If you are thinking that designer is the odd man out, Luke Wroblewski will clear your doubt:
Designer: “Design is the physical, or in this case digital, manifestation of your product strategy. Of course we could define your customers’ experience with ‘paint by number’. But I think you’d agree we should figure out what you want to say to your customers and why before we dive into how we’re going to say it.”
Well, this is answer to a question, but provides the crux. Joshua Porter elaborates, and elaborates good on this. He explains and illustrates how strategy affects design, and why designers should be involved in business discussions.
The principle I try to follow is that all technical decisions should be based on some business decision(s). Technology is not for itself, and so the technical decisions cannot stand for themselves. Their value exists only in context of their relation to the underlying business decision. Another interesting aspect here is that design is not only graphical design, design is soul of the product and it represents your idea, your needs or your business.
Does this mean that a designer needs to get involved in the business as well? No, but a designer should be able to get any business information required to take decisions. Like Joshua says
Designers need a place at the strategy table because their work depends on and is a direct result of it. If it’s not already, realizing the business strategy of the organization in an interface should be the designer’s primary job description.
Another important thing that comes out of Luke’s answer, is to know what and why before we dive into the how. Why is what takes us to root of all the decisions, and that root is usually a business aspect, not a technical one. I call it designing with a why. Requirements is a weak word in this context, you are trying to find out why should something exist at all, and that something can as well be a single element of your design.
In one of the projects, I was continuously referred to as the “look and feel guy”. Not that I objected, but that would be the last label I would want – I am not a graphics designer. However, as the project proceeded it became amply clear that the purpose of design is to understand the needs and provide a usable solution. And we ended up discussing about a lot of things. If a good design has to provide a good solution, it has to understand the strategy it has to be part of and it has to understand the needs and problems it has to target.