Handbook

This handbook for design leaders shares our unique expertise in increasing the value, impact, and performance of design work. We regularly update the content in response to new scientific knowledge and practical experience. Please e-mail us with questions, remarks, or suggestions.

Way of working

The first part of this handbook describes steps to increase the value, impact, and performance of your team’s design work.

Preparation

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Overview

Analyze and validate your expectations of increasing the value, impact, and performance of your team’s design work.

  1. Describe the current situation of each design service that you want to upgrade.
  2. Define your ambition in increasing the value, impact, and performance of your team’s design work.
  3. Explore possibilities to fulfill your ambition.
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Service

Introduce a design service that you want to upgrade.

  • Name.
  • Kind of design object.
  • Intended position.
    • Market segments
    • Distance to competitors
    • Clients
    • Values or mission
    • Needs or desires
    • Functions, behaviour, or composition
    • Experience of clients, stakeholders, or designers
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Situation

Describe the current situation of a design service that you want to upgrade.

  • Strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats regarding the value that this service produces.
    • Gains
    • Painkillers
    • Surprises
  • Strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats regarding the impact of this service.
    • Prospects
    • Clients
    • Fans
  • Strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats regarding the performance of this service.
    • Scope
    • Quality
    • Benefits
    • Time
    • Cost
    • Risk
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Ambition

State your ambition for a design service that you want to upgrade.

  • The result of your team’s design work that you want to increase.
    • Value
    • Impact
    • Performance
  • The ability that determines the success of increasing.
    • Strength
    • Speed
    • Endurance
  • At least one and preferably three balanced indicators for the ability to increase the result, with a target value range and the current value.
  • An analysis of whether your ambition is worth pursuing.
    • Desirable
    • Feasible
    • Viable
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Possibilities

Explore possibilities to fulfil your ambition.

  • Ways to identify and anchor capabilities in your organization that are crucial to fulfilling your ambition.
    • Strategy
    • Structure
    • System
    • Specialisms
    • Skills
    • Shared values
  • Changes that have already been tried and reasons why they have not led to fulfilment of your ambition.

Execution

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Overview

Execute a service to increase the value, impact, and performance of your team’s design work.

  1. Execute a service.
  2. Study service execution.
  3. Process obtained insights.

Execute a service

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Overview

  • Assessment. Frame the situation and formulate a problem.
  • Advisement. Devise a concept, develop a solution, and deliver specifications.
  • Realization. Implement a specified solution.
  • Second opinion. Give an opinion of what the problem is and how to solve it, and compare this with the first advice.
  • Troubleshooting. Resolve setbacks in realization.
  • Management. Arrange activities to increase the value, impact, and performance of your team’s design work.
Assessment

Assessment

Frame the situation and formulate a problem.

  1. Form a vision for fulfilment of your ambition.
  2. Define issues to fulfil your ambition according to the vision.
  3. Identify causes that explain why these issues exist and give prognoses for them.
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Vision

Create a vision for fulfilment of your ambition.

  • Focus
  • Perception
  • Approach
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Issue

Describe an issue that needs to be resolved to fulfil your ambition according to the vision.

  • An open question (e.g., “How can …?”), with terms relating to the design service that you want to upgrade and the result indicators that you have defined.
  • Validation of the question (i.e., your confirmation that answering the question contributes to fulfilling your ambition).
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Cause

For each issue, identify a capability that is crucial to fulfilling your ambition.

  • Description.
  • Place in the organization.
    • Strategy
    • Structure
    • System
    • Specialisms
    • Skills
    • Shared values
  • Lifecycle stage.
    • Ideation
    • Conception
    • Development
    • Production
    • Use
    • Retirement
  • Origin.
    • Learned
    • Invented
    • Innate
  • Nature.
    • Explicit
    • Implicit
    • Tacit
  • Significance (based on a VRIO analysis).
    • Valuable
    • Rare
    • Inimitable
    • Organized to capture (or, exploit) value
  • Prognosis of the development, without intervention and after an intervention.
    • Unfavorable
    • Guarded
    • Favorable
Advisement

Advisement

Devise a concept, develop a solution, and deliver specifications.

  1. Devise an idea to remedy a cause of an issue to be resolved.
  2. Develop a plan to realize this idea.
  3. Deliver details of activities that are part of this plan.
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Idea

For each cause of an issue to be resolved, devise an idea to develop the capability identified for the cause.

