Strategic knowhow is great, but what about the messy shift when putting this knowledge to the test? Catt Small has you covered with 3 simple tactics.
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Issue 025

Moving from execution to strategy as a designer.

Transitioning towards strategic decision-making as a designer can be tricky. Thankfully, Catt Small has you covered with 3 simple tactics to make the journey much smoother.
Article: Moving from execution to strategy as a designer by Catt Small

When designers look to gain more decision-making influence, we're often advised to build our knowledge of strategy. But knowledge alone is only part of the influence puzzle.

It can be a tricky transition as we start trying to put this newfound strategic confidence to the test.

So how can designers build the trust and relationships that open up opportunities to flex our valuable strategy muscle?
An illustration of a designer standing nervously outside the entrance to a room where people are discussing business KPI's and looking at a chart.
Image courtesy of Catt Small, from the article 'Moving from execution to strategy as a designer'.
Well, product design leader Catt Small has you covered with 3 simple tactics in this great article.

1. Focus on goals: learn about what matters most to your colleagues.
"People love to talk about what matters to them. I’ve learned the most from scheduling a 1:1 with my PM and data analyst to ask them about their goals. This information exchange will help you learn how you can contribute to the business."
2. Show up: make design a presence in non-design focused conversations.
"Insert yourself into conversations where design can help (in a non-creepy way). Use your newfound strategic knowledge to recognize when your team is missing information, and help identify ways to fill in the blanks."
3. Incentivise: as a leader, reward the behaviour you want to see more of.
"Consider how you can reflect the need for strategic design thinking in your org systems. When you incentivize people to focus more on strategy, your teams will adjust their behavior."
Catt's article also includes my new favourite articulation of what design-led strategic decision-making looks like...
A design-led strategy helps teams come up with innovative solutions, determine when it’s better to stick to predictable ones, and builds confidence that chosen solutions will have the most impact.

Catt Small
Product Design Leader, Startup Advisor, & #GDoCExpo Co-organizer
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