Content by Robert Morris
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Robert Morris (Dallas, Texas)
5.0 out of 5 stars
One of the most important attributes of a great leader, Oct. 12 2013
This is the second edition of a book first published in 2005. In my review of that edition, I noted a strong recurring theme: "leaders must strive for a delicate balance of assertiveness and restraint." One challenge is to be able to do either effectively. Another, greater challenge is to know when each approach should be taken. In this context, Michael Roberto has much of value to say about great leaders as great teachers: "They prepare to decide just as teachers prepare to teach. They have a plan, but they adapt as the decision-making process unfolds. Great leaders do not have all the answers, but they remain firmly in control of the process through which their organizations discover the best answers to the toughest problems."
Why a second edition? Roberto: "This new edition includes the findings from new research by me and other scholars around the world. It also incorporates what I have learned through the development and delivery of leadership development programs at many companies around the world. You will see new examples, case studies, and research findings throughout the book." Of course, a book published eight years ago was probably written 9-12 years ago. So much has happened in the global business world since then. Also, Roberto has presumably received substantial feedback from those who have read the book as well as from others who have participated in the aforementioned leadership development programs.
Many years ago, one of Albert Einstein's Princeton colleagues playfully chided him for asking the same questions each year on his final examinations. Einstein replied, "Quite right. Each year, the answers are different." The same could be said for many of the business issues that Roberto addresses, especially now when changes in the business world today occur much faster and have much greater impact than at any prior time that I (at least) can recall.
With regard to the book's title, it refers to one of a great leader's most important attributes and lends itself to several different interpretations. My own opinion is that great leaders tend to have zero-tolerance of pandering and obsequious subordinates, of so call-called "yes men." Nor do they accept knee-jerk judgments and welcome carefully reasoned, principled dissent. Of course they will take "yes" -- as well as "no" -- for an answer if they respect the process by which it was formulated.
The original information, insights, and counsel provided in the first edition have been updated in the second edition with regard to the four separate but related parts within which Roberto presents his material:
One (Chapters 1 and 2): How to diagnose, evaluate, and improve strategic decision-making processes
Two: Chapters 3-6): How to manage conflict
Three (Chapters 7-9): How managers create and then sustain consensus within their diverse organizations
Four (Chapter 10): How the philosophy of leadership and decision making proposed in this book differs from conventional views held by many managers
These are among the dozens of business subjects and issues of special interest and value to me, also listed to indicate the scope of Roberto's coverage.
o Decision-Making Myths (Pages 11-17)
o The Perils of Conflict and Dissent (25-29)
o Managerial Levers (45-65)
o Hard versus Soft Barriers (84-100)
o Pulling All the Right Levers (113-115)
o The Leader's Toolkit (115-128)
o Curbing Affective Conflict (149-167)
o The Devil's Advocate in Business (180-184)
o A Culture of Indecision (205-225)
o The Origins of Indecisive Cultures (225-228)
Comment: Re the last two passages, in Tom Davenport's latest book, Judgment Calls, he and co-author Brooke Manville offer "an antidote for the Great Man theory of decision making and organizational performance": [begin italics] organizational judgment [end italics]. That is, "the collective capacity to make good calls and wise moves when the need for them exceeds the scope of any single leader's direct control." I urge you to check out Judgment Calls.
o Legitimate Process (249-257)
o Divergence and Convergence (274-278)
o The Psychology of Small Wins (278-281)
o The Importance of Trust (293-297)
o Two Forms of Taking Charge (306-311)
Michael Roberto is an eloquent advocate for effective development of leadership at all levels and in all areas of the given enterprise, whatever its size and nature may be. He is also among those who believe that great leaders have a "green thumb" for "growing" those for whom they are directly responsible. This is what he has in mind when concluding this book: "Great leaders, of course, behave as great teachers. They prepare to decide just as teachers prepare to teach. They have a plan, but they adapt as the decision-making process unfolds. Great leaders do not have all the answers, but they remain firmly in control of the process through which their organizations discover the best answers to the toughest question.
Meanwhile, I presume to add, great leaders still don't automatically take "yes" or "no" for an answer....
