The Design of Business: Why Design Thinking is the Next Competitive Advantage

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  • ISBN13: 9781422177808
  • Condition: NEW
  • Notes: Brand New from Publisher. No Remainder Mark.

Product Description
Most companies today have innovation envy. They yearn to come up with a game-changing innovation like Apple’s iPod, or create an entirely new category like Facebook. Many make genuine efforts to be innovative-they spend on R&D, bring in creative designers, hire innovation consultants. But they get disappointing results.

Why? In The Design of Business, Roger Martin offers a compelling and provocative answer: we rely far too exclusively on analytical thinki… More >>

The Design of Business: Why Design Thinking is the Next Competitive Advantage

6 Comments For This Post

  1. thomas adair Says:

    Game changer for business.

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  2. Robert D. Steele Says:

    First off, what got me to buy this book does not appear in the book at all–the author on record as saying that Wall Street was not designed to make money for its investors, only for its mandarins–the same is true of how universities are designed, businesses, etc. but that one observation really got my attention. I bought the book before BusinessWeek featured it as one of four in the October 5th edition (Europe version), and after looking the others over, chose this one.

    In the larger context of changes to the Earth that now take three years instead of ten thousand years, as an entire literature flourishes on The Philosophy of Sustainable Design, Green to Gold: How Smart Companies Use Environmental Strategy to Innovate, Create Value, and Build Competitive Advantage and Natural Capitalism: Creating the Next Industrial Revolution, the book is a four for narrow-casting and lack of context, but you can use Phi Beta Iota, the Public Intelligence Blog, to search and sort among my other 1,400 reviews, so no penalty is warranted, This book will be scored Beyond 6 Stars at PBI/PIB for the simple reason that it addresses the core need of all eight tribes of intelligence (academia, civil society, commerce, government, law enforcement, media, military, and non-governmental organizations), to re-design away from the Industrial Era waste (where Six Sigma stops), and to instead envision how the world could and should be, and set out to achieve that–a prosperous world at peace.

    I am eagerly awaiting Redesigning Society (Stanford Business Books) and consider its author, Russell Ackoff, to be the equal of Buckminster Fuller. The author of this book, Roger Martin, in my judgment, not only equal Dean Gartner and his seminal work, The Politics of Fortune: A New Agenda For Business Leaders but moves to another higher plane with all that this book sets forth. I funded the Earth Intelligence Network (EIN), a 501c3 Public Charity, after twenty years to trying to get secret intelligence communities to redesign, and this book has not only articulated all that I could not, but it is written simply enough for any bureaucrat to understand. In that sense, it joins Orbiting the Giant Hairball: A Corporate Fool’s Guide to Surviving with Grace as a primer and an inspiration.

    Here are my fly-leaf notes. I hope that someone close to the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) will flag this for his attention, because I believe that this book not only can save the $75 billion a year tar-pit that the DNI is nominally in charge of, but that the national intelligence community, if it were led properly, could be the seed crystal for the redesign of the US Government and of the United States of America, to the lasting benefit of all humanity.

    Here are my fly-leaf notes that seek to summarize this extraordinary work in terms applicable to creating a Smart Nation such as Congressman Rob Simmons (R-CT-02) and I sought to lay out in THE SMART NATION ACT: Public Intelligence in the Public Interest

    + Design thinking is abductive thinking, neither deductive (from general to specific) nor inductive (from specific to general, the academics call this ethnocentric studies now). It seeks to employ observation and imagination to explore, to intuit, and to create “new ways.”

    + Design thinking is NOT an unaffordable flight of fancy. CEOs must keep their designers connected to the triangle of envisioned needs for which no poll or survey exists; technology on the bleeding edge of innovation, AND business bottom-line common sense. The author takes great care to stress the need for blending. Design thinking is NOT an either-or proposition, but rather a HYBRID that takes best of the best to a new level.

    + The author credits James March and the knowledge funnel as being the information operations (IO) aspect of design in that writ large, design moves knowledge from mystery (climate change is an example) to heuristics (weather forecasting) to algorithms (barometers) to computer code (not there, but HAARP, High Frequency Active Auroral Research Program appears to be a nasty example). Design, in other words, is the embodiment of strategy, of IO, and ultimately of how one plans, programs, and budgets the enterprise. Heavy stuff in the most positive way!

    + Alvin Toffler called me and open source intelligence (OSINT) “the rival store” to the secret intelligence community in 1993 (in the chapter on “The Future of the Spy” in War and Anti-War: Making Sense of Today’s Global Chaos and I honestly did not understand the implications until I read this book and appreciated the author’s emphasis on transformation having to address structures (switch rewards and focus from legacy systems to new projects); processes (solve wicked new problems rather than repeating the same old analysis again); and cultural norms (get away from current secrets for the president and instead focus on providing decision support to every action officer in every domain at every level of government).

    + To emphasize this point: the secret intelligence community spends $75 billion a year on legacy systems that provide “at best” 4% of what a very small consumer group (no more than 100 individuals) needs–for that amount of money, I could create the World Brain with embedded EarthGame, provide free education and decision-support to every person on the planet, and in passing end poverty, assure clean water for all, and eliminate most infectious diseases. Secret sources and methods no longer yield innovation–the innovation is to be had at the other end of the telescope, the open end….and at very low cost reaching billions of end-users. THIS is the “aha experience” that this book provided to me personally.

