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									Business901                                  Podcast Transcription
Implementing Lean Marketing Systems

 Using Design Thinking for Growth
     Guest was Tim Ogilvie

   Related Podcast:
   Design Thinker exposed as Left Brain Dominant

                         Design Thinker exposed as Left Brain Dominant
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Implementing Lean Marketing Systems

Tim Ogilvie is the CEO of Peer Insight, an innovation strategy consultancy, where he has
made pioneering contributions to the emerging disciplines of service innovation, customer
                           experience design, and business model exploration. His projects
                           seek to create organic growth by using design thinking methods
                           to link new customer experiences to scalable business models.

                           “Design thinking” is a topic that recently burst onto the scene
                           accompanied by lofty promises but precious few practical
                           details. Designing for Growth: A Design Thinking Tool Kit for
                           Managers is the book that provides those details. Going beyond
                           the basic theory and philosophy of recent books about the topic,
                           it shows readers how to apply design thinking in a step-by-step
                           way to solve complex growth opportunities.

                            Authors Jeanne Liedtka and Tim Ogilvie assure readers that
business leaders already have the power to design for the 21st century–they just need to
figure out how to use it. And they say that any leader of innovation in an organization has
likely been practicing design thinking all along. Written in an approachable, hyperbole-free
tone, Designing for Growth: A Design Thinking Toolkit for Managers will help business
owners, executives, managers and staff discover the strengths they already have and
teach them how to develop some new skills, providing the tools and templates to make
readers instant brown-belts in design thinking.

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Implementing Lean Marketing Systems
Joe Dager: Welcome everyone. This is Joe Dager, the host of the Business901 podcast.
With me today is Tim Ogilvie who's the CEO of Peer Insight, an innovations strategy
consultancy, and he is the coauthor of "Designing for Growth," a new book which is
subtitled "A Design Thinking Toolkit for Managers." I want to thank you, Tim, for joining
me. I would like to start off by asking one of your questions, "Who your book is meant for,
designers, innovators or is it a book for business managers?"

Tim Ogilvie: Great question. It is definitely targeted for the practicing manager, the
person who's got a responsibility to grow their business and who does not have any
training in design; plain and simple, is looking at ways to grow their business. That's our
Joe: Is it a business management tool versus, something for innovators or for design
Tim: Well one of the challenges in innovation, Joe, is the vocabulary isn't very uniform or
shared. Unlike in the quality profession where we have really precise language, we just
don't have that in the world of growth and innovation. Design in particular is just a really
fuzzy word that means a lot of things to a lot of people. What we've done is to try to
effectively demystify what design thinking is. There's certainly been a lot of hyperbole and
a lot of talk at an abstract level. And my coauthor and I thought, we need to reduce this to
something really practical that's a tool that people can use.
What you find as I know you spent time with the book is, it's very much written in
layperson's terms with the least amount of fancy jargon and the greatest amount of very

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practical stories of how everyday managers are quitting the tools to use. That's the thing
I'm proudest of.
Personally I'm vocabulary challenged; often will find a really precise fancy word, and so
fortunately your clients really coach you to put it in plain English. My coauthor has been
really great that way, to keep the entire book in usable plain English for the practicing
Joe: One of the things I hesitated about is, when I did see your coauthor being from, I
think, Columbia Business School, I thought is this going to be like a textbook? What is it
going to be? That was one of my first thoughts when I was looking at it on Amazon, and
it's not at all.
Tim: Jeanne is just the most pragmatic strategy professor in the world, and I have been
teaching with her for four years. When she invited me to coauthor the book I knew it would
be super practical, super usable, but I totally understand your hesitation. The expectation
of the academic world is nuanced, precise, vocabulary laden, and what we managed to
create is actually completely story based and practical. And again, for me that's easy. My
whole world is practicing with real managers on the ground. But for Jeanne, it's an
amazing trick for my coauthor, and she has pulled it off.

Joe: Is this book a reflection of what you do at Peer Insights?
Tim: Oh yes, very much so. When she approached me she said, "Tim, you have to help
me write this book, because I don't have stories - the access to all those stories and the
people doing this - in the same way that you do." She knew what we did as a firm, and
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Implementing Lean Marketing Systems
we've been teaching together for four years, and so we knew that would come together
quite naturally. But I think our usual role in the world is to help companies solve growth
problems, and design thinking is a set of tools that are optimized to solve growth
problems. So this is a very close approximation of our role in the business world.
Joe: Can you kind of give me an idea of how you would define design thinking?