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars
An insider's account of the decline and fall of a once great firm that was "greedy, but long-term greedy", Oct. 10 2013
Those who share my high regard for John Whitehead and have read his classic, A Life in Leadership: From D Day to Ground Zero, An Autobiography, were probably as excited as I was when learning that Steven Mandis had written an "insider account of the organizational drift and its unintended consequences" at Goldman Sachs, a firm with which Whitehead had been associated from 1947 after he received an MBA degree from Harvard Business School until 1984, years during which he became chairman and was serving as co-chairman and co-senior partner when he retired. After reading Whitehead's book, I wanted to work for him and with him. He plays a significant role in this book. More about that later.
Mandis biefly recalls how and why he joined the firm, then shares his thoughts and feelings about what happened in and to the firm during and following his years of association (1992-2004). With regard to organizational drift, it is a process whereby an organization's culture, "including its business practices, continuously and slowly moves, carried along by pressures, departing from an intended course in a way that is so incremental and gradual that it is not noticed. One reason for this is that the pursuit of organizational goals in a dynamic complex environment with limited resources and multiple, conflicting organizational goals, often produces a succession of small, everyday decisions that add up to unforeseen change."
That is precisely what happened at Goldman.
These are among the dozens of business subjects and issues of special interest and value to me, also listed to indicate the scope of Mandis' coverage.
o Goldman Sachs: A Little History (Pages 15-22)
o Subtle Changes Made Obvious (34-37)
o Goldman Sachs's Shared Principles and Values (45-51)
o Devotion to Client Service (63-66)
o Productive Dissonance (83-89)
o From Partnership to LLC (101-110)
o Key Signs of Organizational Drift (123-151)
o The Effects of Wall Street Models (168-172)
o Chinese Walls (175-180)
o Conflicts of Interest (182-187)
o Communicating the Signals: Transparency at Goldman Sachs (204-206)
o Why Do Clients Stay? (223-229)
o A Sense of Higher Purpose (232-235)
o Lessons Learned (247-251)
It should be noted that John Whitehead led the formulation of Goldman's Shared Principles and Values. That was in 1979. "Whitehead had said that committing the firm's values to words on paper was his greatest contribution. More than anything else, it was a statement about the perceived power of the codified values to nourish and support the partnership culture." (Pages 45-51)
"Though the partners had strongly indicated at the time of the IPO that they didn't want to undermine the firm's core values, the changes in business practices and policies, as well as in the business mix, clearly indicate Goldman's organizational drift." According to Mandis, the key signs include representing hostile raiders, renewed involvement in asset management, advising companies in the gambling industry, changing underwriting standards, the emergence of stars and "super league" clients, rehiring people and making counteroffers, changing compensation and promotion practices, lateral partner hires, changing recruitment and hiring policies and practices, and staple financing. (Pages 45-51) None of these was sufficient to cause the decline and fall of a once great firm but together, in lethal combination....
o "Shared values, whether codified or uncodified, tie an organization together. A firm should determine its own basic set of nonnegotiable values, the minimal constraints."
o "Organizational exceptions [re nonnegotiable values] may address short-term issues but may cause long-term ones."
o "Firms must think about long-term greed and what it means. Through actions and training, leaders must explain the pressures on short-term thinking and how the form resolves the conflicts of short- and long-term goals."
o "An organization's structure, incentives, and values last longer and have more impact than those of individual leaders...It is the duty of leaders and board members to examine what is responsible, not who is responsible."
As Steven Mandis explains so well in this volume, one of the most challenging issues when guarding against organizational drift is that adaptation is critical to the survival of an organization, as well as to a species. Moreover, the difference between healthy adaptation and organizational drift -- as Goldman Sachs clearly demonstrates -- "is very, very difficult to discern." Therefore, leadership requires a "curiosity that borders on skepticism" and that "questions are answered with action." He fully understands and appreciates how difficult such scrutiny can bed, especially when short-term results are so positive. "Examining your own organization will be messy, but I hope the observations from the sociological analysis outlined in this book will provide useful guidelines and inspire the risk taking required to tackle the challenges."
5.0 out of 5 stars
How healthy is the cardiovascular system of your organization’s workforce?, Oct. 9 2013
Those who have read one of more of Mark Miller's previously published books already know that he has superb reasoning and writing skills in combination with the talents of a raconteur. What we have in this volume is a fable about today's business world. There are a setting, a cast of characters, themes, a plot, conflicts and tensions, and eventually resolution. The focus is on Blake Brown (age 28) whose career and personal life currently consist of frustrated aspirations, self-doubt, and - thus far - unfulfilled potentialities. His future at Dynastar is uncertain. He sets out on a quest to find out why "leaders are different." His mentor (Debbie Brewster) and five of his late father's associates are involved in the process. Details are best revealed within the narrative, in context. However, I am comfortable sharing a few of what I consider to be Miller's most important insights.
