A couple of years ago I discovered a mesmerizing Harvard Business Article, entitled ‘Design Thinking Comes of Age’. In it, Jon Kolko made the case for for and why it should be the centerpiece for an array of business processes: Innovation, New Product Development (NPD), risk management. Kolko called for an establishment of a design-centric company culture, where failure is embraced through iteration and pivoting.

From that point onward, my interest in Design Thinking only continued to grow. In addition to the now famous HBR article, I managed to dig up several academic journal entries on Design Thinking and innovation. As a strategic planning major, I was intrigued by the overlap of Design- and Scenario Thinking. One article blended the two disciplines into Scenariologic — an approach that combined Design Thinking’s mindfulness approach to the future-building activities.

Most of my research findings, however, addressed the ‘What?’ and the ‘Why?’, but never the ‘How?’.

Enter The Design Thinking — an organizational transformation guide, written by Michael Lewrick, Patrick Link and Larry Leifer. The book explains how companies should effectively navigate digital transformation activities within different verticals of the business: teams, products, services and more.

The Playbook should not be mistaken for a cookbook, where following the recipes step by step approach leads to success. The book’s playful illustrations by Nadia Langensand is a direct hint at Design Thinking’s core concept: to succeed, you need to be creative.

Creativity is a mindset. New ideas should be sketched and tested. Failure is a part of the innovation process and new product development. Prior to launch, products’ and services’ prototypes should be tested with customers. Companies should learn from customers’ feedback and adjust the prototypes, quite possibly many times.

The Playbook has three distinct chapters. First one, explains what design-thinking is and its practical applications. Second chapter deals with organizational transformation, with a ‘how-to’ build a winning team. Third chapter deals with future-oriented design activities. Designing the future is what I was interested in most.

The book also expands on Blue Ocean, Red Ocean strategies and introduces a Black Ocean concept.

Intrigued? So was I. The authors make a swell job explaining why ecosystems, or the Black Oceans, are the True North of success.

All in all, I cannot recommend the Playbook enough. Whether you are Design Thinking practitioner or simply looking for new business strategies (and willing to experiment), this book is for you.

Visit the Playbook’s dedicated website


Order it on Amazon

Playbook English: http://amzn.to/2Dv1FdJ

Playbook German: http://amzn.to/2HvQDlF

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