Overlap: The Process

This post is a stretch on the topic heading, but I couldn’t resist keeping with the theme of our posts. Check out some great stuff – Victor Lombardi has a great process visual up, and I recall Damien Newman using it in a post he wrote about design thinking, still a good read I think.

I spent the day with a German brand strategist who used to work for Metadesign, Berlin. Her name is Sybille Klotz and she was introduced to me by Bill Hill. We talked about the user centered design process, and the far more rigid methodologies often applied by her previous employer, compared to what she’d seen amongst the branding and design consultancies in San Francisco. Her interest is to move towards corporate strategy, using personas and story telling to get to the heart of a brand.

Sounds familiar, but it’s a concept that is very much at the earliest stages in Europe. Hence her interest in looking at opportunities to what is perceived to be the ‘bleeding edge’, our humble corner of this continent.

It was interesting to get another viewpoint on what’s been happening in the world. And after hearing about the rising optimism in India, wrt design, the European perspective was a fascinating counterpoint.

Beyond simple comparisons, we ended up talking in depth about the process and it’s relevance. You could almost say that the design method in practice today has also begun a bifurcation, there are those who focus on the process itself, as the root of laying a good foundation, and there are times when the focus is  on the end result, particularly when under a tight deadline. While it would be easy to say one method is better than another, I’m hazarding a guess that these are simply preferences for approaching the problem solving process. And one I would like to look into further.

We also talked about bringing in an "attitude" you could say, from the design studio perspective, to corporate strategy and business. She’s working closely with a corporate planner, a pure business strategist, to visualize the elements in the strategy in a way only a designer (or someone comfortable with drawing let’s say) can – and thus making the story of the strategy, the reasons behind it being the way it is, more powerful. The "attitude" or difference is one of being comfortable with the ambiguity of working with the "unknown" end result. I don’t know yet how I’m going to articulate this, I can see it in my head derived from my own experiences in creating both marketing plans and communication strategies in the business arena, and working within a design studio.

That would be an area of overlap that I’d be interested in exploring further.

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