Organizational change, framework or strategy


Because of its ability to take a systems lens and apply different perspectives to a problem, design can be a strong partner in stimulating change on an organizational and cultural level. Structurally, this can include redesigning roles or functions, operating models, ways of organizing responsibility areas and tasks. Culturally, this can include language used, communications transparency, behaviors and ways of working, mindsets, skillsets and confidence/agency to take action.

Although different design partners may lean toward certain methods and corresponding outputs along the way to developing frameworks for rethinking and changing organizations and cultures, some typical outputs you should expect to see at the outset of the work include Alignment Workshop, Stakeholder Interviews, & Stakeholder Map. Critical to the process will then be Research Insights, Personas, Systems Maps, and Co-design Workshops, Current/Future State Service Blueprint, & Project Roadmap. It is also important to note that different firms may name these outputs in slightly different ways. The list provided here will get you started on the conversation you will want to have with your design partner to get everyone on the same page.

Common outputs or deliverables

Alignment workshop

A tailored set of activities that help the team and key stakeholders define project expectations and create a shared understanding of the problem space. Alignment workshops and stakeholder interviews can often occur iteratively.

Stakeholder interviews

Interviews with project stakeholders that help clarify the problem space and define successful outcomes. Alignment workshops and stakeholder interviews can often occur iteratively.


Also known as Archetypes or profiles

User profiles that represent the varied behavior patterns enacted by different members of a group. Personas provide a way in to understanding why a user does something at a particular moment or in relation to a particular set of issues, and how this evidences what they desire to achieve through that behavior.

Research insights

To arrive at a set of key research insights, design research - involving interviews, observations, interacting with real life or imagined artefacts - will be used. Design research is intended to provide a deeper understanding of user needs, motivations, perspectives and behaviors. The patterns synthesized from these activities are presented as Research Insights. When done well, these insights will (1) involves tension; (2) be true, but not obvious; (3) strike an emotional response; (4) inspires the audience to think or feel differently.

Stakeholder map

A stakeholder map is a visual diagram of project stakeholders, their roles and their relationship to one another.

Journey map

A journey map visualizes the user's journey over time and across various touchpoints.

Experience map

An experience map builds on a journey map by adding a specific focus on the user's experience and emotions.

System map

A system map visually communicates the relationship between people, services, and touch points that surround them.

'How might we' questions

Also known as Opportunity spaces

How Might We? is a positive, actionable question that frames the challenge but does not point to any one solution. It is often used as a device to prompt focus on a specific topic and generate ideas around it. The How Might We method is constructed in a way that opens the field for new ideas, admits that we do not currently know the answer, and encourages a collaborative approach to solving it.


HMW's and co-design are activities aimed at generating and prioritizing ideas, which are then developed into memorable “mental constructs” that represent new opportunities. Typically designers come up with several ideas to solve a problem and then evaluate the effectiveness of these ideas with users before turning them into more fully developed concepts.

Co-design workshops

A co-design workshop is an opportunity to bring citizens, front-line staff, and program area staff together to design together with them, rather than for them. Co-design sessions are about making things and iterating together during the design process to ensure the results meet people's needs and are usable.


Typically designers come up with several ideas to solve a problem and then evaluate the effectiveness of these ideas with users before turning them into more fully developed concepts. A concept is a form of an idea that has gone through a more detailed process of iteration and fine-tuning.


A wireframe is commonly used to lay out content and functionality of a digital solution that takes into account user needs and user journeys. They are often are used early in the development process to establish the basic structure of a digital solution before visual design and content is added.


A visual method for envisioning the components of a future experience with a solution, while also setting the context and telling a human story.


A prototype is an early sample, model, or release of a product or service or artefact to test a concept or process with ultimate users. Prototypes are then iterated upon and refined further with each testing and feedback cycle.

Prioritization framework

A method for ranking and evaluating ideas based on desirability, viability, feasibility, and other factors that the team identifies as critical to measuring the value of a prototype solution to its users.

Current/future state service blueprint

A current-state operational diagram that depicts how a service operates currently, with enough detail to understand and maintain it. A future state operational diagram that depicts how a future service could operate with enough detail to build and implement it.

Project roadmap

A framework over time outlining the different phases of work and 'incremental' releases or launches from current state to future state for a service or product to achieve successful uptake.

Tips and tricks

  • If you have any questions on any terminology check Glossary of design terms
  • Consider that design outputs are not formulaic or template-based, and so some design partners may use different terminology to refer to similar methods/outputs. On the flip side, sometimes design partners will use the same terminology and produce slightly different outputs in terms of level of detail or structure depending on the focus or information available.
  • Consider that these are just a selection of some of the more typical design outputs from a design process, though there are a myriad of others that are not listed here, and could be more useful for your objectives. Be open to the potential for other outputs not listed here, and use this set to guide conversations with your partner!


  • Beware of partners who believe there is only one way of creating a particular output and get them to work with you to ensure that you feel like you are able to track the progress of the investment through the production of outputs along the way.

Questions for potential partners

  • How would you describe your approach to developing outputs along the way? Are they only used internally for the design team or are they externally shareable as strategic decision-making tools?
  • How is the way you produce [name specific output(s)] different or the same from how other design partners may produce them?
  • Can you walk me through some examples of [name specific output(s)]? How did these outputs help you keep track of the project and successfully arrive at the final deliverable?