Enterprise Design Facets
The Enterprise Design Facets provide three fundamental perspectives that relate to any enterprise. They feature a set of questions that an enterprise needs to answer in order to achieve a coherent enterprise design. These questions can be applied at any level of the enterprise: from within the boundaries of a single unit of organisation all the way out to the surrounding ecosystem the enterprise is embedded in.
Each facet references a set of five enterprise elements: three facet elements, and two intersection elements, one at each intersection with a neighbouring facet. These five elements and their relationships are designed to answer the questions of that particular facet, and to allow exploring the interplay between the facets.
The three facets are:
Why does our enterprise exist? Who are we? What matters to us? The answers to these questions are contained in the beliefs the people in an enterprise hold, and expressed through their behaviour. This is reflected and conveyed by the enterprise's purpose, shared story, and content (signals). It is pursued by its organisation and evoked by the perception of its brands. It manifests in the way all enterprise elements are designed, and thereby constitutes a shared identity for the enterprise as a whole to engage people internally and externally, and to position itself in its ecosystem.
How are we running our enterprise? What are we capable of? What makes everything work together? This is answered by the structures needed to make an enterprise operate: the capabilities it possesses, the processes it runs and the organisation and assets it requires to do so, as well as by the structures needed to connect to its ecosystem. They are developed by its organisation and are required to make and deliver the products it offers to people. The emergent aspects of this architecture can be observed and influenced; the intentional enterprise elements can be designed and co-created.
What is the role our enterprise plays in people's lives? What can we do for people? This facet looks at how the enterprise manifests itself in the lives of people involved in its ecosystem, and the impact it has on them through their interactions. This is expressed in their tasks, the journeys they go through, and the channels they use to interact with the enterprise. Enterprises reach out to people through their brands, and make products to be offered to them. All this results in the experience the enterprise sparks in people's reality as a result of getting in touch with the enterprise through its constituent elements.
The area where two facets overlap forms a lens of its own we call an intersection, corresponding to three enterprise elements:
How to use the facets
The facets facilitate exploration, design and co-creation within each individual perspective, as well as across two or more of them at the same time. Each facet acts as a lens that allows one to focus on a particular set of enterprise characteristics of the scope under consideration, highlighting the elements and relationships needed to capture and describe the enterprise from that perspective. Using the facets allows specialists in every discipline to focus on what matters most to them, and express their findings and designs in a way that makes sense not just to their peers, but to everyone else using the facets and their unifying language. Exploring each facet separately provides depth and detailed insight; overlapping and intersecting the facets together provides breadth and holistic oversight.
As the intersections in the image show, all facets overlap and intersect. This illustrates an important feature of the facets: they can be superimposed, meaning that an enterprise (and parts of it) can be viewed through the perspective of each facet, at any moment.
This nature of the facets is illustrated by this generative artwork:
Even if it often makes sense to start your enterprise design journey with just one of the facets, their true potential is realised when designing their interplay as described in the following examples:
- Implement an architecture that delivers your product in the quality your brand promises.
- Create a mission statement people trust by underpinning it with your actual architecture and the experiences you provide to people.
- Create an employee experience that matches employees' expectations based on their enterprise's public identity.
- Enable a customer journey that matches the expectations customers have based on the enterprise's brand promise.
- When people use them, conversations are richer and better.
- Each perspective applies to the whole enterprise but not all its properties – this keeps you focused.
- You can ignore certain aspects by filtering them out to focus your attention; you can shift your perspective and refocus later.
- You can start from the facet you are familiar with, to then shift your perspective and connect to other people's disciplines via the intersections.
- By asking deeper questions and revealing previously unseen elements and dynamics facets complement and enrich existing tools used in enterprise design (such as mission and vision, goal portfolios, product design or operating model definition).
How to read the Facets documentation
Each facet page starts with a single sentence defining the facet being described. This is followed by one or more paragraphs explaining in more detail what the facet represents and what it contributes to the EDGY language. The rest of the page provides additional information, using the following structure:
One or more sentences describing instances of the facet as found in an enterprise context. These examples are not exhaustive; they are just meant to illustrate - in text - how one might use the facet when practicing enterprise design.
A list of ways the facet can be used to identify, explain or highlight important aspects of an enterprise when practicing enterprise design. As is the case with the Examples, these statements are suggestions, not prescriptions, for how an facet can be used. We encourage our readers to be creative and explore other ways they might use a facet in their own practice.
For each facet three facet elements and two intersection elements are listed. These five elements together define the essence of what a facet is about. Conversations within each facet are shaped around these five elements. Design considerations from within each facet start with identifying and describing what the five core elements look like in the enterprise under consideration. Note that we do not say that similar concepts may not be meaningful or useful when having conversations in another facet; in fact they often do, as each facet is in essence a 'lens' or 'filter' highlighting certain aspects while ignoring others. The 'ignored' elements are still there, of course, and may at times be found to be necessary concepts in a conversation.
A list with concepts that are often used as synonyms or near-synonyms of the facet being discussed. These lists are not meant to be complete but to give the reader a broader understanding of how the facet may be used in conversations and design practices. We encourage our readers to amend these lists with their own variants where and when they find that useful in their work.
Artwork credits: Colorem — a generative artwork by Fabio Catapano illustrating the EDGY Enterprise Design Facets, reproduced with the artist's permission.