The show must go on

With planned speaker Darrel Rhea stuck in the States due to the flight ban, hopes for last night’s Design Business Innovation lecture – From Insight to Innovation – initially looked bleak.

But in an unlikely stroke of volcanic serendipity Roger Martin, dean of the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto, found himself trapped in London and was able to step in at the last minute and deliver a lecture he had up his sleeve – Why Design Thinking is the Next Competitive Advantage.

Roger Martin
Roger Martin

Martin’s jargon-heavy presentation (one aspect of design thinking is the process of moving ‘from mystery, to heauristic, to algorithm’, apparently) was lifted by his superb presentation and judicious use of headline-grabbing soundbites (‘Your IQ test score is related to only 30% of what you will accomplish in life’; ‘Two words destroy innovation, “prove it”’.)

Most immediately useful was Martin’s five-point guide to ‘designing in a hostile territory’, which shows you, the right brain intuitive designer, how to interact with your client/enemy, the left-brain analytical businessperson. Advice included taking ‘design unfriendliness as a design challenge’, and using ‘analogies and stories’ to get onside.

Job done, and flight ban lifted, supersub Martin is hopefully jetting back to Toronto. Read more of his thoughts in the Design of Business: Why Design Thinking is the Next Competitive Advantage (Harvard Business, 2009).

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