SCHOOL OF DESIGN
This teaching note was authored by Idris Mootee with contribution from Mathew Lincez solely as the basis for executive
education and class discussion. Teaching notes and cases are not intended to serve as endorsements, sources of primary
data or illustrations ofeffective or ineffective management.
Copyright © 2011 Idea Couture Inc. Idea Couture is a global strategic innovation, customer insights and experience
design firm that brings together the power of D-School + B-School™ thinking. The firm engages in strategic innovation,
ethnographic research and design programs that identify and fulfill unmet, unknown and unarticulated customer needs to
transformbrands and organizations.
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part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, used in a spreadsheet, or transmitted in any form or
by any means—electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise—without the permission of Idea Couture Inc.Design Thinking for
Creativity and Business
HARVARD GRADUATE SCHOOL OF DESIGN
Applying Design Thinking to business problem
solving empowers individuals and organizations to
better understand their competitive and operational environment; the values, beliefs and behaviorsof people; the driving forces and key influencers
involved; the strategic and tactical options therein;
and the systemic issues behind these not necessarily well defined problems. This process enables
organizations to identify strategic options in order
to make better more informed decisions even in
the face of extreme ambiguity.
Copyright 2011 Idea Couture Inc.
DESIGN THINKING FORCREATIVITY
AND BUSINESS INNOVATION SERIES
Applied Design Thinking in business problem solving incorporates
mental models, tools, processes and
techniques from design, engineering,
economics, the humanities and social
sciences to help identify, define and
address business challenges (i.e.
strategic planning, product development, innovation and corporate
social responsibility). Thisintegration,
when executed correctly, forms a
highly productive dynamic between
traditional business management
approaches and design approaches,
complementing and enhancing one
another in a symbiotic fashion.
The increased adoption of multidisciplinary approaches to business
problem solving, including the application of Design Thinking, helps
organizations fill in critical, and often
overlooked,knowledge gaps and information deficiencies. By combining
the two, organizations establish more
complete and ultimately competitive
bodies of actionable knowledge and
insights that allows for a humancentric and future-oriented approach.
This approach does not discount or
diminish the value of traditional and
other analytical business methods in
problem solving, rather, by leveraging
thebest qualities of both business
and Design Thinking it establishes a
more sensitive, powerful and potent
analytical tool set that escalates our
thinking to a new level. This results
in a more holistic perspective and
learning experience that is meaningful, valid and practical.
Introducing Design Thinking
to business management
also has a positive effect on
organizational culture– it
reveals and introduces new
behaviors and it challenges
people to communicate and
learn in new ways while
empowering them (through
the adoption of tools, techniques and culture) to think
Organizational structure, reporting
hierarchies and processes are
considered hard management and
Design Thinking can fill the role
of the soft management system –
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