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Can design thinking save management education?

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Presentation on theme: "Can design thinking save management education?"— Presentation transcript:

1 Can design thinking save management education?

2 My deep dive Goals Business education Design foundations
Design thinking, doing, feeling Design education A design practicum Goals again Copyright GB Marine Art

3 My goals Distinguish between ‘design’ and ‘design thinking’ Provide some insights about design thinking Show how design thinking may be relevant for business schools Provide an example of a design-based business course

4 Business education A crisis or same old?


6 Application trends: FT MBA

7 What business schools do well
Analytical tools Economic models Breadth of exposure to business situations Develop connections Presentation skills Work under deadlines WHY MBA?The most common reason people give for enrolling into an MBA program is change.ハ Change is accomplished by preparing for the future, opening up new options.ハ In doing your MBA you will:
 ・ハDevelop an excellent portfolio of business knowledge and skills
 ・ハImprove your personal skills, especially around communication and teamwork 
 ・ハGet accustomed to working under extensive pressure
 ・ハLearn from a group of fellow students with a very diverse background 
 ・ハBuild your network of colleagues, MBA alumniIn doing so, you will discover that not only are you ready for change, but change is ready for in the form of a wider range of career opportunities, even while studying. ハ By doing an MBA you will give yourself a competitive advantage.
ハハ"As of the first class session my MBA studies started to yield th the ROI of my investment in the MBA. By usingハthe practical tools and proven theoriesハintroduced in class I gained a deeper understanding of the larger context of business. TheハReykjavik University MBA enabled me to redefine my career from a sales and marketingハorientation to becoming an all-round manager."ハGuðbrandur �n Arnarson 
MBA 2005
Manager of Business Development 
365 Miðlar

8 Critiques of business schools
At the same time that management science and technique have grown increasingly in power and prestige, there has been a persistent and growing awareness of the importance of an art of managing which reveals itself both in crucially important situations of uncertainty, instability and uniqueness, and in those dimensions of everyday practice which depend on the spontaneous exercise of intuitive artistry. Donald Schön 1982

9 Critique 1: values … by propagating ideologically inspired amoral theories, business schools have actively freed their students from any sense of moral responsibility. Sumanthra Ghoshal Business education … is devoted overwhelmingly to technical training. This is ironic, because even before Enron, studies showed that executives who fail … rarely do so from a lack of expertise. Rather, they fail because they lack interpersonal skills and wisdom … Thomas Lindsay, University of Dallas

10 The aspen study By the end of the first year of study, students have shifted from “customer mode” to “manager mode.” As a result, shareholder value gains in importance as a measure of a successful business and as the primary responsibility of the company. • All three waves of MBAs define a well–run business as one that attracts and retains exceptional people and provides excellent customer service. • Comparing Waves I and II, there is an increase in emphasis on offering high shareholder returns and a decrease in emphasis on producing high–quality goods and services. • When asked about the primary responsibilities of the company, students give greatest attention to shareholder return —a reflection of the powerful place shareholders occupy in the first–year curriculum. • Responsibilities to the local community and environment are seen as less critical. Wave 1: entering business school Wave 2: end of 1st year Wave 3: graduating Where Will They Lead?

11 Defining a well-run company
“In your definition of a ‘well–run’ company, how important are the following?” (Please indicate whether you think each of the following is very important, somewhat important, or not important at all.) Index –1 to +1

12 Critique 2: relevance Some of the research produced (by business schools) is excellent, but because so little of it is grounded in actual business practices, the focus of graduate business education has become increasingly circumscribed – and less and less relevant to practitioners. Bennis & O’Toole

13 Involve tradeoffs between multiple stakeholders
Wicked problems Difficult to define No stopping rule Involve tradeoffs between multiple stakeholders Can never really be ‘solved’ Symptoms of other problems Each essentially unique Boland & Collopy Decision attitude: manager as facing a set of alternative courses of action from which a choice must be made Design attitude: assumes that it is difficult to design a good alternative, but once you have developed a truly great one, the decision about which alternative to select becomes trivial In a clearly defined and stable situation, when the feasible alternatives are well known, a decision attitude may be the most efficient and effective way to approach problems solving. But when these conditions do not hold, a design attitude is required.

