Peter Drucker was a master in the field of business thinking. Earlier this year I stumbled upon his Paradigm of Change Model and I started thinking about how this applied to design.
Drucker's concept is composed of IS, WILL and SHOULD and describes the constant fluctuations of a business. These three states map to operations, tactics and strategy. In this Venn diagram the intersection of IS/WILL and WILL/SHOULD is where interaction design and design strategy emerge as critical to a business' success.
Over the course of many design strategy sessions, we've tweaked the Venn diagram to apply it to the field of interaction design to help clients build great products. I'm going to highlight a few insights from the model above:
- Most businesses get stuck in the IS circle because a solid operation plan keeps the lights on in a business. The problem with staying focused on operations is that you forget to innovate and create new opportunities (the world market can pass you by)!
- Most businesses do not use tactics (WILL circle) enough to test the strategy (SHOULD). Instead, businesses try to confirm the strategy with analytics (thus moving back and forth between IS and SHOULD). While this is a great opportunity, businesses miss the chance to innovate with tactics. Tactics allow a business to innovate much faster.
- Entrepreneurs often have great vision and understand the SHOULD in start-ups, but get lost in the WILL because it takes too much detailed iteration and thinking.
- The intersection between IS and WILL is the sweet spot for interaction design. Coincidentally, it's also the place that most businesses struggle to understand and get done.
- WILL is usually owned by product management, but finding talented product managers to balance the business strategy with stuff that needs to get done is tough. Businesses need to allow product managers the flexibility to create value with tactics (instead of balancing the IS and SHOULD). Innovation can't happen very effectively without tactics.
- Design strategy is the intersection of WILL and SHOULD. In our experience, if a business struggles with interaction design (the intersection of IS and WILL) then it almost always has trouble understanding the value of design strategy.
- Design management requires a solid grasp of all the states of the business and plays a key role in making sure that IS, WILL and SHOULD are all happening in harmony.
We believe this is a great mental framework for understanding how to use interaction design and strategy to manage change in an organization.
Leading the charge at ZURB since 1998