First, Miller is convinced - and I agree - that leaders have a certain presence that attracts interest and, over time, helps them to earn respect and trust. Call it "it," call it whatever you like. For whatever reasons, we feel something special in their presence. Now I am not talking about charisma. My own opinion (perhaps Miller agrees) is that charisma resembles an expensive fragrance. It has a pleasing aroma but should not be consumed. The leaders Miller has in mind are genuine, authentic, and consistent in terms of their affirmations and, especially, their behavior. .
Also, I agree with Miller that all organizations need effective leadership at all levels and in all areas of the given enterprise. More to the point, Miller believes that almost anyone can become an effective leader if -- HUGE "if" -- they sustain a commitment to five essential values: a hunger for wisdom; expectations of the best and to be the best; acceptance of personal responsibility and accountability; response with courage, especially during a moral crisis; and lastly, always think of others and their welfare first.
It is important to keep in mind that the development of a "heart of leadership" is a never-ending process. The nature and extent of that will probably determine the nature and extent of one's personal growth and professional development. Although one's character may trump one's other attributes, character is not mutually exclusive with natural talent and intelligence, a superb formal education, highly developed skills, deep and deliberate practice to sustain constant improvement (i.e. the "10,000 Rule"), and serendipitous timing.
In my opinion, this is Mark Miller's most important and most valuable book...thus far. The leadership he affirms helps to define most of the companies that are annually ranked each year among the most highly regarded and best to work for. They are also annually ranked among those most profitable with the greatest cap value in the industry segment. Coincidence? I don't think so.
5.0 out of 5 stars
A brilliant response to the “enduring questions of responsible leadership” in the market-driven world in which we live and work, Oct. 8 2013
Many years ago, one of Albert Einstein's colleagues at Princeton pointed out to him that he asked the same questions every year on his final examination. "Yes, that's quite true. Every year the answers are different." I thought about that response as I began to read Joseph Badaracco's latest book. In business as in the natural sciences, many of the questions asked haven't changed much (if at all). Badaracco poses five for leaders to consider:
1. "Am I really grappling with the fundamentals?"
2. "Do I know what I am really accountable for?"
3. "How do I make critical decisions?"
4. "Do we have the right core values?"
5. "Why have I chosen this life?"
He then identifies and examines what he characterizes as "emerging answers" to these questions, answers that are best revealed within his lively and eloquent narrative, in context. However, I am comfortable when discussing why I think this is his most valuable book...thus far. In my opinion, Badaracco is among the most thoughtful business thinkers, one who is eager, indeed passionate to understand a business world in which change really is the only constant and changes occur faster than ever before, and have wider and deeper impact than ever before. This is what Richard Dawkins has in mind when observing, "Yesterday's dangerous idea is today's orthodoxy and tomorrow's cliché."
I cannot recall a prior time in U.S. business history when such occurred faster and had greater impact than it does now. Organizations and their leaders face daunting challenges of unprecedented peril. This is what Badaracco has in mind when observing that "responsible leadership is, quite often, a version of a good struggle: it is a long effort, demanding perseverance and courage, to make good on serious but profoundly fallible commitments in an uncertain and often unforgiving world...Struggle has always been central to accomplishing anything worthwhile, and this is especially true today."
These are among the dozens of business subjects and issues of special interest and value to me, also listed to indicate the scope of Badaracco's coverage.
o Lessons from Entrepreneurs (Pages 4-6)
o The Enduring Questions (15-17)
o Emerging Answers (17-20)
o The Era of Big Machines (29-32)
o The New Fundamentals (32-45)
o Vertical Accountability: Boring and Brilliant (56-67)
o Market-Based Accountability and the Good Struggle (75-80)
o The Twentieth Century Template (87-91)
o The Challenge Today (91-95)
o Cathedrals and Architects (118-123)
o Consensus Values and Core Values (124-147)
o The Good Struggle (158-170)
o The Burden of Freedom (170-172)
I agree with Badaracco that responsible and accountable leadership is commitment, and, that commitment is struggle. Warren Bennis and Bob Thomas are among those who also have much of value to say about the "crucibles" that all leaders encounter but from which not all of them emerge stronger and wiser. For me, one of the most effective ways to demonstrate "the burden of leadership" is to examine a series of photographs of a U.S. president - Abraham Lincoln, for example - from when he assumed office until just before leaving it.
Joseph Badaracco's reference to the "burden of freedom" correctly suggests that it involves a commitment to, in his words, "grasping the fundamentals, defining their accountability, getting critical decisions right, making a few crucial values real and effective in an organization, and finding purpose, guidance, and solace for what is often a long, hard journey."
I congratulate him on his latest book, a brilliant achievement. Bravo!
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars
"We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit." Aristotle, Oct. 8 2013
In a previous book, Wellbeing: The Five Essential Elements, co-authored with Jim Harter, Rath explains that in addition to their own research for this book, he and Harter consulted an abundance of research conducted by the Gallup Organization with which they are associated. Moreover, "Gallup assembled an assessment composed of the best questions asked over the last 50 years. To create this assessment, the Well-Being Finder, we tested hundreds of questions across countries, languages, and vastly different life situations."
They focus on five factors that are the currency of a life that is worthwhile: Career Well-Being, Social Well-Being, Financial Well-Being, Physical Well-Being, and Community Well-Being. (Note: In Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain, John Ratey explains why there is a direct and decisive correlation between a healthy lively body and a healthy lively brain. Those who have a special interest in this important subject are strongly urged to check out Ratey's book.) To the best of my knowledge, this is the first time someone has analyzed hundreds of Gallup's global surveys involving millions of respondents and correlated, indeed integrated what they reveal within a framework that embraces five major dimensions of human experience.
Rath's focus in Eat Move Sleep is on what any individual needs to know about how to improve their nutrition, increase their physical exercise, and sleep/rest more effectively. Based on a tsunami of research, Rath's recommendations are specific, realistic, and eminently doable. They involve incremental actions (I call them "baby steps") that can help achieve major results in those three separate but interactive dimensions of human life. This approach takes into full account the reasons why, at the conclusion of each calendar year, millions of people with the best of intentions commit themselves to resolutions that -- they believe -- will improve their mental, physical, and emotional health. And then, usually within the first three months of the New Year, these resolutions are abandoned.
I know of no one else who knows more about patterns of human behavior that reveal human strengths and weaknesses than does Rath. Most of the information, insights, and counsel in his previous volumes is provided within a workplace context. Note that in Wellbeing, three of the five factors are Career, Financial, and Community. I agree with him: "No matter how healthy you are today, you can take specific actions to have more energy and live longer. Regardless of your age, you can make better choices in the moment. Small decisions -- about how you eat, move, and sleep each day -- count more than you think." In fact, the sum of one's choices and habits determines one's life span and the quality thereof.
He invites his reader to test his program during a period of 30 days. "I've noticed that making better choices often becomes automatic after just a couple of weeks. However, it takes some initiative -- on your own, with a friend, or as part of a group -- to take the first step." Actually, reading and then re-reading this book is the first step. Then, accept the "Eat Move Sleep First 30 Days Challenge" (Pages 209-218) and stay the course. Long ago, Aristotle observed, "We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit." How simple it seems: "Eat right. Move more. Sleep better." That is difficult for most people. So, begin and then continue a series of small choices to complete small tasks.
* * *
You may wish to check out the resources here:
1) Eat Move Sleep Plan (online functionality allowing readers to get their own personalized EMS Plan)
2) Reference Explorer (over 400 references supporting ideas/advice in each chapter)
9 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars
Flawed reasoning skills detract from interesting stories about underdogs, Oct. 7 2013
I have read and reviewed all of Malcolm Gladwell's previous books and consider him to be among the most talented and energetic of journalists, with most of his work featured in The New Yorker. He also has superb storyteller skills. His "discoveries" tend to be well-known to those knowledgeable about the given subject. In The Tipping Point, for example, he discusses a phenomenon previous characterized by Michael Kami as a "trigger point" and later by Andrew Grove as an "inflection point." Or consider "the secret of success" that he discusses in The Outliers. For decades, Anders Ericsson and his associates at Florida State University have been conducting research on peak performance. He duly acknowledges sources such as Ericsson and should be praised for attracting greater attention to the subjects he discusses. That is Gladwell's great value.
However, in his latest book, David and Goliath, he demonstrates faulty reasoning, such as what Christopher Chabris characterizes as "the fallacy of the unexamined premise." He also has problems with causal relationships and this is not the first time that Gladwell confuses "because" with "despite." For example, consider his assertion that attorney David Boies's great success is largely explained by the fact that he is dyslexic. Overcoming learning disabilities may have been - for Boies as well as countless others -- what Warren Bennis and David Thomas characterize as a "crucible" that strengthens and enlightens those who emerge from it.
In this context, I am reminded of the fact that one of the world's most renowned authorities on ADHD, Edward ("Ned") Hallowell, is an author of countless books and articles on the subject, a child and adult psychiatrist, and a New York Times bestselling author. Also, he is a graduate of Harvard College and Tulane Medical School as well as the founder of The Hallowell Centers in Sudbury, Massachusetts, and New York City. Are these great achievements because or despite the fact that Hallowell is ADHD?
In his latest book, Gladwell relies too heavily on insufficient evidence or, worst yet, only on evidence that supports his premise. Yes, peak performers such as Boies, Richard Branson, Brian Glazer, David Neeleman, and Charles Schwab overcame severe learning disabilities and yes, 12 of 44 U.S. Presidents (including the first and the current) lost their father at an early age. There is no shortage of examples of women as well as men who have a "story of success" despite all manner of physical, social, and/or economic limitations.
Gladwell is at his best when sharing what he has learned after exploring subjects of special interest to him. As indicated, I admire his skills as a journalist and storyteller. What I view as his defective reasoning skills detract from the presentation of some (not all) if the material in David and Goliath, hence the Four Star rating.
5.0 out of 5 stars
Here's just about everything you need to know about how to establish and then sustain an innovation culture, Oct. 4 2013
By the time I began to read this book, I was already convinced that the innovation process is a journey of discovery but it never occurred to me to think of it, also, as an "expedition," a much more structured process. Indeed, the accounts of the greatest expeditions throughout history -- such as Roald Amundsen's Search for the Northwest Passage, Hernan Cortes and the Fall of the Aztec Empire, Charles Darwin's Journey on the HMS Beagle, Ferdinand Magellan and the First Circumnavigation of the Earth, the Travels of Marco Polo, Stanley's Search for Livingstone, Lewis and Clark and the Expansion into the West, Sir Edmund Hillary and the First Successful Everest Expedition, Christopher Columbus' Discovery of the New World, and Neil Armstrong's First Steps on the Moon -- reveal lessons in leadership and management lessons that can be of incalculable value in the global business world.
In this volume, Gijs van Wulfen provides a brilliant analysis of what he has learned from Amundsen, Armstrong, Columbus, Edmund Hilary, and Magellan. When doing so, he frames much of the material within the FORTH Innovation Method, a 20-week expedition previously introduced and explained in Creating Innovative Products and Services, another of van Wulfen's books that I also highly recommend. Here is my take on the essence of this method:
Full steam ahead (Five Weeks): Begin the process with passion and determination...and meticulous preparation
Observe & Learn (Six Weeks): Assume nothing, be curious about and alert to everything
Raise/Generate) ideas (Two Weeks): Consider all possibilities without pre-judgment, scrutinize with progressive rigor
Test/Refine/Validate) ideas (Three Weeks): Obtain candid feedback from as many relevant constituencies as possible
Homecoming (Four Weeks): Team members complete the expedition process and introduce the results of their efforts
All of this is explained in detail within the narrative (Pages 68-73)
These are among the dozens of business subjects and issues of special interest and value to me, also listed to indicate the scope of van Wulfen's coverage.
o Ten Innovation Lessons (Page 46)
o 21 Situations When You Should Not Innovate (50)
o 6 Ways of Committing Innovation Suicide (52)
o 40 Reasons Why People Struggle with Innovation (54)
o 10 reasons to Innovate (60)
o 10 Problems at the Start of Innovation (62)
o The FORTH Innovation Method (68-73)
o The Perfect Innovation Team (88-89)
o It's All About the Right Moment (92)
o Thinking Like a Designer (100-101)
o 10 Enemies of an Open Innovation Culture (114)
o 11 Brilliant Inventions Made by Mistake (128)
o 25 Rules for Perfect Brainstorming (154)
o 30 Ways to Present a New Idea (192)
o New Rules for Realizing New Ideas (206)
o The Innovation Toolkit (218-240)
Readers will also appreciate the provision of five mini-profiles:
o The Origin of Harley Davidson Motorcycles (100-101)
o The Origin of Wii and Super Mario (130-133)
o The Origin of Ben & Jerry's (156-157)
o The Origin of Twitter (178-179)
o The Origin of "Liter of Light" (200)
When re-reading this book prior to composing a review of it, I was struck again by the fact that reading this book is itself a expedition, and, that Gijs van Wulfen serves the reader in several different ways: as a travel agent during the pre-start phase; then as a guide, mentor, instructor, facilitator, evaluator, and eventually as the owner/proprietor of a "hardware store" that offers is a full range of resources (tools, manuals, techniques repair service, and expert advice) during the final phase of the reader's expedition.
