more like designers

The business magazine Fast Company annually devotes an entire issue to design. In the most recent edition, Roger Martin, Dean of Rotman School of Business, said, “Design, in short, is becoming an ever more important engine of corporate profit: It’s no longer enough simply to outperform the competition; to thrive in a world of ceaseless and rapid change, businesspeople have to outimagine the competition as well. They must begin to think–to become–more like designers.”

The article, titled “Tough Love”, acknowledges an uneasy alliance between business and design. “Many businesspeople have long regarded designers as mere stylists. More than a few designers see businesspeople as Neanderthals all too willing to forfeit quality for the sake of profit. Their mutual pique springs from a fundamental difference in the way each side thinks about creating value: Corporate types, by and large, seek to fuel growth by building from bulletproof, reproducible systems; designers generally attempt to do so by imagining something new, different, better.”

The author concludes that to prosper over the long run, companies needs to succeed at both the intuitive and experimental as well as the provable and replicable. “It must mesh the classical workings of a traditional organization with the prototypical features of a design shop.” More