Prepare to Design the Future
March 19–20, 2017: Training
March 20–22, 2017: Tutorials & Conference
San Francisco, CA

The secret to strategic design: Mastering planning

Peter Morville (Semantic Studios)
2:05pm–2:45pm Tuesday, March 21, 2017
Bridging design, technology, and business
Location: California East
Level: Intermediate
Average rating: ***..
(3.09, 11 ratings)

Who is this presentation for?

  • User experience designers, information architects, and product managers

What you'll learn

  • Understand how planning shapes our lives more than we know
  • Learn how to make planning more social, tangible, agile, and reflective
  • Discover planning tools and tactics you can implement immediately


In response to a manager’s question about how to plan products, Alan Kay famously remarked, “The best way to predict the future is to invent it.” His answer invokes a paradox at the heart of design: we can’t know the future, yet it’s what we design for. Peter Morville argues that to practice strategic design successfully in an era of rapid change, connected ecosystems, and disruptive innovation, we must get better at planning.

To start, we must let go of “the plan” and embrace a dynamic way of planning that’s social, tangible, agile, and reflective. We must engage our colleagues in business and technology to align use cases, prototypes, and roadmaps with culture, governance, and process. To design sustainable products, services, and experiences, we must also design the context.

As we struggle to make sense of self-driving cars, conversational interfaces, machine learning, and the internet of things, it’s never been more vital to think expansively about how we might organize the future. Fortunately, since planning is a skill, we can improve. Peter explains how to get better at planning and strategic design by making planning visible.

Photo of Peter Morville

Peter Morville

Semantic Studios

Peter Morville is president of Semantic Studios, where he advises such clients as AT&T, Cisco, Harvard, IBM, Macy’s, the Library of Congress, and the National Cancer Institute. A pioneer of the fields of information architecture and user experience, Peter is the author of a number of best-selling books, including Information Architecture for the World Wide Web, Ambient Findability, Search Patterns, and Intertwingled. His work has been covered by Business Week, the Economist, NPR, and the Wall Street Journal. Peter lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan, with his wife, two daughters, and a dog named Knowsy.