14 Critique 3: pedagogy It is time to recognize conventional MBA programs for what they are – or else to close them down. They are specialized training in the functions of business, not general education in the practice of managing. Using the classroom to help develop people already practicing management is a fine idea, but pretending to create managers out of people who have never managed is a sham. Mintzberg

15 A famous MBA graduate Calculating Management into a Quagmire (Mintzberg 2005) MBA HBS 1939 Joined HBS faculty for 3 yrs. “Whiz kids” - hired by Henry Ford jr. US Secretary of Defense : “a limited grasp of military affairs, and even less grasp of covert operations” PPBS: Strategic Planning, Programming, Budgeting in a single System. Heavy on measurement: quantified costs vs. benefits, spread to other government depts. Subsequently heavily criticized, e.g. Wildavsky (1974) :”PPBS has failed everywhere and at all times” Applied to Vietnam war, body counts: “When civilian advisers said the Diem government was losing popularity with the peasants … McNamara asked, what percentage was dropping off, what percentage did the government have and what percentage was it losing? He asked for facts, some statistics, something he could run through the data bank, not just this poetry they were spouting” Halberstam, The Best and the Brightest (1972) McN: “We must first determine what our foreign policy is to be, formulate military strategy to carry out that policy, then build the military forces necessary to successfully conduct this strategy” Mintzberg: “Successful conduct of the strategy translated into failed conduct of the war. McNamara the formulator sat in his Washington office while implementation was collapsing in Asia. “Analysis of the easy-to-measure variables (casualties suffered by the Viet Cong and the South Vietnamese) was driving out consideration of the hard-to-measure variables and the long-run costs (the nature of popular support for a South Vietnam government, the effect of the war on the Western Alliance and on domestic civility, the effect of bombing on the will to resist) … kill ratios and the like represent a touch of spurious certainty in a highly uncertain world” (Wilensky 1967) “an educated incapacity to see the war in its true light” McNamara believed in “consistency” and “war is not consistent” World Bank: “his actions have resulted in uncontrollable disasters from which the West has still not recovered” (Saul 1992); also disastrous effects of nuclear strategy on the defense dept. Leavitt (1989): “We do not remember Mr. McNamara as a great visionary … his most memorable skill was as an analyst”

16 My wish list for business students
Spend much more time understanding why we do things as well as how we do them Focus their energy on deeply understanding and helping customers Pay more attention to the system-wide implications of decisions Truly collaborate in diverse groups Open to alternative perspectives Spend more time thinking about what might be possible tomorrow, not just what can be done today. DISUCSSION QUESTIONS (PAIRS OR TEAMS) WHAT IS YOUR WISH LIST FOR YOUR STUDENTS? HOW IS IT SIMILAR TO OR DIFFERENT FROM THIS? WHAT IS YOUR INSTITUTION DOING TO ADDRESS THE CRITICISMS OF MANAGEMENT EDUCATION? ?

17 A thesis Design thinking has elements and perspectives that are missing from conventional business thinking and can lead to better decisions; Management students can benefit from design thinking; Design schools can offer management schools some ideas for curriculum and teaching methods.

18 Personal interviews with:
The interviews Personal interviews with: Design thinking experts Designer/managers Design educators Business educators Conducted in person and by phone, Data were interpreted by clustering and searching for common themes o The Director and faculty members of the Institute of Design at the Illinois Institute of Technology; o The Director of Stanford’s; o The Dean of the Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto; o The Director of Designworks at the Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto; o The CEO of Steelcase Inc.; o The Vice-President of Design, Hewlett-Packard Inc.; o The Director of Design, Specialized Bicycles; o The founder of IDEO Design; o The President and CEO of IDEO Design; o The Business Leader of Doblin Group, an innovation strategy consultant; o Other designers and ethnographers from design, business and academic environments.

19 A framework Design Practices: Attitude: Cognition:
thinking feeling doing foundations Practices: Thought tools Ethnography Prototyping Creativity Reflection Teams Attitude: Failure Constraints Empathy Cognition: Abductive reasoning Systems thinking Organizational Foundations: Project-based workflow Intrinsic reward systems Diversity Collaboration

20 Design foundations

21 Traditional firms and design shops
Feature From Traditional Firm … To “Design Shop” Flow of Work Life Ongoing tasks Permanent assignments Projects Defined terms Source of Status Managing big budgets and large staffs Solving “wicked problems” Style of Work Defined roles Wait until it is “right” Collaborative Iterative Mode of Thinking Deductive Inductive Abductive Dominant Attitude We can only do what we have budget to do Constraints are the enemy Nothing can’t be done Constraints increase the challenge and excitement Inductive = generalization from specific instances Deductive = inference from logical premises Abductive = ‘the process of forming an explanatory hypothesis. It is the only logical operation which introduces any new idea’ (Pierce 1905)

