Newswise — Every business owner dreams of creating the equivalent of the iPod, but all too often they believe that they are out of their league when it comes to unleashing that kind of innovation and growth. Designing for Growth: A Design Thinking Toolkit for Managers by Darden Professor Jeanne Liedtka and Tim Ogilvie, CEO of Peer Insight, is the book that provides practical details to show readers how to apply design thinking in a step-by-step way to solve complex growth opportunities.

The authors assure readers that business leaders already have the power to design for the 21st century -- they just need to figure out how to use it. “My experience working with MBAs and managers,” says Liedtka, “is that appreciating the power of design requires making it tangible and accessible to them. That is what we’ve tried to do in this new book, with the hope that this will lead to managers valuing the work of expert designers more, rather than less.”

Designing for Growth, to be published in June by Columbia University Press, aims to demystify design thinking by decoding design from an abstract idea into a practical, everyday tool from which any manager can profit. The book explains that the process starts with customers and the ability to create a better future for them, it acknowledges that we probably won’t get that right the first time, and it assures us that making it work certainly does not require supernatural powers.

Liedtka says that any leader of innovation in an organization has likely been practicing design thinking all along. In Designing for Growth, Liedtka and Ogilvie present design thinking as a systematic approach to problem solving built upon four questions:

What is? Exploring the current realityWhat if? Envisioning alternative futuresWhat wows? Getting users to help make tough choicesWhat works? Making it work in-market, and as a business

Aligned to the four questions are 10 tools, including customer journey mapping, value chain analysis, customer co-creation, and the learning launch. To make them come alive, readers are introduced to a number of practicing managers who are all using design thinking to drive innovation and growth in their organizations, including accountants, marketers, a nurse and an engineer – none of whom have design training. Using a business perspective and business language, Liedtka and Ogilvie:

-Translate the vocabulary of design-Unpack the mysterious connection between design thinking and profitable growth- Introduce a systematic process, complete with simple project management aids-Teach readers the 10 tools you’ll need to marry the design approach to traditionalbusiness thinking in ways that enhance their ability to profitably grow their businesses.

Designing for Growth converts the fundamental promise of design thinking into a straightforward system that readers can use immediately to deal with uncertainty and create growth and innovation.

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