader Lecture podcasts

Here goes the weekend: I mean hundreds & hundreds of Stanford U Entrepreneur Thought Leader Lecture podcasts

Designing for Failure in the Cloud

An hour well-spent with Michael Bierut: #Designing, #Writing, #Teaching: Not My Real Job #design

AIA Keynote Speaker Jeb Brugmann: Use Strategic #Design to Optimize Your Market Advantage #AIA2011 #architects

The most important design tool? Asking good questions (this was my most retweeted Tweet)

Exploring #design thinking & organizational change: A Conversation at NU’s Innovator Event on Designing for Change

The New Designer Defined: excerpt from the intro to The Strategic Designer. Four Principals of the New Designer

QR Code Generator more here

Kandinsky and vacuum cleaners: @Pentagram’s Daniel Weil on the Drawing: the Process #architects #architecture

@Opening_Design Have you seen this? via @fedenegro Basecamp for architects? #mergersandaquisitions #AEC

Fully Kindle-ized, these #design books are outrageously gorgeous in just about any format @louisrosenfeld

The Design Difference: Using #Design to Conduct a Problem-Solving Workshop

Integrating #sustainability into #design #education. The Toolkit #green

Join the Designers Accord Town Hall meeting & videos #sustainability #green

No worries @louisrosenfeld We found #Design is the Problem & reading it >”He’s still a little concerned that designers won’t find the book.”

“There’s nothing off-putting about sustainability. Find someone who is in favor of purposely ruining the future”

An exclusive excerpt from Nathan Shedroff’s new book on #sustainable #design practice, Design is the Problem

Interview with Nathan Shedroff, author of Design is the Problem & MBA in #Design Strategy chair at CCA in

We’re calling Design is the Problem “the definitive guidebook to the future of design practice” #sustainability

Someone asked me today what’s a “meme broker”? A Johnny Appleseed of ideas “but not necessarily of Honeycrisps.”

As long as consumers & stockholders demand next advances that’s where #innovation will be. Not solving the big problems

US spends $1,270 per capita per year to boost R&D & #knowledge. The difference between #innovation and invention?

Polymath, Renaissance person, Multidisciplinarian (!) – Why we all must become one

Interview w Vinnie Mirchandani author of The New Polymath: Profiles in Compound-Technology #Innovations

A designer’s struggle between research & intuition in the creative process: The Science of Good #Design

The World’s Best #Design Thinking Programs (before they were announced DOA) #designthinking

@businessweek‘s Bruce Nussbaum Gives an “F” to the FT List of Best Business Schools. Where’s the #innovation?

The Power of #Design and 200 other articles, books, films & websites to help you innovate

FYI my rss feeds

Rotman School of Management’s Roger Martin: The Complete Articles and Videos

California College of the Arts #MBA in #Design #Strategy – Recommended Resources – The List

Hollywood exec producer Peter Guber: telling purposeful stories an essential skill. The Art of the Business Narrative

Thought leader interviews and articles #innovation

To compete in a knowledge-based economy business leaders need to reinvent themselves as innovators in services

Connections, James Burke’s iconic BBC series on the history of innovation, free to watch online

Design Strategy Resources

May 24, 2011

The MBA in Design Strategy program at the California College of the Arts has compiled a list of recommended articles, books, films and websites – and their links – to help orient interested parties to their perspective on how new business techniques, design-led innovation and sustainability come together.

If you haven’t seen it, it’s quite a list – and I’d like to share some of it with you here.

You can find the complete list here.


Although these resources are derived from faculty recommendations, none represents an official endorsement by the college.

Communication, Collaboration, and Leadership

Strategy and Business Design

Economics and Metrics

Organizational Culture

Sustainability and Social Innovation

Design and Customer Experience


Recommended Films

Recommended Articles

Recommended Videos

Recommended Websites

Book Review: The Strategic Designer

May 23, 2011

Summary: You don’t need to be a graphic designer to benefit from the best practices espoused in this magnificent new book. A must-have for designers, those in design management and anyone who works with designers.

Based on over 100 interviews with designers, researchers and educators, The_Strategic_Designer by David Holston provides an overview of the design process and designer’s best practices.

