Design Strategy: MDF Package #5


Matt Kurowski
5 min readFeb 18, 2021

Just when you thought you were safe…

Photo by Jamie Haughton on Unsplash

Assess the impact on your strategic thinking so far

After the recent changes from our client (like government spending decisions, lockdowns and revenue thinking), we’ve got a few decisions to make. What impact is there on your idea and/or solution? Do the metrics change? Also, how does this pivot make you feel? Why?

Make a decision to “lead or follow”: do you go with the flow of the client’s pivot and really help them realise their strategy based on their decisions? Or do you spar with them, challenge this recent thinking and give them reasons to stay the course?

One of the best design tools to holistically display the impact of a product and/or service is to create a service blueprint. A service blueprint is a tool commonly used in service design, but is also often extended as a strategic tool for change management initiatives driven by design; as it portrays a collaborative outside-in / inside-out relationship between touchpoints, processes, systems and people.

Photo by Mariah Solomon on Unsplash

Build out the process, tech and people capabilities required to support your final design idea. Use the 8 Ps. Use a storyboard as a baseline to build out your blueprint around your final idea by adding layers relating to people, process and technology. Once you have done this, identify the impact of the pivot on your blueprint. Does your design still retain its strategic impact despite the pivot and change? What areas of your solution might be affected by this change? What areas of your narrative may need tweaking in response to the pivot?

Be sure to also refer to your business model canvas and design audit to inform your thinking on the impact of your pivot. As always, document and justify your results.


Draw up a service blueprint on your chosen design solution. This does not need to be a behemoth blueprint, as you would not have gathered the detail necessary in this subject. Key phases, touchpoints and interactions is what is needed.

Display (in dot point form or how you please) what will change in each step of the blueprint due to the impact of the pivot.

Document any key gaps and capabilities required as a result of the impact of the pivot (you should document the key gaps and capabilities for your solution any way)

Finalise your strategic design and document your assessment and/or changes in response to the pivot.


Assess the feasibility of your solution

Feasibility is the other side to the pragmatic, business coin. Feasibility looks at the practicalities of running what looks to be a viable design strategy. What do I mean by practicalities?

Practicalities are:

The people and their ways of working in the business

The processes and information/knowledge flows across the value chain of the business

The technology that exists to enable the business to function

Each of these three core components – people, process and tech – have their own level of current capabilities. Your design strategy and solution will inevitably impact the current state of these three aspects that underpin feasibility.


· With your blueprint, identify the feasibility of your solution in relation to the pivot. Does this make some of your ideas unrealistic? Or will it ensure your strategy is even more pragmatic? Specifically, how does the functioning of your new business structure contribute to your assigned metric/s? Document your analysis


Bonus activity associated with this lecture: Have a go at designing an operating model or a roadmap that would support your design strategy. This is not a mandatory exercise, but simply something to give you a taste of the practical deliverables we create in our work and are foundational to strategy projects.

Bonus Bonus Activity:

Use a basic bullseye template to map out your key stakeholders and resource dependencies. Highlight key relationships that may change due to the impact of your pivot.

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Play in the abstract space

Consider the conventional strategy tools available to you (such as from Playing to Win). Map out your proposed strategy and then do another based on the client’s pivot. Compare and contrast them.

Then, consider some emerging strategic tools and theory, ones focused on purpose, mission and public good. Mission-oriented innovation is a good one. Explore the framework and ask yourself what grand challenge, mission etc. our client is a part of. How does this tool, when used as a canvas, help us to consider the systemic challenges and opportunities of a (stealthy) purpose-driven business?

By combining your strategic explorations across private and public considerations we can begin to ask much more meaningful questions about both our role as designers and the role of organisations (such as our client) in the larger ecosystemic questions which we are increasingly beholden to.

Photo by Kyle Glenn on Unsplash

Outcomes of this package

This is the second last package drop for Design Strategy. You have probably considered and built:

  1. service blueprints
  2. business model canvas
  3. BDA (before-during-after) organisational change stories
  4. value proposition canvas
  5. strategic documentation
  6. personas
  7. mission-oriented contexts

Having these all shaped up and doing work is a good place to be. This means that you’re pretty close to your final proposal to our client. Start asking yourself, “If I am going to pitch this in a couple of weeks, what do I still need to do to believe what I’m saying?”

Lastly, are you convinced of the client’s pivot? Why? Why not? REFLECT and share!


Hat-tip to Marius Foley for the earlier version of this doc!



Matt Kurowski

Senior consultant and advisor for sustainable organisational innovation (SMEs); industry fellow at RMIT School of Design.