Strategic design practices in digital innovation: Findings from strategic design projects with industry

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


Such is the prevalence of digital systems within today’s organizations that design projects that deal with digital subject matter are inherently strategic. Therefore, the aim of this article is to contribute an understanding of how design practices in digital innovation are informed by strategic renewal. To pursue this inquiry, the article seeks to understand how strategic designers operate in ill-defined but opportunity-rich contexts on projects that concern digital innovation. A practice-led methodology is applied to document an engagement with a fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) firm for ten weeks – with six design teams responding to design briefs set by the client. The findings are that strategic designers apply design methods and techniques to translate technology-centred briefs into fundamentally human-centred problems to be solved. The strategic ambitions of the client and human-centred emphasis can guide designer practice during the otherwise uncertain and complex journey of digital innovation. Further, this article contributes new knowledge regarding strategic design practice and the nature of hidden constraints that are present during digital innovation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)99-116
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Design, Business and Society
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • strategic design
  • digital innovation
  • design practices
  • design capabilities
  • collaborative design
  • digital technologies
  • business


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