Traditional definitions of design often focus on creating discrete solutions—be it a product, a building, or a service. Strategic design applies some of the principles of traditional design to “big picture” systemic challenges like health care, education, and climate change. It redefines how problems are approached, identifies opportunities for action, and helps deliver more complete and resilient solutions. Strategic design is about crafting decision-making.

This works best when design is integrated into the DNA of organizations, creating new opportunities for designers with a strategic aptitude to migrate from studios and ateliers to integrated positions, embedded within organizations and governments.

Helsinki Design Lab seeks to expand the practice of design beyond of the realm of cultural affairs. Although many of us have backgrounds in architecture or other fields of traditional design, HDL’s work is focused on honing the skill set and mindset of the designer to help solve the challenges faced by the interdependent world.

Design strategy is a discipline which helps firms determine what to make and do, why do it and how to innovate contextually, both immediately and over the long-term. This process involves the interplay between design and business strategy.

While not always required, design strategy often uses social research methods to help ground the results and mitigate the risk of any course of action. The approach has proved useful for companies in a variety of strategic scenarios.