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Article
Publication date: 29 August 2022

Jeanne Liedtka, Adam Billing, Jessica Eldridge, Karen Hold, Brooke Kuhne and El Tong

Like the management of quality in the 1970s, innovation has become everyone’s job and requires the management talents of every function. But the authors’ research…

Abstract

Purpose

Like the management of quality in the 1970s, innovation has become everyone’s job and requires the management talents of every function. But the authors’ research demonstrates that innovation success also requires a complex bundle of diverse and often disparate skills, and finding individuals who possess them is a daunting task. Leaders must learn to diagnose skill deficiencies, develop a portfolio of competencies at both individual and team levels in the organization, and then drive a culture of innovation from the top.

Design/methodology/approach

Leaders must learn to diagnose innovation skill deficiencies, develop a portfolio of competencies at both individual and team levels in the organization, and then drive a culture of innovation from the top. The authors have identified five unique bundles of behaviors that, taken together, comprise an innovation capability.

Findings

The Innovation Mindsets Assessment tool is a questionnaire for assessing 44 behaviors underlying the five skills.

Practical implications

Obtaining accurate feedback requires that an innovator be able to vividly ‘presence’ the future, to be able to make it feel real to peers, potential customers and partners.

Originality/value

Now that innovation has become everyone’s job and requires the management talents of every function, defining and assessing the capabilities of all team members so that individual and group skill gaps can be remedied is a priority.

Details

Strategy & Leadership, vol. ahead-of-print no. ahead-of-print
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1087-8572

Article
Publication date: 8 March 2019

Jeanne Liedtka and Saul Kaplan

This article explains how design thinking and practices can identify unexplored opportunities for strategic growth. Increasingly practitioners are learning about powerful…

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Abstract

Purpose

This article explains how design thinking and practices can identify unexplored opportunities for strategic growth. Increasingly practitioners are learning about powerful ways they can work together, with design mindsets and practices improving the strategy development process in multiple ways.

Design/methodology/approach

By integrating design practices into strategy development, practitioners can produce both incremental improvement in the performance of today’s business model and open opportunities to completely transform it.

Findings

Using design thinking, to understand the job customers are trying to do and the problem they have doing it allows strategists to craft a new potential offering and shape a value proposition that creates greater value than existing alternatives.”

Practical implications

The first design practice worth integrating into strategy development is human-centered design (HCD), with its tools that explore multiple pathways for growth through the experience of customers, the perspectives of “uncommon” partners, and the untapped local intelligence of employees.

Originality/value

The capability set design thinking offers – the focus on customers’ job-to-be-done, the ability to prototype and experiment, to manage a portfolio of bets, and to foster engagement and alignment – can provide what successful growth, whether incremental or disruptive, demands.

Content available
Article
Publication date: 10 July 2007

Jeanne Liedtka, Roger Martin and dt ogilvie

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Abstract

Details

Journal of Business Strategy, vol. 28 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0275-6668

Article
Publication date: 10 July 2007

Robert Friedel and Jeanne Liedtka

The ability to see new possibilities is fundamental to creating innovative designs – but what do we know about state-of-the-art possibility thinking? The purpose of this

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Abstract

Purpose

The ability to see new possibilities is fundamental to creating innovative designs – but what do we know about state-of-the-art possibility thinking? The purpose of this paper is to look at this topic, which the strategy field has largely ignored in favor of analytics, by examining a selection of breakthrough engineering projects. Out of these, the paper aims to draw eight different ways of illuminating new possibilities – challenging, connecting, visualizing, collaborating, harmonizing, improvising, re-orienting, and playing – and discuss what each of these might look like if applied to business strategy.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper explores eight different engineering projects that are regarded as especially innovative. It then explores the lessons of these for business strategists.

Findings

The paper finds that innovative business strategy development has many parallels with engineering approaches.

Practical Implications

Some of the advice resulting from this perspective includes: take an absolute industry “truth” and turn it on its head; look outside the boundaries of your usual world; put the numbers aside and get some images down on paper; find a partner and work together; push yourself beyond the “workable” and try to get to “intriguing;” act as if necessity truly was the mother of invention; formulate a different definition of the problem; and go out and conduct some low cost experiments instead of forming a committee.