    + The book, the author, and the concept of design thinking are HUGE on embracing the customer or user as a source of inspiration and innovation.

    I’ve reached Amazon’s word limit. More at PBI/PIB.

    See also:

    The Knowledge Executive

    Building a Knowledge-Driven Organization

    Rating: 5 / 5

  3. Michael Tiemann Says:

    Let me start off by saying that “Design Thinking” was one of the BIG IDEAS that made its way through the executive ranks at my employer, Red Hat. Design thinking represented a new paradigm–always a challenge to any corporate environment–to a company that was already doing quite well effecting its own paradigm shift on the software industry from proprietary ownership of ideas to the free flow of ideas enabled by open source software. It would have been easy to argue, intellectually, culturally, or strategically, that we didn’t need a new to adopt or even consider a new paradigm because, to paraphrase the French soldiers in Monty Python and the Holy Grail (Extraordinarily Deluxe Three-Disc Edition) “we’ve already got one”. That we did, and that it was wickedly successful, speaks to the power of the paradigm of design thinking. I remain convinced that virtually any corporate strategy and virtually any corporate paradigm can be improved by adopting and incorporating design thinking–it’s 5-stars good!

    As teachers in the subject go, none is more qualified than Roger Martin. And it was a particular delight to me to have my knowledge of the subject expanded by reading details in this book that were previously unknown to me. It also made me aware of just how well trained were my mentors in the subject, as virtually every term used in the book matched the definition and usage I was taught in my training. For that reason alone, should you wish to learn and promote design thinking, read this book so that others will immediately know what you are talking about!

    I wrestled with whether to give this book the 5 stars that the subject deserves vs. the 4 that I gave it. I decided to give it 4 stars because I believe the book falls short of being the kind of book you could hand off to somebody and say “read this book and it will change your life”. It is missing the design beauty of Beautiful Evidence, the consistent dazzle of Outliers: The Story Of Success, and the paradigmatic reveal of The Only Sustainable Edge: Why Business Strategy Depends on Productive Friction and Dynamic Specialization. But not by much. And perhaps had I read this book before my own design thinking epiphany, perhaps I would have credited the book, rather than its ideas, with the life-changing insights that I have received because of this author’s work.

    Perhaps my greatest quarrel with the book is that for all its goodness in explaining the paradigm and giving concrete examples (which are truly excellent), I felt that the advice given about how to bring them into a corporate environment was a bit too wordy for my taste. Perhaps that is because I have come to believe that “there is no try; there is only do or do not” and the advice was written for people who want to convince people to try. I felt that diluted an otherwise potent message. But again, not too much–just shy of five stars. The book is short, and if you believe in “Do!” then this book will give you the real story from one who knows it best.

    Rating: 4 / 5

  4. Nilofer Merchant Says:

    This is a top thinker sharing some good thinking. Which makes it in my mind, a must read.

    The Knowledge Funnel that Roger Martin defines points to how information gets sifted from “mystery” to “heuristic” to “algorithm” and how that impacts decision making, strategy, innovation. This simple model will probably be as well known in future as Jim Collins “hedgehog concept”. It’s both intuitive and analytically rich in how a reader can come to understand it.

    I was surprised to find the book “design thinking” which is quite popular today because i think it is more “good thinking” but i understand the need to fit into a bigger theme to be more easily consumed.

    Rating: 5 / 5

  5. Rolf Dobelli Says:

    Roger Martin’s book on business design is subtle yet profound. He guides you to rethink the way you conceptualize business decisions so you can shift to “design thinking.” Using an approach rooted in both practice and theory, Martin cites examples ranging from Cirque du Soleil to McDonald’s. He urges you to reconsider your leadership model and organizational structures, and to exercise “abductive logic,” thinking that moves through “logical leaps of the mind.” Martin’s call for action is bold and enjoyable. He offers innovation and regeneration as the rewards for accepting his challenge to balance validity and reliability. getAbstract recommends his book to designers, those who work with them, and anyone charged with managing innovation or organizational redesign.
    Rating: 5 / 5

  6. Sacramento Book Review Says:

    In order to win in business, today’s companies need to latch on to the idea of design. This is at the heart of Roger Martin’s //The Design of Business: Why Design Thinking Is The Next Competitive Advantage//, which focuses on a deep understanding of customers, creative resolution of tensions, collaborative prototyping, and continuous modification and enhancement of ideas and solutions. It falls somewhere between the exploration of new knowledge (or innovation) and the exploitation of current knowledge (or efficiency).

    Design thinking is a way to push knowledge through stages in ways that produce breakthrough innovations and competitive advantage. //The Design of Business// maps the route followed by successful design thinkers in business, science, and the arts. Colorful stories and practical guidelines illustrate how to: combine proof-based analytical thinking with possibility-based “abductive thinking”; change structures and processes to move knowledge from one stage to the next; develop the key tools of design thinkers–observation, imagination and configuration; defend design thinking to employees, boards, and investors; and revamp financial planning and reward systems to encourage bold ideas.

    As a shift or departure to typical business thinking, Martin’s //The Design of Business// can serve as the new foundation of profit and success.

    Reviewed by Dominque James
    Rating: 5 / 5

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