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Resources for Strategic Design Work

Written by
Maggie Henderson

As our practice continues to evolve, we keep our eyes peeled for new and emerging philosophies, resources and tools used for strategic design work. We thought we’d share a few tried-and-true as well as new, open source tools for folks interested in, getting started in, or practicing strategic design.

New and Emerging

Life-Centered Design Resources

Life-centered design is an emerging practice that expands upon the practice of human-centered design to not only consider human impact, but also environmental impact. is a collection of resources and references that is as ever-evolving as the philosophy itself.

Equity-Centered Community Design (ECCD)

Our friends at the Creative Reaction Lab have introduced their own approach to creative problem solving, built upon equity and humility-building, while integrating history and healing practices. This design process, called Equity-Centered Community Design (ECCD), focuses on a community’s culture and needs so that they can gain tools to dismantle systemic oppression and create a future with equity for all. Reference their website and Field Guide for the mindset and tools to apply ECCD to your own practice.

Dark Matter and Trojan Horses

“…Effective design means engaging with the messy politics—the dark matter—taking place above the designer’s head.” Dan Hill’s Dark Matter and Trojan Horses is an important book in that it argues that the design of a well-facilitated strategy (critical design) considers the framework, tempo, elevation and the politics surrounding what’s being solved through a new strategy.

Anti-Racist Business Book

DEI business coach, Trudi Lebrón, shares ways to create an antiracist business in a capitalist system, by showing readers how to make the shift from toxic capitalism to justice-based commerce, how to move from the streets to the suites (“-isms” in business), and how to redefine and re-envision their relationship with wealth.

Oldies but Goodies

101 Design Methods

Featuring a practical set of collaborative tools and methods for every stage of the design process, this book by Vijay Kumar—a professor at the Illinois Institute of Technology’s Institute of Design in Chicago—is a go-to for innovators, researchers, strategists and design practitioners.

Innovating for People

We’re big fans of a handy card deck. The LUMA Institute—which exists to empower everyone to make things better—has a card deck of 36 human-centered design methods and an accompanying guide that are essential additions to the library of any human-centered design advocate or innovator.


Gamestorming is a set of gamified co-creation tools designed to help you be more innovative and creative, in a fun and engaging way. The playbook includes more than 80 games to help you break down barriers, communicate better, and generate new ideas, insights, and strategies.

Intro to Design Thinking

Here’s a shameless plug because there’s no better way to learn than through a collaborative, hands-on experience. Join Further Degree for one of our virtual or in-person trainings, which utilize a four-part framework to discover, analyze, create, and develop a contextualized product or service to equip you with the tools to put humans and their context at the heart of your innovation efforts

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