Should Business People Fear Design Thinkers?

29 mar. 2013

The power of a successful collaboration.

. . . This post inspired by Brian Gillespie post titled, Should Designers Fear Design-Thinking MBA's? 

In my opinion,  business people fear design thinkers and viceversa. It is a mutual fear.

Very few business people know how to work in a creative context and with creative professionals such as designers or design thinkers. Most of them don't like to work with creative profiles because they don't understand them. Some of them distrust of creatives, and some others take them for granted: It's just a "nice to have".

This mutual distrust is caused by a historical gap full of misunderstandings, bad experiences and cultural stereotypes that can be overcome by communicating and acknowledging  each others' expertises. 

In order to be successful in creating and supporting the innovations, both (designer and business person) need to learn the language of finance and marketing and the language of creativity that  will empower both in their discussions to argue strategically and creatively. 

In your post you ask designers to educate themselves on business aspects. I agree and add: Business people must educate themselves also on the pertinent aspects of creativity.

Teaching design thinking principles to business students as MBA electives is very necessary: As you said, these courses do not enable them to develop unique capabilities that can generate business transformation by design, such as the ability to reflect the customer voice through design research and analysis, to visualize and communicate complex information, or to create, test, and evaluate advanced prototypes. This takes a design education, followed by experience, focus, and maturity but, it is a great start for business people to understand creative processes, learn creative language and overcome their fear to work with professionals that probably think (and act...) different than they do.

As you said, 
"It is not about a world where designers do their thing and MBAs do theirs, but rather where both recognize and value the power of a successful collaboration, built on solid communication, that brings the strengths of business and design thinking together to drive business innovation by design".

Thank you Brian Gillespie , great post!

[Image via]

The Search For Meaning In Professional Practice is Transforming Organizations From Within

11 mar. 2013

Another unscientific conclusion from a design thinker

A culture of authenticity is flourishing and it is transforming organizations and professional practice.

People want to work on stuff that matters…and if it's not happening, they are working to find the way to transform companies and organizations.

Business as usual is not an option anymore

We need to live meaningful lifes. Creating value for more than yourself to give authenticity to your own existence is not enough: There is a need to share values and create awareness that might benefit other people besides yourself. These new social-flow is also creating a foundation and framework for people to do what is valuable for them, for their company and their community. 

It is up to each one of us to give meaning and authenticity to our own existence, including our professionals practice. We want to work on stuff that matters and be honest…and if it is not happening to you right now, you can try to find the way to make it happen. 

Coming up with ways to create meaning in whatever you do is meaningful in itself. Becoming a kind of a startup-in-searching-for-meaning, who wants to share values and authenticity from within the organization you are working for, is a nice challenge, isn't it?

Lindsey Smith commented on my post on GOOD regarding my definition of MacroEmpathy:

This definition is super interesting! I love how you noted your definition on macroempathy - especially leading to a truly empathic and human-centered world. How do we use this definition to change the world? How do we implement macroempathy into society's vocab?
I believe that this global search for meaning is another step towards a global awareness of empathy at the highest levels of leadership and commitment. 
* Please check Existencialism, a term that belows to our intellectual history. These are my favorite ideas about it:


Also recommend these posts and authors:

Jennifer Pahlka  Founder & Executive Director at Code for America 
Tim O'Reilly Some Lessons for Startups (pdf with notes
Richard Branson The search for meaning. 
Video from the inspiring psychiatrist and Holocaust-survivor Viktor Frankl


Design Thinking Insights | University Marketing

3 mar. 2013

Experiencing and Embedding Design Thinking in Organizations

*Fostering MacroEmpathy in organizations and professional practice

When did Marketing become something else?

The American Marketing Association AMA, gives us a hint with its new 2007 definition of Marketing: Quite revealing because includes the "role and responsibility of marketing in society" and "offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large".

There is a significant difference from  1985 official definition:

"Marketing is the process of planning and executing the conception, pricing, promotion and distribution of idea, goods, and services to create exchanges that satisfy individual and organizational goals".

...versus the new 2007 AMA official definition that considers the role and responsibility of marketing in society:
"Marketing is the activity, set of institutions, and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large". (Approved October 2007)
In other words, the new rol of Marketing in society includes to "create value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large" instead of  1985' "planning and executing the conception, pricing [...]  and services to create exchanges that satisfy individual and organizational goals".

I couldn't agree more.
The reality is that the new human-centered business models are asking for embedding Design Thinking professionals in the new breed of Marketing teams.

University Marketing requires more than an exceptional marketing team.
University Marketing professionals need "to do work that matters to you", and they need to have a personal commitment to education,  awareness of the social value of education  and its positive impact on this generation and next.

And develop empathic skills towards the students: Their illusions, passions, fears, commitment, quests....

University Marketing requires professionals that care for the students and also are willing to seek formulas that balance business goals and the institutional commitment to the customer-students best interests.

