Design has long played a major role in product innovation. But in the last few years, a shift has been underway bringing design to the very core of the business. “The Evolution of Design Thinking: It’s no longer just for products. Executives are using this approach to devise strategy and manage change,” read the cover of the Harvard Business Review’s September issue, which featured several articles on the subject.
Leading-edge companies are leveraging design thinking to translate technological advances into compelling customer experiences in order to seize market share from more traditional competitors. As noted in one of the HBR articles, design-centric organizations are adamantly focused on their customer’ needs, rather than on their internal operational efficiencies.
A second HBR article explored a different kind of application. To help overcome the stiff resistance often encountered by disruptive innovations, - both within one’s own organization and in the marketplace, - the article proposed that design thinking should be applied to their actual introduction, - a process it calls intervention design.I would now like to turn to another recent article, Management by Design, by professors Mark Gruber, Nick de Leon, Gerry George and Paul Thomson. As the authors argue, design principles should be applied within the management domain itself, to help rethink business processes, workflows and the overall structure of the organization and thus create what it calls a New Workplace Experience (NWX).