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Article
Publication date: 6 October 2020

Roger L. Martin

The author argues that the model for the management of the U.S. economy and businesses – one that assumes that they can be run like machines –is producing outcomes that…

Abstract

Purpose

The author argues that the model for the management of the U.S. economy and businesses – one that assumes that they can be run like machines –is producing outcomes that neither were anticipated nor are desired.

Design/methodology/approach

The model of a perfectible machine needs to be supplanted by a model of a complex adaptive system in order to turnaround the performance of the economy and its companies.

Findings

In businesses, unrestrained pursuit of efficiency has had an unexpected and unintended effect.

Practical implications

One important way to design for complexity is to adopt multiple internally contradictory proxies for success.

Originality/value

Offers a critical insight for corporate leaders: The U.S. economy is not a perfectible machine: it is a complex adaptive system. Companies are not perfectible machines: they are complex adaptive systems. To produce better outcomes, leaders need to design for each element – complexity, adaptability and systemic nature.

Details

Strategy & Leadership, vol. 48 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1087-8572

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Article
Publication date: 18 September 2017

Jennifer Riel and Roger Martin

The authors translate their the concept of integrative thinking into a repeatable methodology, supported by a set of tools for thinking through difficult or “wicked…

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1903

Abstract

Purpose

The authors translate their the concept of integrative thinking into a repeatable methodology, supported by a set of tools for thinking through difficult or “wicked“ problems, a process that offers a better chance of rejecting false choices and of finding a way through to an innovative alternative.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors divide their process into four phases. A case example illustrates each phase.

Findings

The four phases that make up the integrative thinking 10;process: articulating opposing ways to solve a vexing problem; analyzing those opposing models to truly understand them; attempting to resolve the antithetical approaches of the opposing models by creating new models that contain elements of the original alternatives but are superior to either one and testing the potential new solutions.

Research limitations/implications

Additional examples and detailed guidance is provided in the authors new book “Creating Great Choices: A Leader’s Guide to Integrative Thinking,” (Harvard Business School Press, 2017).

Practical implications

Several corporate examples of “wicked” problems to which integrative thinking might be applied are: After a merger, the combined sales organization is riven by dissension between proponents of two opposite approaches – one using direct sales and the other channel partners. The CEO of a retail bank struggling to manage the conflicting goals of increasing efficiency and improving customer service.

Originality/value

Applied thoughtfully, this new and tested methodology gives leaders at all levels a fighting chance at solving challenging problems and creating breakthrough choices.

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Article
Publication date: 10 July 2007

Roger Martin

As design becomes more important for business, designers and business people need to work together more. However, they tend to find the relationship difficult, challenging

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2205

Abstract

Purpose

As design becomes more important for business, designers and business people need to work together more. However, they tend to find the relationship difficult, challenging and less productive than either side would wish. The purpose of this paper is to help both designers and business people work more productively with one another.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper identifies the underlying schism between validity, which is favored by designers, and reliability, which is favored by business people, as the source of the relationship conflict. It then uses the key attributes of validity and reliability to form recommendations for each side to deal better with their counterparts.

Findings

There are five practical and actionable things that designers can do to work better with business people and five equivalent things that business people can do to work better with designers.

Originality/value

Currently, neither business people nor designers have a productive or coherent theory as to why their counterparts behave in ways that appear to them to be unproductive. To fill the theory gap, they tend to think badly of their counterparts. This paper provides both sides a productive theory of the other and a prescription for utilizing the theory to promote more productive collaboration.

Details

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

Keywords

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Book part
Publication date: 17 September 2018

Atul Handa and Kanupriya Vashisht

Traditional paradigms of leadership have celebrated decisive top-down control and analytical decision making. But times are changing. The world is becoming more connected…

Abstract

Traditional paradigms of leadership have celebrated decisive top-down control and analytical decision making. But times are changing. The world is becoming more connected, complex, fluid, and interdependent.

Leading people in this age requires empathy, collaboration, curiosity, and creativity. It’s more about designing elegant solutions than mandating feasible ones. It’s more about becoming optimistic beacons of change than authoritative custodians of the status quo. The leaders of tomorrow are not commanders, they are innovators; and in that, they have a natural ally in designers – the poster children of innovation.

This chapter focuses on how leadership can leverage tools and frameworks usually associated with design to innovate, solve complex problems, motivate teams, inspire people, and nurture the next generation of leaders. It discusses design methodologies – user-focused design, lean, design thinking – as potential approaches to optimizing organizational leadership. We elaborate these ideas through real-world examples.

The chapter also offers actionable tips and techniques that designers use to respond empathetically and elegantly to complex human needs, which are rooted deeply in behaviors and attitudes, governed by complex interactions, and therefore, hard to grapple through a purely analytical approach.

It debunks the myth that leaders need to be creative similar to designers to apply Design Thinking. Applying design approaches and practices to organizational leadership is not just about its leaders becoming more creative. It is definitely not about the person at the top coming up with the grand answer. It is a collaborative effort that brings people from all levels together in pursuit of a common goal.

Details

Exceptional Leadership by Design: How Design in Great Organizations Produces Great Leadership
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78743-901-6

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Article
Publication date: 5 July 2011

Brian Leavy

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

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3116

Abstract

Purpose

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.

Design/methodology/approach

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.

Findings

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.

Originality/value

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.