My own experience during more years than I wish to acknowledge is that the most challenging phase of any process by which to establish and then sustain a culture of innovation is - by far - the first. With all due respect to the abundance of material provided in this book, the success or failure of your expedition will be determined almost entirely by the nature and extent of your ability and determination to execute effectively what you learn.
Before concluding the brief commentary, I also want to say that -- in my opinion -- the illustrations in this book are among those of the highest quality that I have yet encountered in a work of non-fiction. Heartiest congratulations to Frederik de Wal for graphic design and typography. Also, readers will be pleased to know that there are Quick Response (QR) Code kinks inserted throughout the narrative that provide direct access to a wealth of valuable resources, such as various innovation maps and 20 practical checklists and formats to innovate the expedition way.
* * *
Those who share my high regard for this book may wish to check out these three volumes that examine another expedition from which valuable business lessons can also be learned:
Leading at The Edge: Leadership Lessons from the Extraordinary Saga of Shackleton's Antarctic Expedition (Second Edition)
Dennis N.T. Perkins with Margaret P. Holtman and Jillian B Murphy
The Endurance: Shackleton's Legendary Antarctic Expedition
5.0 out of 5 stars
The best on design thinking from Rotman Magazine: An abundance of valuable insights., Oct. 4 2013
Brilliantly co-edited by Roger Martin and Karen Christensen, the several dozen brief essays comprise the best single source for information, insights, and counsel on design thinking and then design doing of which I am aware. The material is carefully organized within three Parts:
1. The Foundation: Why Design? Why Now?
Introduction by John Maeda
2. How Design Fits into the Modern Organization
Introduction by Claudia Kotchka
3. A Skill Set Emerges
Introduction by Tim Brown
These are among the dozens of business subjects and issues of special interest and value to me, also listed to indicate the scope of the book’s extensive coverage.
o Implications for Strategy as Design, Jeanne Liedtka (Pages 24-25)
o Characteristics of Design Thinking, Charles Owen (48-49)
o A few approaches to consider when effectiveness for "tribe" or brand is most important, Sohrab Vossoughi (57-59)
o "Open-Empathy" Initiatives, Dev Patnaik & Peter Mortensen (63-65)
o Some possible aspects of a more Darwinian approach to design, Tim Brown (68-71)
o The Validity vs. Reliability Battlefield, Roger Martin (88-91)
o Formulating an "Opportunity Map," Alonzo Canada (94-97)
o "Sins & Lessons," Jeanne Liedtka (106-109)
o Design vs. Design Thinking/Mindset & Methodology, Heather Fraser (118-121)
o The Designer's Approach to Risk, Diego Rodriguez & Ryan Jacoby (129-133)
o Four Obstacles to Implementation of Creative Approaches, Robert Fabricant (148-151)
o Growing Influential Networks, Fred Dust & Ilya Prokopoff (155-157)
o Key components of fostering strategy as experienced in your organization, Jeanne Liedtka (161-163)
o Lessons from Breakthrough Engineering, Jeanne Liedtka & Robert Friedel (191-195)
o The importance of synthesis to design, Jon Kolko (215-219)
o How to Flip Orthodoxies, Bansi Nagli & Helen Walters (224-225)
o The Tools of Openness, Tim Leberecht (228-231)
o The Sustainable Shopping Experience: Store Interior, Steve Bishop & Dana Cho (235)
o Being: Design as a Mindset, and, Doing: Bringing Methods to the Madness, Heather Fraser (252-255)
o Using improvisation to Enhance Brainstorming Sessions, Elizabeth Gerber (258-260)
Here in Dallas near the downtown area, there is a Farmer's Market at which some of the merchants offer slices of fresh fruit as samples of their wares. In that same spirit, I show share a representative selection of excerpts that are representative of the material that originally appeared in Rotman Magazine.
