Strategy as Design -- Jeanne Liedtka

Rotman School Lifelong Learning 2004, June 6, 2004, 8:40 a.m.

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Introduction by Roger Martin

[Jeanne LIedtka]

Both hated HBS

Strategy as design

Normally a case method teacher, so usually don't lecture

What would organizations do differently if they took the design paradigm seriously?

1. Strategy is more about invention than discovery

Example 1:  Sydney Opera House

2.  We'd get a lot better at persuasion

Example 2:  Guggenheim Bilbao

Exercise:  asked people to think about their favourite object

3.  We'd keep it simple

Example 3:  The little black dress

Businesses would be understandable, e.g. fit on a wallet-side card

4. We'd aim to inspire.

Consider two bridges:  the Bay Bridge and Golden Gate Bridge, both 100 years old.

Each of designs works:  combines innovation creativity with techology

5.  We'd master the core skills first

Pablo Picasso at age 14:  The first kneel

6.  We'd learn to experiment

Example:  Ikea

Now want to talk about the design conversation:  the process, rather than the design.

7.  We'd be more inclusive

Example:  urban planning, more complex

8.  We'd talk differently

Example:  Central Park

9.  We'd work backwards

U. Virginia founded by Thomas Jefferson.

10:  We would start the conversation with possibilities

Example:  Barcelona, unfinished cathedral

Design process is difficult

What makes design so difficult?  Three central tensions:

Design has a lot to offer to business.


Designing strategy in a volunteer organization?  Board that comes in and out, once per year.  Ability to master core skills?

Who needs to have the sustained conversation?  Is there a role for the traditional planning process?

In Bell Canada, invested the Delta centre last year, 10 facilitator for 2 to 3-day planning sessions.  Biggest challenge as a lead facilitator in designing sessions, is involving customers.  How to do this better?


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