22 Collaboration doesn’t manage itself
If I have a more diverse group, but I don’t also countervail that with a more sophisticated set of integrated methodologies, I’m probably actually increasing my risk of failure even though I might increase the diversity of ideas being generated by the group. How many times do you get a blinding insight out of your own head? You get to blinding insight when you listen to somebody and take that little snippet of logic or data or whatever, merge it with something that is in your head and whammo, out comes a new interesting thought. That is where the out of the box ideas come from, and you systematically prevent yourself from getting there by being dismissive of users, dismissive of clients, dismissive of colleagues who don’t agree with you. Keeley Martin DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: HOW DO YOU ENCOURAGE COLLABORATION IN YOUR PROGRAM? ARE STUDENTS TAUGHT SPECIFIC COLLABORATION SKILLS? WHAT SKILLS? HOW IS COLLABORATION ASSESSED? ?

23  Design thinking

24 Deduction, induction and abduction
Engineering, medicine, business, architecture and painting are concerned not with the necessary but with the contingent - not with how things are but with how they might be - in short, with design.

25 Russell Ackoff and systems thinking
Analysis focuses on structure: it reveals how things work. Synthesis focuses on function; it reveals why things operate as they do. Therefore, analysis yields knowledge; synthesis yields understanding. The former enables us to describe; the latter, to explain. Ackoff, 1981 DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: IN YOUR PROGRAM, HOW DO YOU GET STUDENTS TO THINK ABDUCTIVELY? HOW DO YOU GET THEM TO SYNTHESIZE AS WELL AS ANALYZE? ?

26 Design doing

27 A reflective conversation with the situation
Surface problem frame Reframe/reshape Engagement with the problem space Frame testing experiment Implications of reframing New meanings/ideas Schön Vijay Kumar Sometimes you have to take this top down approach. Start at the top and then … sometimes you have to go to the bottom and start assessing the pattern and all the details so you get an understanding of the top level; so constantly jumping back and forth is important for looking at complex problems.

28 What a concept: putting users at the centre
Make it easy to determine what actions are possible at any moment. • Make things visible, including the conceptual model of the system, the alternative actions, and the results of actions. • Make it easy to evaluate the current state of the system. • Follow natural mappings between intentions and the required actions; between actions and the resulting effect; and between the information that is visible and the interpretation of the system state. Donald A. Norman: The Design of Everyday Things; Emotional Design

29 Creativity is enhanced by structure
One common way of thinking of creativity and imagination is that it’s free play and unstructured. I think it can be dramatically enhanced by structuring it … for example consciously looking at things from different points of view. [Human effectiveness is] getting people to expect exceptional performance from the collective actions of the group. And then you build on it by saying, how do we hold one another accountable for exceptional performance? How do we listen to one another and how do we build on one another’s contributions, but not in the brainstorming way that is rather dangerous and simplistic. Keeley

30 Problem framing/reframing is critical
Standard innovation … begins with doing business analytics; our hypothesis and the structure of our program reverses that order. It starts out with user immersion. What needs do you discover? From those needs…what new needs do you discover? Then the second part of the program deals with the second part of imagination…how do you visualize and prototype those concepts? Then the third part is once you’ve gone through that process and created the activity system, you do a business assessment. Kumar Even while they’re doing research, they are doing sketches…first they do research, then analysis, then sketch ideas. It happens all throughout.

31 Implementation is integral to thinking, not a consequence of it
What we call ‘build to think’ is making stuff in order to reiterate your ideas. When designers are working at the beginning of the process they’re doing that incredibly quickly. Often dozens of ideas. And then as you get further down the process you start doing physical prototypes. Appearance prototypes tend to happen late in the process ... but how do you know you’re working on the right thing in the first place? … As business is paying more and more attention to not just making incremental change but bigger changes, then appearance prototypes are insufficient, and you need conceptual prototypes much earlier in the process. Kelley/Brown Whitney DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: HOW DO STUDENTS INTEGRATE IMPLEMENTATION AND THINKING IN YOUR PROGRAM? HOW DO THEY LEARN TO ASK THE RIGHT QUESTIONS AND SOLVE THE RIGHT PROBLEM? HOW IS CREATIVITY EXPECTED OF THEM AND WHAT SUPPORT ARE THEY GIVEN? ?

