Why Design Thinking Equals Growth

If you’re not lost you’ll never end up going anywhere new – Dan Wieden

The New Revolution
As we progress into new ways of approaching problems, growth and design I have to admit I am loving the whole movement of design thinking and innovation. I’ve made my career as an ‘Idea’ man. In all of my postions in marketing, design, creative and business I have embraced the mentality that thinking differently and thinking big…big ideas create real change. Not only change but positive change and real growth. So when I recently stumbled upon a magazine called M/I/S/C, which stands for Movement Intuition Structure Complexity; it reiterated and embodied my beliefs and captures this whole new cultural and business movement.

To understand what design thinking and innovation really means I thought I’d pull from a few resources to let you in on what I feel is the next big movement and revolution for humanity and development. It is a movement that is utilizing design thinking and innovation as a catalyst for change and growth in our society.

This is going to require you and political, economic and business leaders as well as I across this world to think differently. As Tim Brown stated to not think as a society of consumption (consumer) rather a society of production (producers) for the better good of all. Earth shattering? You may say maybe not…but in my mind it actually is fundamentally revolutionary. Without revolution society can’t have evolution.

Tim Brown Ted Talk – Design Thinking
This TED talk by Tim Brown describes how today’s design profession can THINK BIG. Instead of thinking about making things smaller and easier to use he challenges the design community to collaborate with professionals outside of their discipline and ask the right questions that shape bigger issues for humanity, healthcare and human welfare. He points out the shift from the industrial revolution to today and those lessons learned to enhance how we think and build.

Design is a Catalyst
Those of you who read my blog know that I love design thinking. My whole career has been shaped around this concept of looking at the world and business problems from that of a design thinking mentality. That’s why I found Tim Browns talk so refreshing. If I could add anything to his talk I’d ask that he not just challenge the designer priesthood to think differently but that he ask ALL leaders and business change agents to think differently.

The Game Changer
That’s one reason I’m a big fan of A.G. Lafley’s book The Game-Changer. Design is a catalyst that can drive revenue and profit growth with innovation. But don’t take my word for it…

‘Design is about form and function, about emotion and experience. Design is a catalyst for creating total experiences that transcend functional benefits alone and delight consumers.’ — A.G. Lafley Chairman and CEO of Procter & Gamble excerpt from the book.


If you’re like me you have always known that design is an important innovation strength for your user-experience. It enables us to build that bond between products and customers. Design enables you to significantly improve customer understanding. P&G has reinvented their entire organization by making innovation its mantra and using design to unlock and unleash new sources of brand, product, and business-model innovation.

P&G understands that it’s imperative to design for the first moment of truth and yes…that design thinking really does create value. Lafley and Ram Charan show how P&G has revitalized market share and brands to become game-changers for their organization and their consumers. They contend that this methodology can benefit any business. I couldn’t agree more. The book shares how design was a missing ingredient in P&G’s quest to achieve superior organic growth.

Design Thinking
If you embrace design thinking as a true partner of innovation…it becomes a change agent that creates total experiences that transcend functional benefits and delights your audience. Design thinking is a methodology for problem solving and identifying new opportunities…its about imaging what could be possible – Lafley describes it as adductive thinking. But the real value is not only innovation but bottom line growth. Brown refers to it as the divergent approach. He points out “instead of defaulting to our normal convergent approach where we make the best choice out of available alternatives, it encourages us to take a divergent approach, to explore new alternatives, new solutions, new ideas that have not existed before.”

I refer to it as leadership. The Confidence and Courage to Change.

The Confidence and Courage to Change
I’ve been in business for over 35 years now in various roles, industries and capacity. One common factor that I note for any and all the successful organisation I’ve been a part of is the ability of Leadership to have Confidence and Courage to Change. I capitalize these words for a reason; they need to be nouns not verbs in a winning companies dictionary. They are transformational and revolutionary if applied properly to culture of a business or a society.

It’s refreshing to know that one of the finest enterprises in the world has the guts…the courage and know-how to change their entire way of doing business and allowing design and innovation to be their catalyst.

To Grow Your Market — The Leaders Must Grow First
Before you can implement real change or a real alternative growth strategy you need to grow your mindset. If you are in a leadership position do you posses this trait? Can you think big enough with courage and confidence to allow your company to change and grow revenue opportunities?

It’s The Economy Stupid
Yes, it’s scary, complex and difficult. But losing market share and going out of business is worst. Change, competition and the speed of business today is truly insane. How we approached problems ten, twenty or thirty years ago just doesn’t cut it. Operational, development and marketing can no longer function as we did even a year ago.

Logic Sucks!(Especially when it is right)
Cloonan you are nuts! Maybe I am. But, I’m not the only one in this changing world who has recognized this trend. Why do you think the American economy and other nations around this world are tanking? That lovely shingle that’s been on your enterprises door exulting your business won’t be there for another 5, 10, 25 or 100 years if you are not willing to change before your competition figures it out.

Never the Twain Shall Meet. Until Now.
As we look to rebound our economy and recreate jobs, reform Healthcare, change our dependency on social security and welfare perhaps this way of thinking is the solution. We use to call it Research and Development…now it is called Innovation and Design. But the twain have not met. Until now.

How can you increase and sustain organic revenue and profit growth for your organization? A. G. Lafley and his team have integrated design and innovation as a catalyst into everything P&G does and created new customers and new markets.

According to The Game-Changer here is how: Make consumers and customers the boss, not the CEO or the management team, innovate to grow a mature business, develop higher growth, higher margin businesses, create new customers and new markets, revitalize a business model, reach outside your own business and tap into the abundant brainpower and creativity of the world, integrate innovation into the mainstream of your managerial decision making, manage risk, and become a leader of innovation. Sounds simple…ugh.
Time to get to work instead of working at working.

Design Thinking: My Conclusion Applied to Business
With overwhelming competition and choice for customers today, design thinking is one of the best ways to win—arguably the only way to really win. Considering new ways of thinking…thinking big…breaking away from our traditional mindset…allowing a new way of looking at the same problems can evolve and directly impact growth strategies and process’. This is a central driving force for any business that wants to grow organically and succeed on a sustained basis.

Design Thinking: My Conclusion Applied to Humanity
The world is ready for the next revolution. As the industrial revolution and the digital revolution has changed the world. I believe the design revolution that Brown and Lafley so eloquently points out has now come to the forefront of solving major humanitarian issues. To take this methodology and apply it to world hunger or housing or welfare could fundamentally change the world we live in.

Revolutionary concepts to change our evolution of humanity — Cloonan


About Cloonan

Great Work Inspires Great People I’m always excited to see great peoples work. To hear and learn about others and share in their experiences in life, design and business. Who knows maybe someday I might learn something from you and you may read something of interest from me. Cloonan. Thinking Out Loud The opinions and views written in my blog are my personal views and insights…they do not in any way reflect or represent the views of my employer. The goal and spirit of social media is to increase communities, build relationships, share and put your personal perspective on life’s content. That is the purpose of my blog. I welcome all comments positive or negative to my own. Life is about sharing…it is about respect…it is about consideration…sometimes good and sometimes bad. Slainte’
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One Response to Why Design Thinking Equals Growth

  1. Pingback: Why Design Thinking Equals Growth « Serve4Impact

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