The Fountain Institute

The 95% Problem

Published 8 months ago • 2 min read

The 95% Problem

by Jeff Humble

Dear Reader,

Welcome back from summer vacation, y'all. 👋🌞 I hope you wore sunscreen and aren't too depressed to be at work again.

Have a seat in your ergonomic Eames chair because this is a mind-boggling stat:

95% of employees don't understand their company's strategy.

So, nearly all employees are getting zero guidance from their company's strategy. The strategy may as well be on an ancient scroll in a language they don't understand. This stat should be your new design challenge.

I don't think people misunderstand strategy because they're stupid. I think that people don't get strategy because companies just aren't very good at it.

Companies over-complicate strategy to the point where people roll their eyes and give up. They often under-research strategy and turn company strategy into a biased, personal vision. Or they under-communicate strategy without visuals, models, or artifacts.

Designers who want to be strategists can solve these problems with the skills they already have.

I like to think of strategy as practicing design but on a larger scale. Design and strategy share many similarities:

  1. Both are future-oriented: design and strategy are about creating artifacts that guide people toward the most desirable futures using a long-term perspective
  2. Both are about problem-solving: most designers don't realize that strategy is about overcoming an internal or external business challenge...which means the process is quite similar!
  3. Both are user-centered: both design and strategy are catered to the needs of the users or stakeholders involved.
  4. Both are creative: design and strategy rely on novel approaches and visuals to develop innovative solutions that think outside of the box.
  5. Both are iterative: good strategists adapt their plans to market feedback just as designers adapt their designs to user feedback.

The design strategist takes their design skills and applies them to business problems. They work full-time in strategy operations to make sure that everyone understands strategy.

That doesn't necessarily require new skills, but it does require a new mindset. And it pays much better.

The 95% problem can be your new favorite problem.

Join us in September and get trained in the mindsets and methods of UX strategy, the easiest way to get started in design strategy. And it's probably the only way you can get your company to pay for it! 😉

You will finish the course with a unique UX strategy for your company, researched and designed with the guidance of experts.

Take the first step toward a career in design strategy.

Only 3 seats left, and enrollment closes on September 1st!

As you return from your summer vacation, ask yourself: "Am I earning or learning at my job?" Now that you're refreshed (and hopefully a bit tanner), what changes can you make in your career? Gary Tan, CEO of Y Combinator, shares some advice that can help you decide if you're in the right place in your career:

Source, shared by Filipe Monteiro in the Guild

Defining UX Strategy: LIVE
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Shared by Linus Mimetz in the Guild

Stay strategic & experimental. ✌️

Jeff Humble
Designer & Co-Founder
The Fountain Institute

The Fountain Institute

The Fountain Institute is an independent online school that teaches advanced UX & product skills.

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