Barriers to Strategic Design: A Perspective from China

Sylvia Xihui Liu, Cees de Bont

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Strategic design is a driver for innovation that can lead to sustainable competitive advantage. Over the past two decades, the barriers limiting breakthrough strategic design development have been studied in much detail. However, that research is based on well-developed practices in Europe, where strategic design and innovation capabilities have been nurtured for a long period. Barriers to the adoption of strategic design practices and leadership have seldom been studied in high growth economies in which design and innovation competencies are not yet mature. We examined design-led innovation cases from Chinese design clients and consultancies, and uncovered twelve barriers to strategic design practice and leadership in China. Six of these are similar to hindrances experienced elsewhere, and the other six are unique to this study. We found that in China, certain constraints limiting the adoption of strategic design in practice exist in the environment outside the firm. Based on these findings, we offer suggestions to stakeholders for overcoming the barriers to utilizing design at the strategic level.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)133-145
Number of pages13
JournalShe Ji
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2017


  • Breakthrough innovation
  • Design implementation
  • Design-led innovation
  • Strategic design

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Economics, Econometrics and Finance(all)
  • Management of Technology and Innovation

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