The September issue of the Harvard Business Review features a spotlight on The Evolution of Design Thinking. With four articles on the subject, HBR’s overriding message is that design is no longer just for physical products, being increasingly applied to customer experiences, innovation, business strategy, and complex problem solving.
Last week I discussed this expanded view of design thinking based on one of the articles, - Design Thinking Comes of Age. I now want to turn my attention to a second article in the HBR issue, Design for Action, which applies design thinking not to the actual artifact being designed, - whether product, service, business strategy, or complex system, - but to a very different kind of problem: the introduction of the designed artifact into the world.
When first introduced, disruptive innovations are likely to encounter stiff resistance, both within one’s own organization and in the marketplace, - otherwise we wouldn’t call them disruptive. The article argues that we should apply design thinking to the launch of the disruptive innovation itself - a process they call intervention design.
Design for Action was co-written by Tim Brown and Roger Martin. Tim Brown is the CEO of IDEO, - the firm most associated with this more general view of design. Roger Martin is in the faculty of the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto, where he served as Dean from 1998 to 2013. He’s a strategic advisor to CEOs around the world and the author of a number of books.