Tim Brown’s game-changing book, Change by Design, is based on the understanding that design extends far beyond form and function; it is a way of thinking that carries across an entire business.
According to Tim Brown, design thinking is a “collaborative process by which the designer′s sensibilities and methods are employed to match people′s needs” and then “converts need into demand.” It is not just for touchy-feely marketers wanting to make the world a prettier place; it’s an essential requirement for practical thinking.
Its jacket does a particularly good job in summing up the ideas of this book when it states: “the myth of innovation is that brilliant ideas leap fully formed from the minds of geniuses. The reality is that most innovations come from a process of rigorous examination through which great ideas are identified and developed before being realised as new offerings and capabilities.” Brown himself admits his book is tailored not for designers who may be familiar with the concepts the book contains. It is for leaders who wish to think differently so they can propel their company forward in a world that is ever-changing and increasingly unpredictable.
It comes as no surprise that Brown’s book should centre on the importance of design, not just for business but for the world at large. After all, its author is president of IDEO, an award-winning global design firm that takes a human-centred, design-based approach to business. He is also advisor to senior executives and boards of Fortune 100 companies, a board member of the Mayo Innovation Advisory Council, and writes for the Harvard Business Review, The Economist, and other prominent publications on design thinking. In short, he knows what he is talking about.
Perhaps it was inevitable then that his book would become a bestseller. It is a perfect entry point into the complicated topic of design thinking and relies on valuable and easy to understand case studies. Only six years after the book was originally published, it seems impossible to believe that design thinking was not as prevalent at the time as it is today. Whether or not Brown deserves the credit for coining the phrase is up for debate – but he certainly deserves kudos for bringing this essential way of thinking to the forefront of business, effectively changing the way the world views and values future leaders.
Stay tuned for more of our thoughts on leadership bestsellers, as well as interviews with the authors themselves. We continue the discussion in our column on The Huffington Post.