Design Strategy

Our experts do a lot of thinking. Here's the latest to unlock your potential.
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What It Looks Like When Organizations Enable Innovation—By Design
Within every organization, innovation wants to thrive. Here’s what it looks like when organizations dismantle the obstacles that stand in the way.
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COVID-19 At-Home Tests: A Game Changer, But at What Cost?
Home self-testing kits have played a crucial role in managing the spread of COVID-19 in the US, but a steep environmental price is hidden in the societal benefit.
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Speculative Design and a Cone of Possibilities
Speculative design requires people to suspend their disbelief and allow their imaginations to wander. Here's one tool to ground it in reality.
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Empathic Design in Practice
What comes before and after you walk in your users' shoes? We distill empathic design into six principles for easy adoption.
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2021's Top 10 Innovation and Product Design Posts
In 2021 you devoured blogs about looking at old problems in new ways, unlocking your professional potential, and creating products that change the world for the better.
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The expanding definition of design
There’s a growing sense of urgency and renewed purpose in the design community.
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How to Stop Your Innovation From Inspiring a 'Black Mirror' Episode
Warning: I’m going to criticize and question something beloved by millions of people—stationary exercise bikes.
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5 Ways Care Models Need to Change
When we reflect on 2020, we may come to think of it a period when we had the time to pursue simpler, do-it-yourself, pleasures like making bread or planting a garden. Many of us used the endless pandemic months to learn a new a language or take up a new outdoor sport.
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CES 2021: 5G starts revealing its potential
At CES in 2019, Verizon Chairman and CEO Hans Vestberg gave the opening keynote address about the upcoming advantages of 5G.
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Must-reads for innovation
Being home more in 2020 meant a little more down time, including more time for books and audio books.
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The long haul
You might remember being forced to read the poem “Ozymandias” in high school English class.
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How STEEPLE Analysis Informs Design Strategy
STEEPLE analysis is a tool for scanning your external environment. It helps teams understand phenomena and imagine new opportunities.
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Reflections on Delve Talks, Part 2: Building a Culture of Innovation
For our Delve Talks podcast, Dave Franchino and I had the opportunity to interview a dozen people from various industries, all of whom share a common interest, desire and occupation that involves innovation, creativity and culture building. You can find the whole series here.
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Critical perspectives on sustainable product design
The Industrial Designers Society of America (IDSA) held its first Deep Dive on sustainable product design. The ensuing conversations revealed a burning need for collaboration between not just designers, but everyone involved in the creation and use of products.
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What is design strategy and why do you need one?
Design Strategy is a process and approach for creating or re-inventing businesses and directing innovation/new growth strategies. I think few people have heard of design strategy though they might already be doing something similar, perhaps under the name innovation strategy or product strategy.
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Open thoughts on open source
I have been spending a fair amount of time thinking about the spectrum of successes and failures related to the open-source maker movement and its contributions to addressing the COVID crisis.
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What’s next? It’s up to us
We are told the world has changed, I have heard people talk about the recent past as “the before” in recognition that we are in transition and not going back. I have also heard people talking as if this is a tough time, that we need to buckle down and wait for it to pass.
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How to write 'How Might We' questions for product strategy
Translating research into actions is often more art than science. We have found “how might we” questions to be useful tools. Here's how to write one.
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How to Make Way For Radical Innovation
Before starting on an innovation strategy, decide which type you're chasing: Incremental, disruptive, and radical innovation each require a unique approach.
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Making business decisions in tumultuous times
I recently returned from a trip to Burkina Faso, a landlocked country in West Africa that is unknown to most Americans. Those who are familiar with the country know it mostly because of its poverty, corruption, and the high incidence of terrorism and fatal violence.
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Our unicorns are real
Apparently, unicorns just went extinct in Silicon Valley. That’s sad news for the small group of tech entrepreneurs who hope to cash in on the latest gold rush and build a company with a $1 billion-plus valuation.
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How ‘Forecasting and Backcasting’ Enable Disruptive Innovation
Forecasting and backcasting provide a framework for disruptive innovation by establishing a solid structure to support big, strategic thinking.
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The Mega Megatrends Post: Your Guide to the Ten Consumer Megatrends Reshaping Product Design
How will you decide today what to design for 2030? Strategists look to megatrends to predict consumer behavior and futureproof strategy.
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Innovative Technology To Combat Climate Change: Our 7 Favorite Solutions
A list of emerging, innovative technology being developed to reduce carbon, geoengineer the environment, and improve battery efficiency and cooling tech.
