Have a look at this article by Luke Wroblewski: on Factors Limiting the Organizational Influence of Design.
themes emerged: organizational imbalance, lack of shared understanding, resource constraints, and market dynamics.
I was saddened and heartened by how consistent other designers’ experiences are with my own. Saddened because I had hoped that some one out there had figured it out. Perhaps though that the companies who have figured it out don’t send their designers to listen to Luke and Tom Chi talk about, um, how to figure it out.
Heartened because it tells me that it’s valuable to share what I’ve learned on what works, what to be aware of, and how to keep your feet out of your mouth.
Secondly, have a look at Becky Reed’s article, Use Your UX Skills on the Inside. She also speaks to bringing your design skills to bear in creating influence:
1. Mental Model your Stakeholders, Internal Clients, and Peers
2. Understand Context
3. Design your Solution Iteratively
I don’t touch on her third point in my writing here, but I will! I like how both she and Luke have related the designer framework to the process: “Treat strategic influence like a design problem”.