What is the boundary between design and strategy?

EJ: I want to be involved in a strategic process, like researching the problem, planning the product before start designing. Often in a design agency, I had to design with not enough information. One time I had to design the poster without knowing anything about the client. I was asked to design massive amount in few days. I felt stupid doing all of that without knowing what it was for. 

SV: I think there was must be a reason why. 

EJ: The person who asked me to do wanted me to not have limitation being creative. 

SV: It’s the same in strategy, too. sometimes you have to go beyond the sexy part of the strategy. You have to read a lot, go back to interview recordings and listen for hours until someone says something you find interesting and then write it down. 

EJ: It doesn’t sound that sexy, but there is a purpose to that. You are doing all of that to find the insight. But if you don’t know what you are designing, just being creative doesn’t make the product good. 

SV: Yeah! It’s frustrating for strategists too. Doing all the researching and then later not being able to figure out the problem or figuring out the wrong problem. Somehow it’s similar to your poster situation. You may feel that don’t know what you are doing. But by doing it anyway, you end up in a good place. There is creativity in strategy too, and there is the strategy in design as well. They are not separate each other. The role of designers is to think differently than how strategists would think. Strategists may be limited by what they know and may not be able to think abstractly enough. 

EJ: Thank you for your thought, that will help a lot for people who are like me. 

SV is a Senior Strategist working in NYC