  • Description.
  • Type of change.
    • Invention
    • Improvement
    • Variation
    • Innovation
    • Transformation
    • Adaptation
  • Place in the organization.
    • Strategy
    • Structure
    • System
    • Specialisms
    • Skills
    • Shared values
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Plan

Develop a plan to realize this idea.

  • Background.
  • Problem.
  • Objective.
  • Result.
  • Delineation.
  • Dependencies.
  • Activities.
  • Phasing.
  • Management.
Realization

Realization

Implement a specified solution.

  1. Execute the plan.
  2. Control plan execution.
  3. Report on plan execution.
Second opinion

Second opinion

Give an opinion of what the problem is and how to solve it, and compare this with the first advice.

  1. Make an assessment.
  2. Draw up an advice.
  3. Compare own advice with the first.
Troubleshooting

Troubleshooting

Resolve setbacks in realization.

  1. Analyze setbacks.
  2. Make a proposal to resolve these setbacks.
  3. Execute an approved proposal.
Management

Management

Arrange activities to increase the value, impact, and performance of your team’s design work.

  • Steer
  • Organize
  • Facilitate

Study service execution

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Analysis

Analyze the execution of a service.

  1. Examine the execution log.
  2. Assess the quality of execution.
    • Efficacy
    • Efficiency
    • Experience

Process obtained insights

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Synthesis

Develop knowledge on identifying and anchoring capabilities that are crucial to increasing the value, impact, and performance of your team’s design work.

  1. Discover knowledge by drawing lessons from executing a consulting service.
  2. Capture this knowledge.
  3. Share this knowledge.

Completion

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Overview

Evaluate advances in increasing the value, impact, and performance of your team’s design work.

  1. Draw conclusions about the (intermediate) result obtained.
  2. Prepare recommendations on the next steps.
  3. Present the main points.

Library

The second part of this handbook describes practical issues and ideas for increasing the value, impact, and performance of your team’s design work. These lists are non-exhaustive.

ISSUES

Increase value

How can my design team:

  • Reduce the ecological footprint of the business?
  • Improve the customer experience in our customer journeys?
  • Create better products in the consumer product line?

Increase impact

How can my design team:

  • Serve more business lines?
  • Acquire more orders?
  • Win more awards?

Increase performance

How can my design team:

  • Increase the first-time approval rate of designs?
  • Run a less chaotic design process?
  • Reduce design rework?

Build team

How can I:

  • Attract talented designers to work in my team?
  • Populate my team to beat complex challenges?
  • Accelerate the onboarding of designers in my team?

Evaluate team

How can I:

  • Measure the success of my team?
  • Analyze the capabilities of my team?
  • Assess my team’s readiness for change?

Advance team

How can I:

  • Increase the value of my team’s work?
  • Increase the impact of my team’s work?
  • Increase the performance of my team’s work?

Ideas

Increase value

Define a portfolio strategy, identify gaps and unmet or latent needs, and define segments for customers and users — McKinsey Design

Explore user experiences, discover user motives, and define user requirements — Interaction Design Foundation

Increase impact

Represent design at the top level of the organization, improve employee experience with design, and spread design practices — McKinsey Design

Describe design work in terms of business goals, collect evidence of design results, and communicate the business value of design — BoagWorld

Increase performance

Turbocharge design processes, speed up internal feedback loops, and improve handoffs — Invision Inside Design

Recognize and remove overly complex content, organize knowledge, and filter content — UX Collective

Build team

Build up your reputation, spot talent through your network, and establish a flexible talent pipeline — Workable

Form a cross-disciplinary team, further knowledge integration, and implement decision-making through consensus — Purdue University

Evaluate team

Define quantified design metrics, build a holistic metrics system, and define supporting operational metrics — McKinsey Design

Determine the need to change, identify the willingness to change, and assess the ability to change — BCG

Advance team

Demonstrate desired behaviours, provide motivators, and recognize and acknowledge displayed behaviours — PositivePsychology

Set goals, determine ground rules, and provide facilities to produce design knowledgeUNStudio

Posted articles

Sorts of design knowledge

7 sorts of design knowledge to accomplish design work

Design is indispensable in a rapidly changing world where organizations need to catch up, keep up, and move up. This post describes seven sorts of design knowledge that are relevant to the value, impact, and performance of design.