NIKOS DesignLab Wintertalk “Strategic design: Eight essential practices every strategic designer must master”

11 January 2018 - 19:15 / 21:30


053 489 2079

This Winter Talk is a first of a new series of interactive lectures – 4 every year- organized by NIKOS in collaboration with DesignLab, for students, staff, researchers in and outside UT, and industry contacts in and outside Twente, covering topics on bridging Design, Management, Innovation and Entrepreneurship. For the Spring 2018 talk (date tba), Dr Lianne Simonse from TU Delft is invited to talk about Design Roadmapping.


The role of design is changing: from an operational resource focused solely on the implementation of strategy to a strategic resource used in the formulation of strategy as well. Indicative of this development is the increasing number of appointed Chief Design Officers (CDOs) who fuel their organizations’ internal innovation culture and shape the long-term perspective of organizations. Another indication is large organizations taking over design agencies in droves. Even entrepreneurship is bonding with design, as unicorn companies like Airbnb are not only being founded by designers, but make design principles the core of their offering and growth strategy.

This presentation will identify how design can create strategic value both in terms of product outcomes as well as in terms of a strategic way of working that assist organizations to innovate more effectively. The presentation will furthermore discuss specific design practices, abilities, and tools that are useful when operating on a strategic level. Finally, the presentation will discuss effective design leadership, which, among other things, asks for a ‘balancing act’ between rationality versus intuition, logic versus emotion, and blue sky thinking versus pragmatism.


Gerda Gemser is one of five international Professors of Design appointed by Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT University) to further strengthen the University’s leadership and expansion of design research. She received her PhD in Management at the Rotterdam School of Management (Erasmus University Rotterdam, the Netherlands).


Gerda Gemser

She has been a visiting scholar at leading research universities, including The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania (US) and Saunder School of Business, The University of British Columbia (Canada). She has collaborated with and consulted government, professional design associations, and industry in different large-scale research projects on the role of design in the corporate world.  On this topic, she has published numerous articles in leading academic journals such as Organization Science, Organization Studies, Journal of Management, and Journal of Product Innovation Management. She has recently co-authored a book entitled “Strategic design: Eight essential practices every strategic designer must master” (, which contains the latest knowledge on effective strategic design.


19.15 – Doors open and coffee/tea
19.45 – Welcome and introductions
20.00 – Lecture and discussion
21.00 – Drinks
21.30 – Closing