Design Thinking Stats at the Top

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The impact is undeniable when a company like Apple puts so much extra effort into making its products and marketing look “cool,” as well as ensuring that its look is unified and communicates the level of innovation that the organization prides itself on. And the business community clearly admires the company's dedication to overall design.

That admiration, however, does not usually translate into action; meaning that few companies put that kind of “design thinking” at the top (or even near the top) of their corporate agendas, even though an overall organizational design implementation can provide incredible benefits.

The late Bill Moggridge, director of Smithsonian’s Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum, made an important point when he discussed how companies will readily employ business management consultants to study and suggest organizational change from a numbers standpoint, but then fail to follow through on that change with a visual representation of it.

Moggridge went on to say, “I think that's where design has a fresh opportunity to be influential because, as designers, we know how to create a prototype of some example that illustrates that change. We can show something. We can show an experience. We can show a design solution, and that's much more real to the management who are receiving the input than the realistically dry report.”

Recently, John Gleason, founder and president of A Better View Strategic Counseling and my company, Reset Branding held our annual “D Event,” which brings together experienced, senior-level corporate design and business leaders in an intimate and collaborative environment. We provide this forum to stimulate genuine conversation about this vital topic and how it relates to a company’s overall brand, because it’s a topic that’s often overlooked in corporate planning.

Roger L. Martin, in his book, The Design of Business: Why Design Thinking Is the Next Competitive Advantage, articulates the problem as executives...
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