As interest grows in design as an efficacious form of open inquiry integrated with an effective approach to action—i.e. inquiry for action or thinking for doing—it is important to keep in mind that design is not a method or recipe for prescriptive reaction but an intentional stance one takes towards life. It is also important to keep in mind that good design is not just another approach to problem solving. Design is a process for determining desired directions to take and strategies for following through with actions that result in the realization of desired outcomes or states of affairs in organizations and other social systems. Design in organizations—governmental and business—is played out in three different ways in the guise of organizational design competence (see Figure below).
Organizational Design Competency
As a leadership stance, design competence is the capacity to create or recreate whole organizations or major systems within organizations. As a management approach, design competence is the requisite ability to create tools, procedures, processes, structures, and other instrumentalities that support the operations of successful organizations. As an interface between the organization and its constituency, design competence is the form of expertise that creates products, experiences or services for clients, stakeholders and society as a whole.
Design competence is the ability to make desired changes in the right directions, for the right reasons using the right processes. It is driven by what is desired to be brought into the world rather than what is feared about the world as it exists.