Strategic Design at Iconstorm

Strategic design: Our Framework for Innovation


If you wonder why your carefully set up innovation team often fails to deliver meaningful innovations, or why great ideas get stuck in prototyping, Strategic Design might be the answer.

To be truly successful, innovation requires a high-functioning team with connectivity to all stakeholders of an organisation. That’s why Strategic Design is structured to cover all levels of human interaction: that of the individual, the team, and the organisation. Its unique strength lies in providing stakeholders with a shared paradigm that translates into a shared language and acts much like an operating system. Moreover, Strategic Design combines a range of top-of-breed design management tools and business development methods to ensure great ideas are formed into commercially viable innovations.

Meaningful Innovations
Meaningful Innovation
New areas of exploration appear at the intersection of human context, business and technology.

Shifting work attitudes
Shifting work attitudes
Purpose and a sense of personal appreciation are becoming increasingly important.

Understanding the conditions for successful innovation

innovation: the new driver of business development strategy

In the wake of digitization and other technological advances, seismic disruptions are rippling through industries and society. Just to stay relevant, business leaders of all creeds now consider it imperative to put innovation at the heart of their business development strategy. Innovation labs are springing up everywhere. But unlike production, innovation cannot be switched on. It requires favourable conditions, and then it happens of its own accord. Such favourable conditions are best established through skillful use of indirect variables. Some of these seem counterintuitive to business, such as removing the pressure to deliver a specific result. The outcomes are by nature unpredictable and the journey leads through uncharted territory. Professional creatives enjoy the ride; everyone else feels, at least initially, uncomfortable. It takes courage to embrace uncertainty as a desirable space to operate in. Strategic Design holds the key to facilitate this important mental shift – it creates a work mode that connects all stakeholders with their innate creativity, and simultaneously steers the process toward meaningful innovations.

Innovation starts with the individual

strategic design: a form of generative collaboration

Iconstorm has developed Strategic Design as a form of generative collaboration within the agency and also with all our clients. Generative collaboration means that people freely and passionately contribute whatever skills or resources they have. Prerequisite for this to happen is that they trust they to to value their skills, ideas, and, indeed, objections. Under such a shared paradigm, critique is invariably constructive, as it either sharpens the design process or provides focus for the team development. It goes without saying that caring about the individual has to be genuine and requires an attitude of generative leadership. With Strategic Design, we often find that people who were trained to follow procedures are surprised and very happy to discover that they can also be creative, maybe in an unexpected manner.

To achieve high quality work output in step with team ability development, Strategic Design is built on dual leadership. One role takes care of the design process, while the other manages personal development and group interactions. As these two trained specialist leaders pass the baton back and forth between each other, they lead by example, as they continually model connectivity and close communication.

Managing the innovation process

channeling ideas toward a purposeful outcome

Far from being a laissez-faire creativity fest, Strategic Design maintains tight control of the innovation process and its destination. To this end, we use a combination of design process management and business development tools, some of which are displayed below.

Double diamond
Double diamond
Core design process – feels natural, while structuring divergent and convergent activities

A patterning tool that shifts focus of attention between the design process and team ability for maximum efficiency.

Business Model Canvas
Business Model Canvas
Engineered to support the design process by keeping sight of commercial viability

The experience level – something to touch – the level of reality

Harnessing creativity for meaningful innovations

How to make your innovation team successful

Strategic Design is modelled on human nature. If managed well, it has an innate tendency to spread, as it shifts an organisation’s culture simultaneously toward more efficient and more personally rewarding collaboration. Because of its dialogic nature, Strategic Design is best imparted as an immersive learning experience, tailored individually to the needs of each team or organisation.

Alongside an actual innovation project of your choice, our team of designers, coaches and communication experts plant the seed with your innovation team. In close consultation with you, we identify and train the two most suitable people to take on the Strategic Design dual leadership roles. Everyone else involved in the project is also gradually made aware of the function and interaction of the individual elements of Strategic Design. This happens within the work flow and is supported with special feedback sessions. In addition, each member of your innovation team learns to connect skillfully with other stakeholders, so that your meaningful innovation reaches its market.

get in touch

If you have questions about Strategic Design or would like to find out more about what Strategic Design can do for you, get in touch with Felix Guder.

+49 (0) 69 15 32 018 01