"In the end, design is about [begin italics] shaping [end italics] a particular context, rather than [begin italics] taking [end italics] it as it is. Success today arises not from emulating others, but by evolving unique models, products and experiences -- in short, creative solutions. That's an end result we can all get behind, and design has already proven its value in achieving it." Roger Martin (Page 9)
"Whether your task is to design a product or an interaction, a delivery system or a business model, design is about rethinking what you are doing. Make no mistake: it is not a route to easy answers. Rather than solving problems, design [begin italics] finds [end italics] problems, and rather than providing answers it [begin italics] asks questions [end italics]. And in our increasingly complex world, this is the stance we need to adopt." Paola Antonelli (11)
"My hope is not that design will be everywhere, but that design will be [begin italics] where it is most needed [end italics], which is in creating new kinds of experiences and products, and addressing the challenges organizations are facing as they move from hierarchical to heterarchical entities. And from what I've seen, design is up to the task." John Maeda (13)
"The late-great Peter Drucker once said, 'The mission and purpose of every business is to satisfy the customer.' In our complex and information-saturated world, we often lose sight of this. Leaders tend to focus on questions like, 'What should we do next?' rather than, 'What does my customer need?' The concept of design will bring you back to your customer, every single time. And if you want to create value these days, that is where you have to be." Claudia Kotchka (73)
"Let's face it: the evidence before us is that our world is not going to get any less complicated or volatile. As a result, organizations have to be more adaptable and more resilient that ever before. As today's leading companies have shown, the key components of adaptation and resiliency are innovation, creativity, and design. Nature's solution to change has always been to create and evolve, and in my view, the smartest organizations will embrace this stance going forward." Tim Brown (165)
Roger Martin and Karen Christensen deserve most of the credit for the design thinking that selected and organized the material; they then supervised the design doing in a collaboration with others that made their shared vision a reality. Its production and aesthetic values are of very high quality, as are the text and illustrations. Ben Weeks, Stefanie Schram, and staff at Underline Studio, and Andora Graphics are among those who also deserve commendation. This is a volume that I hope you will soon hold in your hands.
5.0 out of 5 stars
How to use space to create a culture of collaboration within which personal growth and professional development thrive, Oct. 3 2013
As I began to read Scott Doorley and Scott Witthoft's book, I thought about different reasons why creating space is a good idea. For example, creating space for
o Awaiting developments
o Saying or doing nothing
Space can be created that is most conducive to these and other activities. It is also true that certain forms of "space" can discourage, limit, or even preclude most (if not all) of these activities. Perhaps you have visited one or more medical or dental facilities in recent years and noticed how strategic use of light and color as well as artwork has made them visually (aesthetically) much more pleasing.
As you may already know, energy renewal initiatives are becoming increasingly more common in the business world and one of them is the "nap room." People reserve time (usually for 15-45 minutes) and lie down to rest or sleep. That said, keep in mind that "space" can be but is not necessarily a physical location. It could also be a mental or emotion state. Spending time there fills one or more needs.
Long ago, while completing my graduate work in comparative literature at Yale, I came upon an anecdote about an incident when a French Romantic poet (perhaps Baudelaire) was asked how to write a poem. Long pause....then the response. "Draw a birdcage and leave the door open, then you wait and wait and wait. After what may be a very long time, maybe a bird flies through the door. Erase the cage."
Doorley and Witthoft present and explain a process by which to create space to set the stage for creative collaboration. More specifically, they explain HOW to
o Build a space on the cheap
o Set up a personal studio space
o Jump-start an existing space
o Find other ways to find stuff
o Make a space for new ideas
o Make a space to stay focused
o Make a flexible space
o Build a workshop
o Shape behavior with space
o Created a shared team-space
To repeat, Doorley and Witthoft explain HOW to achieve each of these objectives.
They also achieve their own objectives as co-authors. More specifically, objectives suggested in these comments by George Kembel, global director and co-founder of the Hasso Plattner Institute of Design at Stanford: "This book is an attempt to capture what the d.school adventure has taught us along the way and is a tool to help you to use space to develop your unique culture. I hope our story is an encouragement to you, suggesting that big things often have small beginnings, that radical change usually starts with brave but little steps, and that when people feel safe to try something new, spectacular things can happen. Good luck as you make space in your life, your teams, and your organization to innovate!"