The Strategic Designer: Tools and techniques for managing the design process, published by F+W Media and HOW Design, is billed as a Strategic Graphic Design Thinking book.

Despite this categorization, the subject matter transcends graphic design and can be universally applied to any of the design trades and professions including product and environmental design.

The book description will sound familiar to anyone working in architecture and related design professions:

As designers look for ways to stay competitive in the conceptual economy and address the increasing complexity of design problems, they are seeing that they must not only be experts in form, but must also have the ability to collaborate, to design in context and be accountable through measurement.

By adopting a process that considers collaboration, context and accountability, designers move from makers of things to strategists.

The book focuses on the designer’s workflow, ideation techniques, client relationships and methods for measuring the success of their projects.

An excellent foreward by Shawn M McKinney gets things off to a fast start – which, alone, is worth the investment in the book.

Each chapter covers a specific design phase emphasis, providing a practical step-by-step approach, complete with tools and techniques.

The Conceptual Economy – where those who have the ability to collaborate and manage the increasing complexity of design will have greater opportunities

Overview of the Design Process – a process rife with opportunities for misinformation, dead ends, and divergent tracks, as well as amazing outcomes

The Value of Process – the benefits of having a well-defined design process

The Collaborative Designer – emphasizing co-creation, communication, mutual benefit, respect and trust in a strong client-designer relationship. This is a particularly rich chapter, addressing and answering such questions as: What makes a Good designer? What Makes a Good Client? and Clients to Avoid. There’s a wonderful sidebar on: Seven Principles for Managing Creative Tension.

Empathic Design – explaining how research provides a path and imperative for moving forward

Understanding the Business – includes a breakdown of basic strategy techniques and an explanation of the purpose of business analysis as understanding and defining goals of the client

Designing with the End User in Mind – with an emphasis on facilitating and moderating participatory and collaborative work sessions. The Designing for People chapter focuses on research as a valuable tool for gaining insight into the organizational needs of clients and their prospective audiences.

Managing Ideas – especially when ideating with others in a participatory or collaborative setting, relying heavily on the experiences and knowledge of people involved.

Making Strategy Visible – how the designer takes an empathic approach to design that connects business goals with user needs.

Design Accountability – asking: Why is design hard to measure? And answering by sharing significant research findings and metrics. Salient quote: “The price for a seat at the decision-making table is accountability.”

Planning in a Turbulent Environment – the days of using a linear design process are over. Strategic designers face increasingly wicked problems. A helpful framework offered by project management.

Refining Your Process – so it can provide a common understanding for “how things get done” mitigating wasted efforts while creating value for the client and user alike.

Holston’s text anticipates your questions and concerns and places each topic in a larger context. He is clearly in control of his subject.

Holston places the book and subject squarely in Dan Pink’s Conceptual Economy, a term describing the contribution of creativity, innovation, and design skills to economic competitiveness, especially in the global context.

In his book A Whole New Mind, Daniel Pink explains how the economy is now moving from the information age to the conceptual age.

Later in The Strategic Designer, Rotman School of Management dean Roger L Martin says that the world is moving from the Information Economy to a Design Economy. A small distinction, but one that unnecessarily complicates matters. I would look to a book such as this to clarify the playing field, at the very least to acknowledge that the labeling of epochs and phraseology are still a work-in-progress.

The book’s strength is not in creating new knowledge – but in repackaging what is largely already known, experientially by every designer – in an easy to carry tome.

Readers, for example, who have perused Wikipedia articles on various topics related to design strategy will recognize the source of several of the author’s summaries.

In this sense, the book is not a product of the Conceptual Age, but instead is a well-designed, convenient and accessible agglomeration, aggregating both explicit and, perhaps the greater achievement here, tacit knowledge on the subject. The book is no less of an achievement for being so.

The design world is a much better place for having this book at its disposal.

Conclusion: The Strategic Designer is a must-have book for designers, those who manage design projects and those who work with designers in a collaborative setting.

Addenda: How can this book not have a single review?

HOW books makes books on high quality paper, books that feel good in the hand, and themselves serve as exemplary reminders that ebooks should not be our only option. The Strategic Designer is no exception.

See this short video with author Dave Holston presenting the introduction to The Strategic Designer Brand and here on competitive strategy.

