When Jeanne and her co-author, Tim Ogilvie, published Designing for Growth: a design thinking tool kit for managers in 2011, few corporate and public leaders had heard about the qualitatively oriented problem-solving methodology called “design thinking.”
At that time, those who knew anything about design often regarded it as “the last decoration station on the way to market,” as Procter & Gamble’s design strategy head described it, and design, generally, was done by people in new product development, not by managers.[i]
An Innovation Methodology
As we present our forthcoming book, Design Thinking for the Greater Good: Innovation in the Social Sector, much has changed. Even large bureaucracies like the Veterans Administration and IBM use design thinking to explore the experiences of key stakeholders searching for insights into better client service.
Design thinkers take this deep information about stakeholders’ experiences — which we refer to as addressing
“What Is” — and develop insightful criteria for hypothesizing
“What If” ideas that can then be tested to see
“What Wows” against organizational constraints and launched as co-created prototypes to learn
Not every design thinking project is a success, of course, but as a risk management approach in today’s uncertain and behaviorally oriented age, few innovation methodologies compete with design thinking’s empathize, ideate, iterate strategy.