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Design+Strategies (D+S)

Design+Strategies (D+S) is a research group in Strategic Design of the Design Department in Politecnico di Milano. It applies a strategic approach to design that is systemic and integrated: setting up and running (research) projects by embracing different perspectives in observing the present towards possible futures. D+S experiments at various depth levels of the innovation contexts, aiming to support the transformation processes. It tackles complex transition challenges in public and private organizations at local and international levels by enabling design culture.

Design+Strategies performs research, applied research, and training activities, focusing and exploring the areas of design in organization, design for sustainability transition, and cross-fertilization with creative industries. Design+Strategies lives thanks to a long-established set of experiences shared among professors, researchers, and designers surrounded by a network of professionals, scholars, and practitioners inside and outside academia.


Design in organizations

Design in organizations aims at using design culture and designersly way of doing to enable organisations to balance different resources and needs, both maintaining and creating sources of competitiveness, through intervention, integration, and capacity building.

  • Intervenes at different levels: to bring design culture and approach at different organisational levels to facilitate changes and transformations, from design department, to R&D, as well as to high management level.
  • Intervenes on different phases of innovation: to support organisations from research on users, markets and technology to shaping competitive product and service concept and market offerings.
  • Builds capabilities and involves stakeholders: one the one hand, to empower internal employees and stakeholders; on the other hand, to connect with external experts from different sectors and with different skills to contribute to the organization's innovation.
  • Focuses on different business typologies: to collaborate with different typologies of businesses, from leading companies to SMEs at the local level, as well as start-ups; from business companies to non-profit associations.
  • Supports with methods and tools for actors who are not familiar with any design (thinking) approach and methods.

Design for sustainability transitions

Design guides the sustainability transitions of communities, institutions and companies by promoting innovation and transforming consumption, production and organisational systems. The approach and capabilities of strategic design consider the entire ecosystem by involving all stakeholders in the transition process to explore environmentally, socially and economically sustainable solutions.

  • Applies a systemic approach: to be effective with strategic design actions, complex problems are defined and tackled starting from real contexts, with a particular focus on the urban environment. The identified solutions consider the whole system, including human and non-human stakeholders.
  • Use a participatory approach: engaging stakeholders and communities in co-creation processes facilitating their encounter and collaboration. Co-creation and co-design workshops might lead to empowerment processes and solution-oriented strategies.
  • Envisions multiple futures: using scenario building in defining the steps necessary to achieve and provide effective and sustainable solutions for a preferable/desirable future.
  • Integrates 'business' with environmental and social aspects: the development of business solutions must always go together with the well-being of society and the environment (people+planet+profit).
  • Supports with design methods and tools: to provide people with dedicated and practical (systemic) design guides and tools.

Cross-fertilization with creative industries

Design has its unique capabilities to lead and trigger innovation, which could support not only the Creative Industries to develop new skills for innovation, but also to bridge Creative Industries with other sectors to create new opportunities and forms of innovation.

  • Boosts the innovation potential of Creative Industries, in terms of product and process innovation, sector innovation, territorial innovation, etc.
  • Facilitates cross-fertilization for innovation: bridging the Creative Industries with other industries and sectors, who could benefit from creativity & design-driven innovation.
  • Provides capacity building & cross-fertilisation methods & tools: providing capacity building /training activities to non-design actors/sectors.
  • Supports with methods and tools for actors who are not familiar with any design (thinking) approach and method.