Luke Wroblewski, 2006, Defining the Problem:
how can design become part of the strategic process? As outlined above, my response is “by helping to define (or redefine) the problem your business needs to address.” Because they research and dissect user needs, designers are in a unique position to define a problem through the eyes of customers. Because they think and act holistically, designers are able to articulate relationships within a market, across product ecosystems, and between customer needs and business goals. Because they can communicate visually and with narrative, designers are able to effectively articulate these definitions to product teams and stakeholders.
If you’re a designer and you follow Jonathan Courtney (you really should), then you know that he’s been hammering the point that designer can no longer exclusively concern themselves the user while neglecting the big picture of the business and how it works, lest they be relegated to a production role. Luke Wroblewski was making a similar point above back in 2006. What I found further interesting is his articulation of how designers can bring a perspective to the table when discussing strategy that is unique to them and their relationship to the customer across product ecosystems and with relation to business goals.