Roger Martin

When it comes to innovation,business has much to learn from design. The philosophy in design shops is, ‘try it, prototype it, and improve it’. Designers learn by doing. The style of thinking in traditional firms is largely inductive – proving that something actually operates – and deductive – proving that something must be. Design shops add abductive reasoning to the fray – which involves suggesting that something may be, and reaching out to explore it. Designers may not be able to prove that something is or must be, but they nevertheless reason that it may be, and this style of thinking is critical to the creative process. Whereas the dominant attitude in traditional firms is to see constraints as the enemy and budgets as the drivers of decisions, in design firms, the mindset is “nothing can’t be done for sure,” and constraints only increase the excitement level.

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