Designing for Growth

Designing for Growth: A Design Thinking Toolkit for Managers

Jeanne Liedtka
Tim Ogilvie
Copyright Date: 2011
Pages: 248
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  • Book Info
    Designing for Growth
    Book Description:

    Jeanne Liedtka and Tim Ogilvie educate readers in one of the hottest trends in business: "design thinking," or the ability to turn abstract ideas into practical applications for maximal business growth. Liedtka and Ogilvie cover the mind-set, techniques, and vocabulary of design thinking, unpack the mysterious connection between design and growth, and teach managers in a straightforward way how to exploit design's exciting potential.

    Exemplified by Apple and the success of its elegant products and cultivated by high-profile design firms such as IDEO, design thinking unlocks creative right-brain capabilities to solve a range of problems. This approach has become a necessary component of successful business practice, helping managers turn abstract concepts into everyday tools that grow business while minimizing risk.

    eISBN: 978-0-231-52796-5
    Subjects: Business, Art & Art History

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
    (pp. ix-xiv)
    Jeanne Liedtka and Tim Ogilvie
  4. Section I: The Why and How of Design Thinking

      (pp. 3-20)

      Every manager needs design. You can’t grow a business without it. But what is it? Asked to describe design, Tim Brennan of Apple’s Creative Services group drew the following picture:¹

      Design, this clever definition asserts, is simply magic. It is an utter enigma, a mysterious no-man’s-land where only the brave (and the brilliant) dare tread. It mocks any idea that a formal process could exist for navigating those many hairpin turns. Sure—we’d all like to discover the equivalent of the iPod in our own businesses. But mere mortals—especially business types—are out of their league when it comes...

      (pp. 21-38)

      Remember the drawing of the design process in Chapter 1? Here is ours:

      We start and end in the same place as Apple’s Tim Brennan, but we’ve untangled the hairball into a manageable process. Despite a lot of fancy vocabulary like “ideation” and “co-creation,” the design process deals with four very basic questions, which correspond to the four stages of the process: What is? What if? What wows? and What works? The What is stage explores current reality. What if envisions a new future. What wows makes some choices. What works takes us into the marketplace. The widening and narrowing...

  5. Section II: What is?

    • [Section II: Introduction]
      (pp. 39-48)

      As managing director of strategic marketing development at AARP, a nonprofit organization dedicated to serving Americans over the age of 50, Diane Ty faced a common challenge: how to cultivate future members among the next generation while serving current ones. The catch here was that the AARP name was virtually synonymous with “retirement,” a distant concept for many Americans under 50.

      Founded in 1947 by a former high school principal who wanted to help retired teachers find health insurance, AARP had grown into an organization of more than 40 million members. Despite dramatic social changes in the second half of...

      (pp. 49-60)

      Visualization is the transformation of information into images that you see, either literally with your eyes or figuratively with your mind’s eye. Sometimes it’s about representing text or numbers or other bits of data with pictures (which, as you may have heard, are worth a thousand words). Sometimes it’s about assembling scattered ideas into a compelling story that can generate vivid mental images. In either case, conjuring up visual depictions of customers and their experiences makes them human and real. Visualization makes ideas tangible and concrete, often sweeping away ambiguity with the stroke of a pencil. It brings a different...

      (pp. 61-74)

      Journey mapping is the representation, in a flowchart or other graphic format, of the customer’s experience as he or she interacts with your company in receiving its product or service. These maps can depict the customer’s actual or ideal journey. Either way, plotting its stages forces you to focus on your customers, rather than on your organization. As you map their journey, you’re walking a mile in their shoes. Along the way, you are looking for the emotional highs and lows and the meaning that the experience holds for the customer. These are the key to identifying value-creating innovations.


      (pp. 75-80)

      Value chain analysis is the study of an organization’s interaction with partners to produce, market, distribute, and support its offerings. From it emerge important clues about your partners’ capabilities and intentions and your firm’s vulnerabilities and opportunities. It is the business-side equivalent of customer journey mapping—it highlights the “pain points” and opportunities in the organization’s experience working with upstream and downstream partners to deliver its product or service. Value chain analysis can be useful at multiple levels. You can focus on the value chain in which an opportunity currently resides. You can also explore the value chain of the...

      (pp. 81-92)

      Mind mapping is the term we’ll use for the process of looking for patterns in the large quantity of data you’ve collected during your exploration of What is. As you approach the conclusion of this stage, you’ve got some interesting data and are ready to begin separating what is important from what is not, looking for patterns and insights that will give you a new window onto reality. The goal is to establish the criteria for the What if idea generation stage, which comes next. To accomplish that, you must organize and present your data in a way that lets...

  6. Section III: What if?

    • [Section III: Introduction]
      (pp. 93-102)

      Meet Mark Stein, another accountant and management consultant turned design thinker. But Mark doesn’t warm to the label “design thinker.” “I’m just a good problem solver,” he says. “I get hooked easily with a good business problem. It becomes like a puzzle, and I try to think of every possible way to approach it.” Mark views his undergraduate degree in business, five years in public accounting, and four in management consulting as good preparation for becoming an entrepreneur: “My public accounting training and consulting experience are an advantage in a couple of ways. First, I love the details, and I...