I have developed my career in the field of Marketing and Advertising as a designer, creative director and strategist for over 25 years. I have worked on projects of varying complexity, which have enricheded me by being in contact with different sectors of society, organizations and corporations and  different customers, audiences, potential clients, targets ... After 6 years working in the education sector, I perceive the practice of my profession diferently. For instance, I don't feel that students are customers at all...They are just students.

My definition of University Marketing is:
"University Marketing is the professional activity that provides planning, strategy, communication and development of creative concepts that aim to give value to the student in the first place,  to the educational institutions and to society in general."

And my job, as a Design Thinking Strategist embedded in a Marketing team, is to create, define and manage the above ... and make it work as a sole Strategy Plan:

  • The Strategy must be adequate according to the business goal and the student
  • The Plannification must benefit the organization as a whole and the student
  • The Communication must be transparent, effective and consistent
  • The conceptualization of ideas must enable us to move forward in providing value to the student, the institution and society
The great challenge is tuning it all as a great orquestra with the sole purpose of telling the story of the student and the university.

PHOTO How NASA sees the sun:

Design Thinking Insights | Marketing Universitario

Incorporación del Design Thinking en las Organizaciones

*Fomentando la MacroEmpatía en las organizaciones y en la práctica profesional

Desde cuándo el Marketing ha dejado de ser lo que era? 
Desde 2007 por lo menos.

La American Marketing Association AMA, nos da claves en la propia evolución de la nueva definición oficial. Es muy interesante: incluye "la responsabilidad del Marketing en la sociedad y en la creación de ofertas que tengan valor para los clientes, socios y la sociedad en general."

Es significativo que la definición de Marketing en 1985 fuera:

"Marketing es el proceso de planear y ejecutar la concepción, precio, promoción y distribución de ideas, bienes y servicios para crear intercambios que satisfagan objetivos individuales y organizacionales."

Y haya evolucionado a esta última definición oficial de Marketing de 2007  y de su "papel y la responsabilidad del Marketing en la sociedad":

"El marketing es la actividad, conjunto de instituciones y procesos para crear, comunicar, entregar e intercambiar ofertas que tienen valor para los clientes, socios y la sociedad en general. (Aprobado en octubre de 2007)

Es decir, que el nuevo papel del Marketing en la sociedad incluye la "creación de valor para clientes y sociedad en general" y no tanto "planear y ejecutar la concepción, precio, promoción y distribución de ideas, bienes y servicios" de 1985. 

No podría estar más de acuerdo.

Esa nueva necesidad de crear valor para clientes y sociedad en general es lo que está permitiendo que nuevos perfiles profesionales se vayan incorporando a los equipos de Marketing. Necesariamente. Los nuevos modelos de gestión necesitan orientar su práctica a las personas y el desarrollo de la empatía, como el Design Thinking.

El Marketing Universitario requiere algo más que una práctica profesional excepcional. 
El Marketing Universitario necesita profesionales que aporten el valor añadido de la vocación y compromiso con la educación. Necesita profesionales conscientes del valor social de la educación y la importancia del impacto positivo que tendrá en esta generación de jóvenes y las que vengan. 

El Marketing Universitario necesita personas que tengan presente al cliente-estudiante  en cada detalle de su práctica y personas con la vocación de buscar fórmulas que equilibren los business goals con el compromiso adquirido con el cliente-estudiante: Han depositado su confianza en la institución educativa que representas y esperan recibir la mejor educación posible y comprometida.

He desarrollado mi carrera profesional en el sector del Marketing y la Publicidad como diseñadora, directora creativa y estratégica durante más de 20 años. He trabajado en proyectos más o menos complejos, que me han permitido estar en contacto con diferentes sectores de la sociedad, así como con diferentes públicos objetivos, clientes potenciales, targets...hace 6 años que trabajo en el sector de educación, y ya no me gusta llamarles target, potenciales ...: les llamo sencillamente, estudiantes. 

Mi definición de Marketing Universitario sería:

"El Marketing Universitario es la actividad profesional que aporta planificación, estrategia, comunicación y desarrollo de conceptos creativos que tienen como objetivo darle valor al estudiante en primer lugar, a la institución educativa y a la sociedad en general".

Y mi trabajo, del que pocas veces hablo, consiste en crear, definir y gestionar lo anterior...y hacer que todo lo dicho ocurra, que funcione:
La estrategia sea la adecuada de acuerdo a los objetivos establecidos
La planificación beneficie a la organización en su conjunto y al estudiante
La comunicación se transparente, efectiva y coherente
La conceptualización de las ideas nos permitan seguir avanzando en la aportación de valor al estudiante, a la sociedad y la institución.

Mi reto profesional más complejo es conseguir que todo lo anterior funcione como una gran orquesta perfectamente afinada con el único objetivo de contar la historia del estudiante y la universidad.

FOTO: Twitter Art Exhibit: Los Angeles

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