Roger Martin -- The Design of Business

Roger Martin, Dean, Rotman School, June 4, 2004, 1:45 p.m.

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This is not about the management of design, managing designer types.

How does our understanding of things evolved over time?

More speculative, from now ...

The focus of 20th century value creation was the conversion of heuristics into algorithms.

Towards the end of the 20th century, a lot of things creating value by driving algorithms to code.

Are we going to continue to see more of the same?  The move to algorithm codes?

Speculative:  no, don't think the world is going that direction.

The new focus of value creation will be a movement back to taking mysteries, and moving them to become heuristics.

Hope that in the 21st century, will be seen as a century of providing elegant stuff, with a minimal environmental impact.

New mysteries:

If more right than wrong, what are the implications for business?

1.  Design skills and business skills will be hard to distinguish.

2. Will drive a new business enterprise, more like a design shop.

This transition from "traditional form" to "design shop" will be significant.

3. The business of design will become the design of business


Logic of mystery --> heuristic --> algorithm --> code, or moving to another level?

Moving towards algorithms means more efficient, but moving back means less efficiency?

Continuing circle?

Every paradigm / school has a way of looking at mysteries, as heuristics.  All probably need to circle back.  What would you change in the business school curriculum?

Larger issues in environment and health care, but not much money there.  How to deal with that.

Drive to code.  Huge regulatory burden, Sarbanes-Oxley.  Why would anyone want to go back to mystery, so that CFOs and CEOs go back to jail.

Is this a change of focus?

Moving from product to humanity?  Biotech binary code as the efficient conclusion of management?

1970s film, Logan's Run.

Shift from traditional firm to design shop.  Style of work as more collaborative.  See the opposite.


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