Design Strategy Tweets

May 22, 2011

Here are some of my Tweets that have had the most impact from May 19-22 2011, all 140 characters or less.

Tweets that my followers on Twitter have shared with their followers (retweeted or RT in
Twitter parlance.)

Take a look.

If you are not a Tweeter, by browsing the list of micro-posts you will get a good idea of how I use it.

And if you like what you see, follow me on Twitter @randydeutsch

Taking our Education into our Own Hands

May 22, 2011

A theme running throughout these posts will no doubt be

How do we supplement our formal education as we continue to grow with – or in some cases,
out of – our chosen fields.

Self-education is something many of us have engaged in since the advent of the internet.

Nay, the book.

And it is also something our emerging talent continue to take part in due to the economy
and the ongoing devaluation of the diploma.

One such evidence of this is last year’s DIY U: Edupunks, Edupreneurs, and the Coming Transformation of Higher Education, where Anya Kamenetz takes-on
the U.S. higher education system, explores fallacies concerning the value of a higher education and the flawed economic models that underpin higher education.

Along the way, she identifies alternatives available to students, from community colleges to online learning.

This movement is perhaps best personified in Josh Kaufman’s magnum opus, The Personal MBA: Master the Art of Business

Where he argues that those interested in business would be better served by skipping the MBA and focusing instead on concepts that really make or break a

Some graduates of top MBA programs have read the book and agree.

For me what is missing in The Personal MBA – despite being subtitled Master the Art of Business, and itself being a well-designed book –
is an emphasis on design.

Or on design strategy.

In its nearly 400 pages, there’s barely any mention of it. A missed opportunity, especially in the section on Value Creation.

Another excellent new book, one that I recommend to higher education programs that I work with to help
redesign, is Rethinking the MBA: Business Education at a Crossroads.

Rethinking the MBA asks whether business education is becoming more like the liberal arts, where – as Dan Pink
and others have noted –  the MFA is the New MBA.

Increasingly, managers and recruiters are questioning conventional business education.

Their concerns?

Among other things, MBA programs aren’t giving students the heightened cultural
awareness and global perspectives they need. Newly minted MBAs lack essential
leadership skills.

Creative and critical thinking demand far more attention.

Three Harvard Business School educators, Srikant M.Data, David A. Garvin and Patrick
G. Cullen, discuss in Rethinking the MBA the MBA programs of top twenty US MBA programs.

They describe how the top MBA programs are using innovative approaches to address eight social and
business concerns:

1. Gaining a global perspective

2. Developing leadership skills

3. Honing integrative skills

4. Recognizing organizational realities and implementing effectively

5. Acting creatively and innovatively

6. Thinking critically and communicating clearly

7. Understanding the role, responsibilities, and purpose of business

8. Understanding the limits of models and markets

Read a Q&A with the authors here.

The Personal MBA, while still valuable – without an emphasis on where MBA programs are
headed and the considerable adjustments they are making to their curricula – is
and incomplete business education.

Waiting for someone else to write Rethinking the Personal MBA might just be fruitless.

I may just have to do it myself. Call it DIM U.

Welcome to The Design Strategist

May 18, 2011

You might be wondering.

Why bring another blog into the world?

There are a number of sites and blogs that focus exclusively
on design as a product.

And not nearly as many (or frankly enough) that make the design
process itself the core subject.

As I continue to make my professional transition from
architect and design strategist to
one where I am a design strategist and
architect (OK, admittedly a subtle distinction)

I realized that while there is a great deal of useful information
on design strategy – it is

  • sporadic,
  • hidden in the interstices of the web, or
  • in hard-to-find books,
  • not always easily accessible and even when it is,
  • difficult to glean from what is most pertinent
    and useful.

That’s where this site steps in.

I hope, with this blog, to rectify this situation.

By providing you with all things design+strategy,


D+S Book Reviews

D+Service Pieces like 50 Tactics of Highly
Successful Design Strategists

Features including interviews and Q&As

Dethinking discussions on the relevance of design thinking

The Gist (short for strate’gist) for short but substantial posts that quickly get at the
essence of an issue

Consider the site, in toto, an aggregation of all things
design strategist

I promise to keep things short, pertinent and positive.

And look forward to reading what you have to say, in your

Thanks for joining me!