* * *
Scott Doorley is co-director of the Environments Collaborative & Creative Director at the Hasso Plattner Institute of Design at Stanford. Broadly, Scott's work focuses on how physical context and digital media can enhance human experience. He teaches several classes in subjects at the intersection of design and media arts: storytelling & visual communication, improv, and digital media design. Scott has degrees in Film from the University of California, Los Angeles (BA '96), and Learning, Design, & Technology from Stanford University (MA '06).
Scott Witthoft is co-director of the Environments Collaborative at the Hasso Plattner Institute of Design at Stanford -- the d.school. His professional work as an engineer and a designer has focused on understanding and manipulating interactions among systems. As a Lecturer at Stanford University, he teaches classes in human-centered design and storytelling & visual communication. Scott has degrees in Civil Engineering from Washington University in St. Louis (BS, '99) and The University of Texas at Austin (MS, '00), and Product Design from Stanford University (MSE '08).
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars
Here's a blueprint for deploying design thinking to embed a more creative approach to problem solving, Oct. 3 2013
Here's how Jeanne Liedtka, Andrew King, and Kevin Bennett frame the information, insights, and counsel they provide in this brilliant book: "In the spring of 2010 the Design Management Institute (DMI) and researchers at the University of Virginia's Daren School of Business (a team that included us) launched a multistage research program to assess the prevalence and impact of design thinking in business organizations. Sponsored by the Batten Institute, a center for the study of entrepreneurship and innovation at Daren, the study set out to develop an understanding of the extent to which the methods, techniques, and processes traditionally associated with design and designers had been adopted within established business and social sector organizations." This, then, is a research-driven book, as are almost all other great works of non-fiction.
What they discovered "was so inspiring that we decided to write this book, in the hope that we could help the people we cared most about -- managers and designers -- see new possibilities to break through inertia and politics to use design thinking to accomplish the things we believed it was capable of, if we could only get it into the right hands." Please keep that in mind when you read it, holding the book in your own hands.
I commend Liedtka, King, and Bennett on their skillful use of reader-friendly devices such as the format they use for mini-commentaries on the ten exemplary companies (IBM, Suncorp, 3M, SAP, Toyota, MeYou Health, FiDJI, The Good Kitchen, Citizens of Dublin, and Intuit): The Business Problem, The Context, Designer's Contribution, and as a conclusion, What do We Take Away from [given company's] Story? Also, "Design Tool" inserts such as these in Chapter 2: Secondary Research, Mind Mapping, Design Criteria, Learning Launch, and Cards. The devices serve two separate but very important purposes: they focus on key material, and, they facilitate, indeed expedite frequent review later.
These are among the dozens of business subjects and issues of special interest and value to me, also listed to indicate the scope of the book's coverage.
o Building Bridges with Design Thinking (Pages 3-8)
o Incorporating the Four Questions Into a Three-Step Approach (18-24)
o Rethinking Metrics and Delivering Results (30-32)
o Why Take the Second Road? (37-40)
o Results!, and, What Worked and Why (51-54)
o Selling Design in the B2B Space (61-65)
o Building the Prototype (81-86)
o Including Engineers and Designers: The Importance of Context and Integration (99-100)
o Building Partnerships (109-111)
o Changing Views of Design (128-130)
o Stakeholder Workshops: Hatching & Blooming (148-151)
o Process to Repair Clongriffin (165-171)
o Creating Innovation Catalysts (182-186)
o Creativity Through Structure, and, The Ever-Elusive Issue of Management (189-191)
o The Role of Culture (191-192)
As indicated in the first chapter, Liedtka, King, and Bennett's goal in this book "is to push the visibility of design thinking in business and the social sector to new places and demonstrate that design has an even broader role to play in achieving creative organizational and even civic outcomes." They achieve this goal by providing an abundance on in formation, insights, and counsel while examining "ten vivid illustrations of organizations and their man agers and design partners doing just that -- using design thinking in ways that work."
Obviously, it would be a fool's errand for any reader to attempt to adapt and adopt all of the material provided. However, once having read and (hopefully) re-read the book, most readers will be well-prepared to use design thinking to determine which portions of the material are most appropriate to the needs, interests, strategic objectives, and resources of the given enterprise.
To those who found this book as valuable as I did, I presume to recommend another: Rotman on Design: The Best on Design Thinking from Rotman Magazine, co-edited by Roger Martin and Karen Christensen, published by University of Toronto Press. Jeanne Liedtka is among the contributors.