Originality/value

The creative front-end of the process of innovation is revealed to be more than a mysterious “black box.” Instead, eight systematic ways to generate possibilities, using concrete examples from both the world of engineering and business, are described to help managers begin to see new possibilities for themselves.

Details

Journal of Business Strategy, vol. 28 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0275-6668

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 1 January 1997

Jeanne M. Liedtka

It was elementary school field trip day at the National Zoo, and the lines at the animal exhibits were long and hot. Escaping to the deserted orangutan learning…

Abstract

It was elementary school field trip day at the National Zoo, and the lines at the animal exhibits were long and hot. Escaping to the deserted orangutan learning laboratory, called the ThinkTank, I was intrigued to find an exhibit titled, “Can Animals Think?” The scientists, I learned, used only three criteria to determine the existence of thinking in this simian world: (1) the evidence of ability to create and hold in mind an image, a mental representation of something not present; (2) the evidence of intention, having a goal or purpose and a plan to achieve that purpose in a certain way; and (3) the evidence of flexibility, the ability to discover multiple ways to reach a goal when the initial plan failed to work. Image, intention, flexibility. How many of the managers and MBAs I work with, I wondered, could pass the Orangutan's Test?

Details

Journal of Business Strategy, vol. 18 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0275-6668

Article
Publication date: 10 July 2007

Nicholas Dew

This paper seeks to introduce the concept of abduction to strategists and show how abduction is an important influence on the effective design of strategies.

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Abstract

Purpose

This paper seeks to introduce the concept of abduction to strategists and show how abduction is an important influence on the effective design of strategies.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper defines what is meant by abduction, and describes why abduction is a pre-condition for intelligent designing. It reviews different characteristics of abduction, and suggests several situations in which abduction is used in strategic thinking. It describes a framework managers can use to get better at abductive thinking.

Findings

The paper finds that strategists can gain a lot from knowing how to use abduction well. Abduction is making inferences to the best explanation from information that is surprising or anomalous – both very typical in strategic decision making. Abduction is frequently integral to problem defining. Problem defining, in turn, sets the stage for possibility thinking, and choice of the best alternative. Therefore, good abductive thinking is a pre-condition for intelligent designing in strategy.

Originality/value

The paper shows that abduction is of practical relevance to business strategists, just as much as it is for the practice of law and medicine – two professions that have traditionally put it to effective use.

Details

Journal of Business Strategy, vol. 28 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0275-6668

Keywords

Book part
Publication date: 2 August 2021

Christine Falkenreck

Although not yet frequently used in marketing management, design thinking (DT) encompasses a creative, proactive, and empathic approach that connects different bodies of…

Abstract

Although not yet frequently used in marketing management, design thinking (DT) encompasses a creative, proactive, and empathic approach that connects different bodies of knowledge to shape innovative product and service solutions. Based on lean progress models, DT combines a manufacturer’s strategic objectives with the customer’s business requirements. This model focusses on the most important ‘pains’ the customers actually have in order to co-develop and more successfully sell products or services that provide value to specific customer groups or segments. This chapter aims to shed light on the potential of applying DT in new product or service development processes in different business fields to incorporate significant customer requirements a priori. The goal of this method is twofold: to reduce the extremely high risk of unsuccessful product launches and to make the integration of important customers during the product development phase easier.

Article
Publication date: 10 July 2007

Claus D. Jacobs and Loizos Heracleous

The purpose of this paper is to conceptualize strategizing as a playful design practice; illustrate this view by describing a process for fostering effective strategic

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Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to conceptualize strategizing as a playful design practice; illustrate this view by describing a process for fostering effective strategic play; outline the benefits of the process and discuss how executives can play effectively.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper presents a concept development with a case illustration.

Findings

The paper finds that strategizing through playful design offers both an alternative conceptual lens as well as a novel practice of strategizing.

Originality/value

Strategizing through playful design is a useful complement to dry, conventional strategic planning processes and helps to open up and orient fruitful debate about an organization ' s particular strategic challenges.

