What do you do? I hate this questions because what I do is not cut and dry. And how, me, personality fits into my work is layered upon layers.
I call myself a Design Strategist. I have a Master’s in it, so I’m calling myself that. How that fits into the traditional strategist role is that I don’t fit into that role. I mean, I can do ethnographic research, desk research, uncover high-level trends, conduct interviews etc., but I don’t do that for work, because I don’t need to do to it for work.
I am really a facilitator. But facilitation is more than just the session itself. It consists of all the planning and materials needed to conduct the session. Then afterward, it is about compiling all that data into a medium that is easily understood and creatively expressions all the outputs. That’s really where the design and strategy come together.
Lately, the traditional strategist or planner have started coming onto my turf poking around notions of design thinking and systems thinking. They have recently discovered this because they happened to take an IDEO course and now feel compelled to bring it into practice.
Where places like IDEO and the Institute without Boundaries (my pedigree) make design thinking, human-centered design and systems thinking so appealing are because after all the research and iteration you get a final design. There is so much control over the product and the outcome. Where, in the real world or working for organizations where “designers” are part of the creative/graphic team, you are just skinning a campaign to sell the product. Without looking more deeper into the real issues or needs that the client or even the user may have.
That is where the biggest disconnect comes for me personally in the world of business strategy. So, on my off time, I do things to push design forward with my work at World Design Weeks, with community centres like The Factory and writing on my blog. Where I have the freedom to express myself creatively. I’m surrounded by creatives who just get it. And still have that drive to change the world, because that’s why we all got into this profession in the first place.