Architecture can be experienced in a solution but it isn’t the solution per se. The solution might be a house, a park, new IT system, an integrated value chain, or a new municipal finance facility.

Great architecture ensures they work. Great architecture ensures they have the capacity to accommodate and adapt to unforeseen situations. Great architecture is the genius, the logic that renders solutions simultaneously timeless and of place.

Enabled by strategic design, TBCG’s Architecture of Impact aligns people, opportunity, place, values and resources to enable the flow of finance and catalyse impact at scale.

Ownership & Commitment – 3 Phase

Strategic design creates solutions with people. It seeks to shape decisions, build commitment and manage risk for those who are critical to its implementation and management.

Strategic design is a deliberative non-linear process of engagement across three iterative phases.

  • Outreach and Alignment‘A Thousand Coffees’* / Agenda Setting / Developing a Third Culture* / Strategic Intent
  • Implementation Tactics and FacilityGovernance and Commitment / Investment and Resourcing / Prototyping and Piloting
  • Stewardship of Implementation* – Scaling / Impact / Monitoring and Reporting

Distributed, Deliberative

Strategic design contests the command and control power structure. Command and control systems of decision-making are failing to translate sound universal policy and programme thinking into local investment opportunities. A distributed model of engagement allows for a structured approach to aligning many voices while the deliberative component provides for these voices to be heard.


Strategic design establishes both the strategy and tactics required to advance ideas and solutions. While mutually supporting its important to note the difference, as chess Grandmaster Savielly Tartakower notes, tactics is knowing what to do when there is something to do, strategy is knowing what to do when there is nothing to do.


Strategic design reveals and builds the agency of people and organisations to innovate and lead change.


Strategic design leverages assets. Understanding and employing assets, whether material place-based, human or abstracted assets such as culture are critical in building the foundations of sustainable development.


Strategic design is integral to increasing the speed at which ‘we make things happen’ by deploying the agency and means of collaborators to specific missions.


Strategic design builds permanent change thereby making redundant the actors, structures and processes used to initiate change.

Deep Growth & Progress

Strategic design is predicated on the idea that deep growth and progress is about transformation and therefore about managing the intersection between being and becoming. Understanding the politics about change is critical. Without this understanding deep growth and progress is not only difficult but will fail to be sustainable.

* A Thousand Coffees is a term coined by TBCG to frame the process by which we break down silos, identify and align collaborators to each other.
* Derived from a term coined by Ruth Hill in the 1960’s, it was initially used to describe children who came from multi-cultural backgrounds. It is used here to describe more broadly the process of building a culture from the many represented across a collaborative effort.
* A term framed by Helsinki Design Lab in their manifesto Recipes for Systemic Change