Jeanne Liedtka on "Some Defining Characteristics of Design Thinking"

In 1969, Nobel Laureate Herbert Simon noted: "Engineering, medicine, business, architecture, and painting are concerned not with the necessary but with the contingent -- not with how things are, but with they might be -- in short, with design. Every one designs to devises courses of action aimed at changing existing situations into preferred ones. Design, so construed, is the core of all professional training."

* * *

In her contribution to Rotman on Design, published by University of Toronto Press (2013), Jeanne Liedtka observes, "Despite the avowed plurality that design theorists describe in their attempts to define the field, a set of commonalities does emerge from their work about the attributes of design thinking."

First, design thinking is synthetic. It seeks internal alignment and understands interdependence.

Second, design thinking is abductive in nature. It is future-focused and inventive, providing the focus that allows individuals within an organization to leverage their energy, to focus attention, and to concentrate for as long as it takes to achieve a goal.

Third, design thinking is hypothesis-driven. In an environment of ever-increasing information availability and decreasing time to think, the ability to develop good hypotheses and test them effectively is critical.

Fourth, design thinking is opportunistic. Within this intent-driven focus, there must be room for opportunism that not only furthers intended strategy but that also leaves open the possibility of new strategies emerging.

Fifth, design thinking is dialectical. In the process of inventing the image of the future, the strategist must mediate the tension between constraint, contingency, and possibility.

Finally, design thinking is inquiring and value-driven. Because any particular strategy is invented, rather than discovered, it is contestable and reflective of the values of those making the choice.

Source: Rotman on Design: The Best on Design Thinking from Rotman Magazine, co-edited by Roger Martin and Karen Christensen and published by University of Toronto Press (2013)

* * *

Jeanne Liedtka is the United Technologies Corporation Professor of Business Administration at the University of Virginia's Darden School of Business and author of three books, most recently Solving Problems with Design Thinking: Ten Stories of What Works, co-authored with Andrew King and Kevin Bennett and published by Columbia Business School Press (2013).

Views: 16


You need to be a member of The Employee Engagement Network to add comments!

Join The Employee Engagement Network


  • Add Videos
  • View All

Latest Activity

Robert Morris posted blog posts
4 hours ago
Jim Taggart posted a blog post

A Dynamo Female Leader with Steadfast Principles who lived to 102

She came to detest British colonialism. In her mind as a community leader, it underscored the perception of British arrogance and a class-based system. However, it would take some time for her to become an outspoken advocate for the poor, a critic…See More
Robert Morris posted blog posts
David Zinger posted a video

The Changing World of Work

The exponential growth of digital connectivity, devices and information is driving profound changes in the way we work, all around the world. In order to sur...
Profile IconGrace Yohannan and Richard Rierson were featured
Profile IconLesley Garrick, Grace Yohannan and Richard Rierson joined The Employee Engagement Network
Robert Morris posted blog posts
Richard Rierson replied to Christopher S. Rollyson's discussion Watch out for this well meant but mediocre EE advice...
"I agree with you Chris...I find the "great manager" bullets are "givens" to basic leadership & management theories.  I would love to have seen more discussion on how to create an engaging culture from the bottom up -…"

580 Videos Related to Employee Engagement

Click on this eBook listing over 580 videos available on the network. When you open the document up online you can click on the title to go directly to the video. Happy and engaged viewing.

© 2016   Created by David Zinger.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service