Having articulated and refined a shared understanding of motivation, needs, offers, and value propositions, it is time to give consideration to designing how the offer will be created and delivered.  This requires us to give some clear thought to the process of “design”. In so doing, we come much closer to thinking about:

  • systems thinking
  • design thinking

Systems thinking

This is a well-documented discipline, but one that is not as broadly adopted as it could afford to be – offering significant value to leaders considering their enterprise-as-a-system.

In this case, we can explore:

  • how the enterprise of “bringing it all together” can derive benefit from a systems thinking view
  • how the enterprise transformation lifecycle brings systems thinking to bear in a practical manner for directors, executives, leaders and change professionals

Design thinking

Similarly, design thinking has enjoyed a surge in popularity in a wide variety of fields.

We will make evident the manner in which the design activity is consistent with design thinking principles as we make explicit the approach being taken to “bringing it all together” and to applying the enterprise transformation lifecycle.


Use and experience

A critical element in the design of a product is the use that will be made of the product.  Similarly, a critical element in the design of a service is the use that will be made of the service and the experience that the consumer will have.

This requires the designer to put themselves “in the shoes” of the prospective user and that includes putting themselves “in the mind” of the prospective user.

Design thinking has gained considerable popularity because it has helped in restoring the “voice of the consumer” where consumer considerations had not previously been given sufficient attention and consideration.  This has been particularly evident in the design of IT systems, where the focus is often on “what the system does” rather than “how the system will be used”.

System in focus and containing systems

In designing enterprises, consideration can be given to designing an enterprise-as-a-system.  In such circumstances, the consideration of use and experience, requires attention to the “containing system” in which the stakeholders of the enterprise operate.  For commercial enterprises, this containing system is the “market”.  For other enterprises, the containing system may be the market or the community or some other social environment.

This requires attention to the enterprise-as-system-in-focus and the enterprise-in-containing-system.  It is often helpful to make explicit which “system” is being considered, as confusion can easily arise when referencing “the system” in more general terms.


Enterprises are social systems operating within social systems.  Why is that important?

People are intrinsic to social systems.  As sentient beings, we are able to take account of feedback, whether that is feedback from other people within the enterprise or external to the enterprise.  This feedback can lead to changed thinking and behaviour, causing us to change the operation, the design and even the architecture of then enterprise.

On the one hand, this provides a significant advantage, enabling the enterprise to be more agile and adapt to changing circumstances.  On the other hand, it can lead to the enterprise operating in ways that were not conceived of in terms of the architecture and design of the enterprise.

In essence, this leads to the re-purposing of parts or the whole of the enterprise, either intentionally or unintentionally, a factor which is helpful to understand in leading and shaping next generation enterprises.


There are a number of principles which are helpful in architecting and designing enterprises.  These include the following principles outlined in other articles:

Bringing it all together

Having developed and refined an articulation of the design of the enterprise, this can prompt the refining of the articulation of:

  • the needs of prospective consumers
  • the offer being made by the enterprise
  • the motivations and purpose of the enterprise

This can result in the dynamics in following diagram.


Enterprise modeling

Applying the design step to the undertaking of the articulation of the enterprise transformation lifecycle on this site prompts attention to:

  • the elements of the lifecycle
  • the manner in which these elements will be used by next generation leaders
  • the differing levels of understanding that each leader may have
  • the manner in which any leader can design their own journey through this site
  • the experience of any leader as they pursue their journey through this site

This has led to giving attention to:

  • the language used
  • the presentation of visuals and supporting narrative
  • the provision of links to articles offering greater detail
  • the provision of examples that help make evident the manner in which each step has been applied in differing circumstances

Enterprise transformation lifecycle

The application of the design step takes leaders from the articulation of the business model to the expression of the operating model, where the operating model gives expression to the manner in which the enterprise will realise the business model in practical terms.

This takes leaders through the second step in the enterprise transformation lifecycle shown below.


Lifecycle links

In outlining the design element of “bringing it all together”, an example has been provided for one of the key steps for any enterprise – designing the operating model by which the enterprise will develop and deliver its product and service offerings.

Further elaboration can be found through the following links: