Design Thinking and Business

I'm collecting quotes and references here to get an overview of who's saying what about design thinking as applied to business. The idea is still young and in development; it seems we're only now reaching the conversation stage that leads to differing points of view.

I welcome suggestions for additions or corrections. —Victor Lombardi, March 2005

Engineering, medicine, business, architecture and painting are concerned not with the necessary but with the contingent - not with how things are but with how they might be - in short, with design.
—Herbert Simon, The Sciences of the Artificial, 1969

This role of manager as designer is hardly mentioned in the literature, and barely acknowledged in business practice. ...Managers practice "silent design"...the many decisions taken by non-designers who enter directly into the design process, no matter how unaware they or others may be of their impact.
— Angela Dumas and Henry Mintzberg, Managing the Form, Function, and Fit of Design, 1991

Today's markets are increasingly unstable and unpredictable. Managers can never know precisely what they're trying to achieve or how best to achieve it. They can't even define the problem, much less engineer a solution. For guidance, they can look to the managers of product design, a function that has always been fraught with uncertainty.
—Richard K. Lester, Michael J. Piore, Kamal M. Malek, Interpretive Management: What General Managers Can Learn from Design, 1998

We should not underestimate the crucial importance of leadership and design joining forces. Our global future depends on it. We will either design our way through the deadly challenges of this century, or we won't make it. For our institutions - in truth, for our civilization - to survive and prosper, we must solve extremely complex problems and cope with many bewildering dilemmas. We cannot assume that, following our present path, we will simply evolve toward a better world. But we can design that better world. That is why designers need to become leaders, and why leaders need to become designers.
—Richard Farson, Management by Design, 2000

What now matters is the design and delivery of value. That needs design thinking. That needs creative thinking. Judgment thinking alone is not going to be enough. Most people, in business and elsewhere, have done very well on judgment thinking. Such people are rarely aware of the need for 'design thinking'. They find it difficult to conceive that there is a whole other aspect of thinking that is different from judgment thinking. It is not that such people are complacent. It is simply that they do not know that there is another aspect to thinking.
—Edward de Bono, Why So Stupid? How the Human Race has Never Really Learned to Think, 2003

Design's power runs far deeper than aesthetics.... If you are mapping out a sales strategy, or streamlining a manufacturing operation, or crafting a new system for innovating you are engaged in the practice of design.
—Bill Breen, Masters of Design, 2004

As most companies already lavish quite a bit of expertise on the technical, financial and operations aspects of what they do, it is the equal focus [of design] on the emotional connection with customers that stands out as novel.
—Gabriella Lojacono and Gianfranco Zaccai, The Evolution of the Design-Inspired Enterprise, 2004

Design's power runs far deeper than aesthetics.... If you are mapping out a sales strategy, or streamlining a manufacturing operation, or crafting a new system for innovating you are engaged in the practice of design.
—Roger Martin, The Design of Business (.pdf), 2004

The most fundamental difference between [design and science] is that design thinking deals primarily with what does not yet exist; while scientists deal with explaining what is. That scientists discover the laws that govern today's reality, while designers invent a different future is a common theme. Thus, while both methods of thinking are hypothesis-driven, the design hypothesis differs from the scientific hypothesis.
—Jeanne Liedtka, Strategy as Design (.pdf), 2004

Designers are teaching CEOs and managers how to innovate... They pitch themselves to businesses as a resource to help with a broad array of issues that affect strategy and organization - creating new brands, defining customer experiences, understanding user needs, changing business practices.
—Bruce Nussbaum, Redesigning American Business, 2004

Really, what we're doing as designers is, ultimately, and inevitably, designing the business of the companies that we're working for. Whether you like it or not, the more innovative you try to be, the more you are going to affect the business and the business model.
—Tim Brown, speech at the Rotman Business Design Conference, 2005

If business and design are to come together fruitfully on a large scale... change must come from separating design thinking from 'the crafting of things'. The power of design thinking must be freed up to deal with all sorts of issues on a global scale.
—Patrick Whitney, speech at the Rotman Business Design Conference, 2005

We believe having designers in the mix is key to success in multidisciplinary collaboration and critical to uncovering unexplored areas of innovation. Designers provide a methodology that all parties can embrace and a design environment conducive to innovation. In our experience, design thinking is the glue that holds these kinds of communities together and makes them successful.
—David Kelley, Dave Beach, George Kembel, Larry Leifer, Jim Patell, Bernie Roth, Bob Sutton, and Terry Winograd, founders of the Stanford University Institute of Design, 2005