Design-Thinking as a Strategy for Innovation
The profession of management needs a re-design.
Henry Mintzberg, in the Globe and Mail, (03-16-2009) asserts the excessive focus on analysis, targets and number crunching, along with the absence of introspection and imagination has resulted in a crisis in management which is partly to blame for our current financial crisis.
Leaders and managers need to think like designers. “Design and leadership are fundamentally about actively creating the future rather than reacting to the present.” (Leadership Lab, Banff Centre)
When design principles are applied to strategy and innovation the success rate for innovation dramatically improves.
Engineering, medicine, business, architecture, and painting are concerned not with the necessary but with the contingent—not how things are but how they might be—in short, with design. (Simon, 1996, p. xii.)
A design mind-set is not problem-focused, it’s solution focused, and action oriented. It involves both analysis and imagination in problem-solving. Design thinking is at the core of effective strategy development and organizational change. Design Thinking draws upon logic, imagination, intuition, and systemic reasoning, to explore possibilities of what could be, and to create desired outcomes that benefit the end user (the customer).
Design is a proactive stance that resolves or dissolves problematic situations. Designers, clients, and other stakeholders are interconnected by systemic relationships. Systemics is the logic and reasoning of design. Systemic thinking brings focused attention to the connections and relations between people, social institutions, environments, and technologies. As a result, systemics is closely tied to the issue of sustainability in design. (Nelson)
Design thinking processes inform innovation
The design way of thinking can be applied to systems, situations, procedures, protocols, and innovation.
You can design the way you lead, manage, create and innovate. The purpose of design, ultimately, is to improve quality of life.
Design-thinking outcomes include: Finding order out of chaos, elegance, people-centered solutions, emotional appeal, memorable experiences, storytelling, surfacing unseen opportunities, visualizing information, envisioning future possibilities, crystallizing ideas, decision-making, prototyping solutions, efficiency, and producing products and services desired by the customer.
Companies who extend design thinking across the value chain include Apple, Starbucks, LEGO, Sony, Virgin, Whirlpool and Xerox.
Innovation Consulting: Using Design as a Business Strategy
Our approach is to work with organizations from within their particular context, environment and intentions.
Our strategies include:
- Assessing design competence and blocks to design competence
- Redesigning or designing an organization’s structures and processes to enhance design competence
- Providing workshops on systemic thinking and design
- Providing formal educational and training experiences including advanced seminars
Our approach is grounded in the practical and theoretical understanding of design as expressed in the book The Design Way by Harold G. Nelson and Erik Stolterman (MIT Press 2012)
Design Thinking Skills Training
Design thinking is linked to creating an improved future and desired outcomes that benefit the end user (or customer). Our team brings a balance of deep knowledge of design and practice with learning and development as well, as real-world experience to bring this knowledge to life.
Our instructional approach blends enough theory to set the context and create an intellectual understanding of the subject matter, but the majority of the learning takes place experientially through self-discovery, group discussion, and embodied learning involving cognitive, emotional, physical, and aesthetic ways of knowing.
Systems formed by design result in emergent qualities such as competency and team work—qualities that exist only because of the relationships and connections put into place by competent designers. Systemic designing utilizes creativity and innovation in the service of meeting human needs and desires.
Design Thinking for Business Strategy is offered via training, coaching and consulting.