Details

Journal of Business Strategy, vol. 28 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0275-6668

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 6 September 2011

Jeanne Liedtka

Design thinking is a process of continuously redesigning a business to achieve both product and process innovation. The purpose of this paper is to present a this case

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Abstract

Purpose

Design thinking is a process of continuously redesigning a business to achieve both product and process innovation. The purpose of this paper is to present a this case study of two managers – both highly capable and committed, both seeking to innovate – a design thinking approach with a set of four tools which enables one to succeed with his initiative while the other struggles.

Design/methodology/approach

The author demonstrates the use of four tools routinely practiced by successful innovation firms: Journey Mapping – the ethnographic technique to follow the customer home to explore their problems in life; Assumption Testing – a prototyping technique long practiced within any firm's R&D area; Co‐creation – the surest way to de‐risk a new offering is to involve your value chain partners in the innovation's small initial experiments; and Rapid Prototyping – making small bets fast is nothing more than good old hypothesis generating and testing. Many managers have become so analysis focused that they have forgotten that the best data in an uncertain environment come from real world trials, not extrapolation of history. A tool like assumption testing, that structures the process, is essential.

Findings

The paper finds that learning only occurs when we step away from the familiar and accept the uncertainty that inevitably accompanies new experiences. Innovation means moving into uncertainty.

Research limitations/implications

The cases are drawn from direct experience working with large US corporations.

Practical implications

These are tools that any manager can use to execute an innovation initiative.

Originality/value

The paper reveals that it is important to have customer intimacy with a deep and personal empathy with customers as people, rather than as demographic or marketing categories. A focus on improving their lives (not just selling them products), allows perception of new opportunities (unarticulated needs) that others miss. It also highlights the importance of a low‐risk approach. One can expect to make mistakes and therefore adopt a portfolio‐based, experimental approach, in which multiple small experiments are done to test the ideas in action. Reduce risk whenever possible and increase learning by partnering with suppliers, giving them skin in the game. It also reveals that one should not bet on analysis alone; one should not seek the one right “answer” nor look only for “big” wins at the outset, or to be able to “prove” the value of the idea before moving into the marketplace. All of these beliefs are fatally flawed in the context of the uncertainty surrounding growth.

Article
Publication date: 1 September 2006

Jeanne Liedtka

This article addresses the widespread failure of organizations to turn strategy talk into action. It suggests that underlying this failure is the creation of strategy

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Abstract

Purpose

This article addresses the widespread failure of organizations to turn strategy talk into action. It suggests that underlying this failure is the creation of strategy “ducks” – a term borrowed from the world of architecture for buildings intentionally built as symbols. The author here argues that many corporations, in an effort to appear “strategic,” have inadvertently created strategy ducks – strategies that function as symbols, not roadmaps that remain an abstraction and a mystery to the people in the organization who must make them work. As with architecture's ducks, the connection between symbol and day‐to‐day practice is missing. In creating the appearance of a strategy where none exists, these ducks risk leaving the majority of the organization with little recourse other than to “fake it” – to act as though a meaningful strategy exists, when in fact it doesn't. What organizations need instead are strategies that feel real. The article suggests that, in order to close this gap between rhetoric and action, we need to construct strategy “sheds” instead.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper reviews the literature to examine what makes something feel “real.” Feeling real is a subjective perception, a personal judgment that each individual makes. The article explores the concept of real – drawing on work in psychology and, again, in architecture to answer the question: what makes anything feel real?

Findings

Four components are identified: firstly, presence – attracting attention, secondly, significance – making it matter, thirdly, materiality – offering substance, and finally, emptiness – inviting us in. Each component offers managers a useful lens into strategy making that enhances understanding of organizations' knowing‐doing gaps in a powerful way, and helps address the question “Is your strategy a duck?”

Originality/value

This paper is oriented towards executives and aimed at helping them to understand what it takes to make strategies convincingly real to other members of the organizations, and more likely to be successfully implemented.

Details

Journal of Business Strategy, vol. 27 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0275-6668

Keywords

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