Notes from Influencing Strategy with Design

Ok, so [these aren’t my notes](–in fact, I didn’t even attend the event–but they’re probably the best description I’ve seen on how to increase the strategic impact of design work within a company.

*Treat strategic influence like a design problem* – Who is the “user” in your situation–who do you need to influence, and what are their goals?

*Use your existing design skills* – In a meeting with business and engineering folks, you’ll never out-business or out-engineer them. Instead, focus on the unique knowledge and skills you do have. You’re a designer–design stuff!

*Start with the minimum you need to prove your concept* – The grand vision is great, but look for ways to prove its value with quick projects.

*The Role of the Victim* – Designers often feel like victims of circumstances or constraints outside their control. Instead, it’s helpful to analyze why things went wrong, and what might have made it work better.

*Selling Design* – If they understand how we do our work, they’ll respect it more, right? Not if they don’t care how you do your work. Focus on what’s in it for them.

*Providing Leadership* – Don’t wait for a mandate–just step up and do what you think needs to be done.

*Using Metrics* – What metrics really reflect the core user experience? Which ones will influence how we do design? How might we start tracking those?

*Pattern Recognition* – Step back, take in all the elements of the product and experience, and look for patterns.

*Story Telling* – Design your presentation as a compelling story, rather than a set of metrics. Persuade with emotion.

*Visual Communication* – Again, you’re a designer–design!

*Empathy* – Bring personal stories and people’s needs into product decisions.