By: LaTrice Ross
Improving leadership skills could depend on the same thing that drives business success in today’s economy – innovation. Applying “design-thinking” to leadership may be the solution.
First, what is design-thinking? Tim Brown, President of IDEO, explains,
“Design thinking is a human-centered approach to innovation that draws from
the designer’s toolkit to integrate the needs of people, the possibilities
of technology, and the requirements for business success.” It is a
user-centric methodology used to identify and solve problems.
Characteristics of a design-thinking leader:
Applying design-thinking to leadership begins with three steps:
For instance, a Toastmasters club executive committee wants to apply the principles of design-thinking to identify solutions to better meet the needs of its members and thus grow the club. The executive team would begin keeping the members at the center of the problem. They would then work collaboratively to identify potential solutions, perhaps even inviting in club members to participate in the ideation phase. Once the potential solutions have been identified, the executive team would begin to experiment with the identified solutions.
Design-thinking can be used as a catalyst for creating more effective leaders, stronger teams and a collaborative culture, all of which potentially will have positive and far-reaching impacts on our professional lives.
Richard Buchanan and Victor Margolin, Discovering Design, (University of Chicago Press, 1995); Buchanan, “Design Research and the New Learning”; J Kolko, “Abductive Thinking and Sensemaking: the Drivers of Design Synthesis,” Design Issues, 2010; V Papanek, Design for the Real World, New
York, (Pantheon, 1971).