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How design thinking opens new frontiers for strategy development

Strategy & Leadership

ISSN: 1087-8572

Article publication date: 8 March 2019

Issue publication date: 1 April 2019



This article explains how design thinking and practices can identify unexplored opportunities for strategic growth. Increasingly practitioners are learning about powerful ways they can work together, with design mindsets and practices improving the strategy development process in multiple ways.


By integrating design practices into strategy development, practitioners can produce both incremental improvement in the performance of today’s business model and open opportunities to completely transform it.


Using design thinking, to understand the job customers are trying to do and the problem they have doing it allows strategists to craft a new potential offering and shape a value proposition that creates greater value than existing alternatives.”

Practical implications

The first design practice worth integrating into strategy development is human-centered design (HCD), with its tools that explore multiple pathways for growth through the experience of customers, the perspectives of “uncommon” partners, and the untapped local intelligence of employees.


The capability set design thinking offers – the focus on customers’ job-to-be-done, the ability to prototype and experiment, to manage a portfolio of bets, and to foster engagement and alignment – can provide what successful growth, whether incremental or disruptive, demands.



Liedtka, J. and Kaplan, S. (2019), "How design thinking opens new frontiers for strategy development", Strategy & Leadership, Vol. 47 No. 2, pp. 3-10.



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