      (pp. 103-112)

      Brainstorming is the goal-oriented cousin of daydreaming; it is a way to generate ideas—in our case, fresh alternatives to the status quo. Brainstorming is so fundamental to how we think about innovation that you may be surprised to find so many activities in the design thinking process before we get to brainstorming. In fact, as you developed your journey map and did your value chain analysis, you probably noticed you were already coming up with new ideas. You almost can’t help yourself.

      When to use it: Use brainstorming at the beginning of the What if stage. The risk is...

      (pp. 113-120)

      Concept development is the act of choosing the best ideas from brainstorming, assembling them into detailed solutions, and then evaluating those using both customer and business criteria. It is analogous to what the movie director does back in the studio, editing the good bits into something creative yet coherent. Whereas brainstorming is best done by a diverse group that includes people outside the innovation project, concept development requires a dedicated core team: Outsiders often lack the context for the project as well as the time it takes to perform concept development.

      You want to build multiple concepts so that you...

  7. Section IV: What wows?

    • [Section IV: Introduction]
      (pp. 121-130)

      Remember Diane Ty at AARP and Project Prepare for the under-50 financially challenged? Diane and her team moved through the What if stage, brainstorming and then creating a number of different concepts for a new website—all under the banner of “helping people of all ages make smarter choices today for a better life tomorrow.”

      Two of the concepts are captured in the following napkin pitches. The first was built around the idea of a lending community for debt repayment. The idea was to give Gen Y members (and others) a boost so that they could manage debt and begin...

      (pp. 131-140)

      Assumption testing is a tool for surfacing the key assumptions underlying the attractiveness of a new business concept and using data to assess the likelihood that these assumptions are true. The approach acknowledges that any new business concept is actually a hypothesis: a well-informed guess about what customers desire and what they will value. Like any hypothesis, a new business concept is built on some assumptions about what makes it attractive. Those assumptions must be valid in order for the hypothesis to be “true.” And so testing them is essential. If, for instance, our hypothesized value proposition rests on the...

      (pp. 141-150)

      Rapid prototyping is the creation of visual (and sometimes experiential) manifestations of concepts. It is an iterative set of activities, done quickly, aimed at transforming the concepts generated in the What if stage into feasible, testable models. You build prototypes as the next step in the assumption testing you started with thought experiments, but now you’re going live. In prototyping, you give your concepts detail, form, and nuance—you bring them to life. Larry Keeley of Doblin calls prototyping “faking a new business fast.”

      It is easy to prototype a new toothbrush, harder to prototype a new business model. But...

  8. Section V: What works?

    • [Section V: Introduction]
      (pp. 151-158)

      Our last phase of the design process takes us back to Dave Jarrett, the accounting partner we met in Chapter 1. No surprise—he is an expert on getting the most bang for your growth investment dollar. The key, to him, is involving customers in the process as early as possible:

      “Our history before was we got a great idea, we built it, and then we went to the market and we tried to sell it. And you know what happens then—you get a lot of false starts. The analogy would be we’d let the engineers design the car....

      (pp. 159-166)

      Customer co-creation is the process of engaging a potential customer in the development of new business offerings. It involves putting some prototypes in front of potential customers, observing their reactions, and using the results to iterate your way to an improved offering. A typical co-creation phase might have three rounds, each embodying the changes and improvements that emerged from the preceding round.

      If you want your innovations to be meaningful to your customers, to be worth investing in both financially and psychologically, you need to invite them into your process. This creates energy and passion, for managers as well as...

      (pp. 167-178)

      A learning launch is an experiment conducted in the marketplace quickly and inexpensively. It forms a bridge between customer co-creation and commercial rollout. In fact, think of the learning launch as customer co-creation in 4D, incorporating both the physical and the time dimension. In contrast to a full new-product rollout, a learning launch’s success is about not how much you sell but how much you learn. The goal of the launch is to test the remaining critical assumptions about why this is an attractive business idea (which you surfaced during What wows and have already subjected to thought experiments, where...

  9. Section VI: Leading Growth and Innovation in Your Organization

    • [Section VI: Introduction]
      (pp. 179-198)

      As we conclude our design journey with a look at how to apply what you’ve learned in your organization, we want to introduce you to one more manager turned design thinker. Jacqui Jordan, although she hails from Down Under, sounds a lot like the other managers we’ve met. Schooled in a traditional business approach, Jacqui had headed the strategy group in the Business Banking unit of Suncorp, one of Australia’s largest insurers, for ten years when she discovered design. There was no turning back:

      “Real people in real organizations can actually do this! And once you understand the concept, you...

    (pp. 199-220)
  11. NOTES
    (pp. 221-224)
    (pp. 225-228)