DESIGN GPS

A human-centered strategy planning framework

Purpose + Success = Action

Align stakeholders over a shared vision, identify mission critical goals and take actionable next steps – all in one sitting.

Great to use when planning a project, setting OKRs or defining a strategy

© Aril Studios LLC. All rights reserved.

Origin

Design GPS started as a 13-year-old's strategy to get out of her summer job in Myanmar faster, but evolved into an impact-making tool as far as in Silicon Valley.

2004, Summer: At 13-years-old, Saya starts working as an art teacher at the school her parents founded in Myanmar. She devises a strategy that helps her work faster, so that she can go play: identify what success looks like for her stakeholder (her mom) and customers (preschoolers), and plan how she'll get there.

2012: Saya graduates from Bard College and returns to Myanmar to manage the school. She uses the same strategy from when she was 13-years-old to help the local faculty, versed only in [rote learning]https://www.betterhelp.com/advice/memory/why-rote-memory-doesnt-help-you-learn/), create child-centered experiential curriculums.

2016: After graduating with a Master's in Education from Stanford University, Saya teams up with Celena (VP of Strategic Partnerships at Nasdaq Entrepreneurial Center) to productize the framework and help teams get to their best work faster and smarter.

Design GPS helps teams in Silicon Valley get to their important work faster and smarter. They work with Fortune 100s, school districts, state universities and high-growth startups to strategize high-impact projects –whether it's about connecting 10+ high schools together via technology, developing a talent brand or launching an innovation program. Teams love that it is a streamlined way to integrated Design Thinking into their project planning.

Today: After 3 years of R&D and multiple case studies, we're sharing Design GPS with the world. We want to help you make the impact you envision. This is for you

Purpose + Success = Action

Starting off on a good foot is crucial for any project, but it's not always easy.

Design GPS is effective for organizations under pressure to execute but are slowed down by complexity such as:
Responsibility to a diverse base of stakeholdersCross-team collaborations + siloed departmentsOrganizational pressures + evolving business relationships - Shrinking or limited resourcesServing multiple/diverse customersGrowing pains as organizations grow/develop
We've outlined the basic Design GPS framework to follow. If you have multiple stakeholders, we recommend you work together to define these areas.

Step 1: Purpose:
Define your customer. Who are you serving? What are their characteristics? What are their challenges? Bring your customer to life.

This is a vital step when working with multiple stakeholders. It centers everyone to serve the customer, rather than adhere to individual goals. This step brought stakeholders closer to their customer (instead of their individual OKRs) during a Talent Brand strategy development session at DoorDash.

Step 2: Success
Think of your customer. How does success look like for them? How do you know when they are successful? What is the end state you're aspiring for?

This will become your north star. This exercise helped us align 35 school district stakeholders (superintendent, teachers, principals) from Colton JT Unified School District on a shared vision in under one hour. This is also a great way to set Objectives when defining OKRs.

Step 3: Action:
Now that you know where you want your customer to be, think of how you will help them get there. Identify if you're providing products or experiences.

Bonus: Execution: Once you carve out the core things that will take your customer from where they are to their state of success, figure out the details. Who will lead this project? What is the deadline? What are the next steps to flesh out?

Not detailed enough? Our goal is to make this framework as easy as possible for you to use, but we know it's not always that easy. If you'd like our facilitation guide and a starter toolkit, subscribe with your email here!

Try It

Subscribe to access your starter toolkit and a facilitation guide^, as well as other tips and tricks that will help you adopt Design GPS into your project kickoff routine.

^Content is currently being updated so subscribe for now and we'll send them over when ready!

What are others saying?

“We ran our concept by the dean a couple months after our session and she loved it. Now that the general framework is established, I can run it through the approval process and get feedback quicker.”

Department Chair, SF State University

“We realized quickly that what we assumed students wanted wasn’t actually what they needed.”

Teacher, Colton JT Unified (in partnership with Cisco)

Thank you

We're actively working on some content so stay tuned!

Design GPS is a continuously evolving product. We'd love to hear feedback so that it can be even better. Our goal is to serve you, so don't hesitate to let us know what worked and what didn't!