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Article
Publication date: 31 August 2020

Brian Leavy

“On its current path, American democratic capitalism is, I believe, heading for an ugly fall.” So warns Roger L. Martin in his new book, When More is Not Better…

Abstract

Purpose

“On its current path, American democratic capitalism is, I believe, heading for an ugly fall.” So warns Roger L. Martin in his new book, When More is Not Better: Overcoming America’s Obsession with Economic Efficiency. Professor Martin has been concerned for some time now about the capability of the American capitalistic model in its current guise to deliver continued prosperity for the many and keep the American democratic dream alive.

Design/methodology/approach

Martin sees a serious problem in how the benefits of the American economy and its corporations are distributed; this has been shifting for some time now from a largely Gaussian (widely spread) to an increasingly Pareto (narrowly spread) pattern.

Findings

The shape of this distribution is getting ever more extreme, leading to a situation in which the richest families in the country are reaping a wildly disproportionate share of the benefits of economic growth. This kind of distribution tends to be self-reinforcing and that is not consistent with a well-functioning democratic capitalist system.

Practical implications

The actors within the system will keep adjusting to any change in the rules of engagement, and the tendency for them to keep “gaming” the system should be anticipated as both natural and inevitable and provided for accordingly. Breaking the company into subject-matter siloes has little chance of helping the company prosper. It tends to cause independent pursuits of efficiency that don’t add up to effectiveness.

Originality/value

The author of 11 books, Professor Martin has been ranked at the top of numerous lists of the world’s best strategic thinkers, and is a seminal contributor to the design thinking and integrative thinking movements. In his writings he seeks “to develop a new understanding of the broader public conversation around shared and sustainable prosperity, an essential piece of democratic capitalism.” A long-time consultant to major global firms, he offers insights for corporate executives.

Details

Strategy & Leadership, vol. 48 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1087-8572

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Article
Publication date: 16 September 2013

Provides an interview with Roger Martin, author of Playing to Win: How Strategy Really Works

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2305

Abstract

Purpose

Provides an interview with Roger Martin, author of Playing to Win: How Strategy Really Works

Findings

In the following interview, Roger Martin discusses his relationship with Peter Drucker, how to formulate an effective strategy in complex times, and reflects on his time as Dean of Rotman School of Management.

Details

Strategic Direction, vol. 29 no. 10
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0258-0543

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 20 November 2017

Brian Leavy

Roger L. Martin, one of the most respected strategists, is questioned by veteran S&L interviewer Brian Leavy. The questions range from the how and why of integrative…

Abstract

Purpose

Roger L. Martin, one of the most respected strategists, is questioned by veteran S&L interviewer Brian Leavy. The questions range from the how and why of integrative thinking methodology to academic arguments over resource-based view of strategy.

Design/methodology/approach

Martin, co-author with Jennifer Riel of the new book Creating Great Choices, shares the insights they have developed while learning how to guide executives through integrative thinking methodolgy.

Findings

The necessary raw materials for an integrative solution are two opposing models. By exposing your model to other models through interaction, together you can utilize pieces of those models to generate a new one.

Practical implications

We see the value of prototyping solutions – expecting to be only partially right with the first prototype and learning a lot from putting the ideas into action, seeing what works and what doesn’t, and improving iteratively.

Originality/value

Martin’s guide to break though thinking shares the insights he has learned from working with brilliant CEOs and others who have sought to find a better solution to a dilemma or paradox than the unsatisfactory solutions confronting them.

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Article
Publication date: 1 January 2013

Stephen Denning

This paper aims to present an interview carried out by Stephen Denning, who asks Roger L. Martin, the author of the recent explosive book Fixing the Game and Dean of

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to present an interview carried out by Stephen Denning, who asks Roger L. Martin, the author of the recent explosive book Fixing the Game and Dean of Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto, to explain why the private sector's 35‐year addiction to “maximizing shareholder value” has been disastrous for shareholders, for employees, the personal lives of executives, for the economy and for society at large.

Design/methodology/approach

In the interview Martin outlines the forces at work that preserve a dysfunctional system of maximizing the return for shareholders instead of focusing on customer value.

Findings

The paper reveals that there are many special interests that are devoted to maintaining the shareholder value doctrine, even at the risk of the survival of the firm.

Practical implications

Executives who mouth the shareholder value mantra need to realize that they are playing a game they cannot win on behalf of faceless, nameless shareholders who behave unilaterally and capriciously.

Originality/value

The paper reveals Martin's advice for private‐sector leaders who want to get back to doing real business, which is: focus on activities that provide value to customers and stop playing with earnings to hit Wall Street's consensus number.

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Article
Publication date: 11 May 2010

Brian Leavy

As value innovation becomes a core top management concern, there is a growing recognition that “design thinking,” or the creative principles long associated with the

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12034

Abstract

Purpose

As value innovation becomes a core top management concern, there is a growing recognition that “design thinking,” or the creative principles long associated with the design function, may now have something very significant to offer when applied more broadly to business management and strategy development. This paper aims to investigate this issue.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper analyzes the techniques of Roger Martin, one of design thinking's most widely recognized advocates. Martin introduces a set of concepts that are not familiar to most managers: the knowledge funnel, the distinction between reliability and validity, and abductive reasoning.

Findings

Using case examples of leading companies such as Proctor & Gamble, the paper shows how they have developed a capacity for design thinking.

Research limitations/implications

The paper presents case reports.

Practical implications

The paper provides a detailed description of how Proctor & Gamble and its CEO A.G.Lafley introduced and implemented design thinking.

Originality/value

This is a unique exploration of value innovation in general and how design thinking can be a key capability for company leaders.

Details

Strategy & Leadership, vol. 38 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1087-8572

Keywords

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