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Roger Martin explores three big ideas: customer capitalism, integrative thinking and design thinking

Strategy & Leadership

ISSN: 1087-8572

Article publication date: 5 July 2011




The purpose of this paper is to present an interview with professor and noted author Roger Martin discussing three major topics— the future of capitalism, better executive decision making and innovations that boost customer value – all at the heart of current executive concerns.


The paper presents Martin's view, – that modern capitalism has come through two major eras over the last century, managerial capitalism (1930s to 1970s) and shareholder capitalism (1980s to 2000s). He argues that the time has come to embark on a new era, the era of “customer capitalism” and explains why.


In answer to another set of questions, Martin provides his own insight into one of the management field's most elusive and intriguing questions: what is the essence of outstanding leadership, particularly at the CEO level? His research has led him to the finding that exceptional leaders are distinguished most by the way they think, by their capacity for what he calls “integrative thinking.”

Practical implications

To a third set of questions, Martin offers his own solution to one of the major challenges facing senior executives today, how to become more innovative, not only in products and process, but also in the area of business management itself. His answer – executives should look to the concept of “design thinking” and learn how to apply it more widely to processes like strategy development and business model innovation.


Roger Martin believes that the shareholder value system has been rigged to the detriment of stockholders, that great managers are distinguished by how they think before they decide what to do and that design thinking is a key competitive competency. Martin offers groundbreaking ways to think about leading and management.



Leavy, B. (2011), "Roger Martin explores three big ideas: customer capitalism, integrative thinking and design thinking", Strategy & Leadership, Vol. 39 No. 4, pp. 19-26.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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