Why design?

  • Weatherhead School of Management at Case Western Reserve University recognizes that the art of design is increasingly important to the practice of management. Our world needs leaders who observe with fresh eyes, conceive and model new possibilities, experiment with alternatives, implement and refine best ideas, and continue to question existing conditions in search of betterment for individuals, organizations, and society…. Design skills and methods enable managers to respond to complex situations creatively, holistically, and productively. (adapted from Manage by Designing at http://design.case.edu)
  • Tim Brown quote from Change By Design – “Today, rather than enlist designers to make an already developed idea more attractive, the most progressive companies are challenging them to create ideas at the outset of the development process. The former role is tactical; it builds on what exists and usually moves it one step further. The latter is strategic; it pulls “design” out of the studio and unleashes its disruptive, game-changing potential.” (p. 7)
  • To take the orientation of “fixing” the complex, interdependent problems facing us using the same methods and ideas over and over only gets us more of what we have.  Albert Einstein stated this well:  “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results”

What is Design? — It is a discipline and a practice that can become artful…

  • For us, design involves ‘making choices’ about how to best respond to challenges and the unexpected; along with how to assess and determine the best actions to take AND not to take.  This premise occurs across the design discipline landscape from tangible product to human process in service to healthy societal and environmental outcomes
  • Human process designing creates the intentional “flow” of how a group of people, small team to large-scale organization or community, reflects and considers what is important now (in current reality), examines all the diverse perspectives and mutually determines what needs to be in the future
  • Design as we have defined involves an intentional “scaffolding” that supports the designer to co-create the conditions for innovation and transformation within human systems

How Design Unfolds—by default or by Design

  • Humans, individually and collectively, are “designing” their lives as they best are able by default or by design. Their responses can be either adaptive (opening up new and better ways) or reactive (getting more of the same old, same old or worse)
  • Given any set of conditions, choices and decisions are being made.  Clarity on the criteria for the specific and unique conditions become the design parameters for making the most appropriate responses
  • Every design requires on-going assessment and monitoring of progress towards particular desired outcomes.  Regular feedback enables course correction for emergent information to be effectively taken into account
  • In a rapidly changing, complex world, an effective designer intentionally holds the prospect for:
  • comprehensive perspective-taking and meaning making (paradigms; seeing the whole system of systems)
  • utilizing appropriate approaches to match where people are at
  • with engagement strategies for revealing the human system’s current realities
  • within the shared context of the overlapping human systems and
  • that includes innovative, co-creative approaches including rapid prototyping to achieve desired results

Ways We Support and Contribute to Increasing Designing Capacity

  • Design Studio Series — engages people responsible for change and complexity in human systems. The foremost design is of “the designer”
  • Design Charrette — is a focused, short duration, innovation session where a group of people (who have a vested interest along with a particular expertise and perspective) work collaboratively to develop new ideas and approaches to address an issue or challenge
  • Design Mentoring — is a peer learning intensive that involves small group mentoring, full group engagement as resources and individual design coaching in the context of real change work in real time
  • Design Coaching — deepens your capacity to discern key conditions and make effective design decisions for human system engagement and emergence

Learn more about each of these EoD Design Offerings June 2012