Product-service strategy

Case study

Positioning design in an organisation

  • Positioning design in an organisation

A recently formed service design team in a multinational had received a mandate to increase its influence over the experience quality of the company’s products and services. Plan was asked to advise on how it should define its role and position within the company, as well as the structure and resources required to deliver. Rather than adopt an incremental approach, the ambition was to learn from product experience leaders in other sectors.

In the space of a few weeks, we quickly immersed ourselves in the company context through stakeholder interviews. We then developed recommendations on how the experience design function should position its role within the company. These recommendations drew on case studies of product experience leaders in their respective industries, and how their design departments had evolved, positioned and structured themselves. These covered level of board-level support, investment in exploration, design approach and priorities, departmental structure and use of external resources.

These recommendations were presented to the board and sponsorship was gained for expansion of the design team’s remit.

To hear more about our work or get advice from one of our experts
Contact us


  • Organisation and culture

Project type

Design structures

Some design management questions are perennial: Where should the design function sit within the organisation structure? What’s the best structure for the design team? What’s the right balance between in-house and consultancy resources? There are no universal answers however, only optimal solutions for specific circumstances.

We help optimise structures and configure resources to meet shifting business contexts. Managers understand their internal situations better than any consultancy can, however we bring an external perspective, including reference points from other industries and expertise in building  compelling cases that blend internal and external inputs.