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Five Megatrends Driving the Future of Medical Devices
Our free, on-demand webinar explains why innovation is so critical in healthcare, and introduces our Framework for Strategic Innovation: Health + Wellness.
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When good design goes bad
As a graduate from Stanford, I participate in a fairly active “design” email list originating from the various design programs. The email list allows fellow Stanford alum to post questions or raise topics related to the broader field of innovation and is invariably a fascinating source of trends and introspection.
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Strategy is a verb
You’re probably already looking up the word “strategy” to see if it’s a noun or a verb. Spoiler alert: it’s a noun.
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Six market forces changing the medical device world
As a high school junior, I was shown the guts of an implantable defibrillator. That day, I quit my pursuit of a career in medicine to pursue one in medical device design.
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Learning to learn quickly
Having a foundational understanding of your problem space is necessary for any design process. You wouldn’t hire someone who has never seen the ocean to design a ship, would you?
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The Sociocultural Megatrends Transforming Healthcare
We've examined key sociocultural megatrends through a lens of medical and wellness consumer experience to single out four profound shifts in the field.
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SXSW Wrap-up: Moving the needle & our cheese
Looking back on our four days in Austin, we were struck by a common message spoken and implied by the many purpose-driven speakers we listened to. Here it is: Find an organizing principle for your company, your project, product or community to move the needle.
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SXSW Day Three: New reality
We may need an innovacation after this! But no chance... the talks and exhibits are still going strong.
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SXSW 2019: First Impressions
Jesse Darley and I arrived Friday evening and walked the streets of Austin. We were immediately immersed in all things SXSW. There were music, crowds, exhibits, lines, homeless, clubbers, diners, all of it.
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Tips for Mentoring from Women in MedTech in Boston
Leadership diversity is important because different perspectives and experiences drive innovation and enable companies to design better products. This matters even more when the products in question are medical devices, with patients’ health and lives at stake.
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Five Global Megatrends Reshaping Product Design
Doing user research now won't help you design for 2028. Trend analysis will. Design strategists turn to it to predict consumers' future behavior.
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The shift to Physical-Digital design teams ... are you ready?
Theresa Emanuel was born in 1877, before electricity and cars. Back then outhouses, horse and buggy, candles, and quill pens were everyday parts of life.
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Startup Week: Developing an MVP with a capital “P”
As I was hurtling back to San Francisco across the Rockies, the backbone of our country, after spending a couple days at the Colorado Springs Startup Week, I was struck by the changes in my profession.
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Technology vs. Prediction
I recently read a Pew report on the future of the Internet of Things, full of opinions on how people may choose to adopt or reject IoT products and services based on security, convenience and richness of experience, among others.
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Making decisions at SXSW
Stefanie Norvaisas and I recently returned from an amazing trip to South by Southwest (SXSW) in Austin, where we had the opportunity to host a workshop on Designing Decisions.
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Leading when you are lost
I recently returned to Design Concepts after a deeply meaningful six-month world trip with my husband and elementary school-aged daughters.
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Need for speed: Approaches to picking up the pace of development
Innovation is risky business. It is expensive and time consuming. The faster you move, the longer you can survive.
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Captain Contrarian: Innovation by competitive attack
Crafting a product, department or corporate strategy never happens in a bubble. It’s an ever-moving target because of trends in the marketplace, shifts in consumer behavior, and competitive actions.
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Innovate by spotting and applying trends
Have you ever read an article about design trends and wondered, “Where on earth did THAT come from?”
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What Will Healthcare Look Like in 2065?
We did a thought experiment and traveled 50 years into the future to glimpse the future of healthcare and of the patient's user experience.
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Writing an ebook is e-xciting
At Design Concepts, we live and breathe innovation every day. It's our job and our passion.
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Designing for the Apocalypse
Here at Design Concepts, you’ll sometimes hear the term “co-creation” used on a project. Typically it’s used to refer to a kind of brainstorming activity we undertake with design research participants where we brainstorm together with them, our “users,” to co-create solutions for their needs.
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Working Toward Sustainable Medical Device Design
'Our healthcare system is unsustainable.' People who say this are usually speaking in terms of cost. But it’s also true in terms of medical device design.
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Introducing HACME Corporation: Solving problems you didn't know you had
“Dori-toes snack foot!” design strategist Dan Sarbacker announced proudly holding a half-sheet sharpie sketch.