32 Design feeling

33 Design is about attitude as much as aptitude
Designers generally take an inherently human view of the world. They’re generally looking at what the people want and need, desire, and so when they’re looking for inspiration, they’re not in the lab tinkering around with electronics, they’re out in the world looking at what people do. [The decision attitude] starts with an assumption that the alternative courses of action are already at hand – that there is a good set of options already available, or at least readily obtainable … the design attitude, in contrast, is concerned with finding the best answer possible, given the skills, time and resources of the team, and takes for granted that it will require the invention of new alternatives. Kelley/Brown Boland & Collopy designers, in the words of Ralph Baer, the inventor of the video game, look at the world “as if everything in it needs fixing”. Ralph Baer, the inventor of the video game, look at the world “as if everything in it needs fixing”. It’s a way of approaching problems in the world that begins from a point of optimism, that there is a solution, and it’s a matter of us reaching it. It builds on that with this idea of “mind of a child”,[the] ability to be open to whatever the world is going to tell you, and coupling that with this idea of an attitude of wisdom.

34 We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one we intend to win.

35 We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one we intend to win. DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: WHAT WOULD IT TAKE FOR YOUR STUDENTS TO BE INSPIRED BY CONSTRAINTS? HOW COULD STUDENTS BE ENCOURAGED TO LEARN FROM THEIR FAILURES? HOW DO YOU TEACH STUDENTS EMPATHY IN YOUR PROGRAM? ?

36 Design education

37 Design education by Business Week
B-Schools teach people how to take an existing problem and break it down into its parts to solve it. D-Schools teach people how to define a problem, search for possible solutions by integrating information and iterating options. Bruce Nussbaum, March 2007

38 Business education needs systems thinking, user focus, abductive reasoning
I read once that the chairman of Toyota was trying to characterize why he wasn’t worried about American automotive manufacturers. He said it’ll take them a decade to understand … The American auto manufacturers thought it was just about quality, but we now know that systems thinking was the core nuclear reactor in Toyota’s ascension, and I remember being converted back to design thinking. For a long time, I was in the business of trying to show objectively what people were doing and why they were doing it … [but] realized that actually if [teams] can get [user experience] at a visceral level they get completely engaged, their imaginations are fired up about potential solutions. It’s a totally different kind of creative experience that comes from some capacity to connect with other people’s experience Hackett

39 ? A design-based MBA Curriculum Teaching Problem framing
Ethnographic research Abductive reasoning Synthesis Collaboration Teaching Wicked problems Real-world projects Diverse teams Partnerships with other fields Collaboration DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: DO YOU HAVE REAL-WORLD PROJECTS IN YOUR PROGRAM? WHAT IS YOUR EXPERIENCE WITH THEM AND HOW COULD THEY BE IMPROVED? DO YOU HAVE PARTNERSHIPS WITH OTHER FIELDS? WHAT ARE THEY AND HOW DO THEY WORK? ?

40 Tweaking or revolution?
What the critics are doing is to critique in a business-school way, using business-school logic. … I get that from some faculty: “But you are saying we don’t have to teach them the models and they don’t have to know double entry accounting by the time they get out of here”. But it is not either/or: as students become designers, they will still need to learn the models. Martin Some examples: Stanford’s Rotman School of Management’s designworks Institute of Design, Illinois Institute of Technology Zollverein School of Management and Design

41 A design practicum

42 The course Taught to business students at Johannes Kepler University, Linz, Austria, in May 2007 Consisted of a ‘design practicum’: design process and tools applied to 3 projects: Financial service for students New type of zoo Art gallery/’supermarket’ Assessment based on Final presentation Personal diary Personal innovation process

43 Credit: Institute of Design
Our process Biz Market User Context Design Techno Concept development and prototyping Business model development Statement of intent 1.0 Statement of intent 2.0 Research Analysis and synthesis Reflection, reframing Credit: Institute of Design

44 Learning to love mess The redefinition of our research question helped us to focus the problem. So I learned the right question can help me to [understand] the problem and to focus on the pain points … Each redefinition made us get two steps ahead. It is important to be able to express the thoughts and emotions not only with words, but even with pictures and other creative techniques. Only if there is something … your colleagues can touch, can they start to understand the meaning of the idea.

45 Goals again

46 ? My goals Distinguish between ‘design’ and ‘design thinking’
Provide some insights about design thinking Show how design thinking may be relevant for business schools Provide an example of a design-based business course DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: COULD THIS BE IMPLEMENTED AT YOUR SCHOOL? HOW WOULD YOU GO ABOUT IT? WHAT MIGHT BE THE BARRIERS AND HOW MIGHT THEY BE OVERCOME? ?

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