Tim: Yeah. I'm trained as an engineer, and I grew up in the quality movement in the late
'80s and early '90s. And in the quality movement we use a method of thinking I would
refer to as analytical thinking. You have a data set to work from and you reduce that data
set to a series of insights, and you build potential new answers based on that. Design
thinking is another problem solving approach that is a complement to analytic thinking.
Design thinking is perfect for situations where we're looking at a future that doesn't exist
yet. Joe, if we're trying to figure out a future that may or may not come into existence, we
don't have any source of data. The analytic tools break down very quickly. Then as a
practicing manager you think, "Well, I don't have tools for that."
Design thinking is the tools for that, to say, hey, we can actually prototype alternative
futures. Rather than creating data for them, we can simply have target users experience
those prototypes. We can observe from their own behaviors and preferences which ones
are working better than others.
So, very much, the core of what's in a design thinking approach is extreme focus on the
user and their experience; visualizing multiple options, testing those in the hands of the
users, and iterating very quickly from less appealing options to more appealing options.
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It just relies on experimentation which analytic problem solving processes don't need to
rely on those as much because, in the world of analytics, we have source data from which
to work.
Joe: When you come out of a business management school, it seems like MBAs are all
very driven by analytics, are they not?

Tim: Well that's what we're trained in and, for that matter, even before MBA we start
getting trained in analytics in fourth and fifth grade is the reality of it. We stop being
trained in design because it's not very practical. We're not going to be able to get a job,
most of us, as designers. It's a shame that we stop developing those gifts because we all
have them. But the beautiful reality of design thinking is you haven't lost your gifts for
creative exploration at all. They're so innate to humans. And when we show the tools to a
manager, who's an MBA, like you said Joe, and extremely analytics oriented and you put
these tools in their hands, they say, "I'll never do it the other way again."
They instantly have success. They don't have the vocabulary for it necessarily, but they
have the instincts and the intuition perfectly.
If I may, I'll tell you a story. One of my favorite design thinkers that we profile in the book
is Dave Jarrett. Dave's a senior partner at Crowe Horwath accounting and consulting firm.
So, of course, Dave has an MBA; Dave has a CPA. Do you think he's hyper analytically
developed? Absolutely.
But what he found was that, when they were developing new solutions for clients, they
were creating data where none existed. They were treating that data as if it was real. They
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were building whole solutions that might cost $25,000 to create the prototype, getting it
perfect before they took it to the customer.
Then they'd go to the customer and the customer would say, "Oh, it's not really what I
need." It's like, as Dave says, "You get a lot of false starts." We worked with Dave and
solved that and introduced these tools of rapid prototyping.

Today what Dave does is, he'll get a group of people in a room. They'll spend a day or a
day and a half experimenting with what new solutions could be. They'll turn those into a
simple storyboard, a sketch if you will, and go out to customers on day three, before
they've spent $25,000 creating a prototype. They'll say, "Hey, here's the scenario we see,
and here's the direction we're working toward. What do you think?"
What was really fun about Dave's experiment was that he'd schedule an hour with his
clients, and his partner said, "You're insane. Your clients don't want you out there half-
cocked with something you haven't thought through."
What Dave found was just the opposite. That, he said, he'd schedule an hour for these
meetings, and the clients were spending two hours completely loving the invitation to
design something with us, and they'd have all kinds of enthusiasm.
He'd be back a week later with a more highly evolved version of it, and they'd say, "Oh,
that's getting much closer. Now it just needs this or it needs..." Within a few weeks they
really had figured out what the prototype was that was worth building, and they already
had a customer for it before they wrote the first line of code.

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That, to me, is a guy who's a born again design thinker even though, as we said, he's
effectively trained exclusively in analytics and math and in science.
Joe: That kind of brings me to a couple of my questions about prototyping and
co-creation. You explained the co-creation process to me, because it's out there working
with the customer. Versus, I think a lot of people think of co-creation is, that you're getting
this customer in this room. You're talking about what each other needs and things like
that. But it's not. You're showing him something, working with him through a process,
constant prototyping somewhat. Is that a fair analogy?
Tim: Yeah, very fair. I think the listing that you're talking about also happens, but it
happens upstream. As you're really thinking about whether this is a problem you think you
can solve. Of course you're working closely with your customer and you're asking him
what's frustrating. Most of our clients have that context already in hand, whether it's an
internal customer or, more classically, an external customer. The difference in co-creation
and prototyping is you're actually mocking something up visually that, again, it could be a
crude sketch or it could be a wiring diagram. Most often we're taking it out of PowerPoint,
easily the worst tool for this type of innovation.
We're getting it onto a poster, so something that you can lay out on a table like a
blueprint, or something you can tape up on the wall. We're asking them to interact with it
with their hands, and put a Post-it note at the parts they don't understand or put a Post-it
note to fill in a blank.

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You can imagine, it's just completely participatory. You're out of language at that point and
you're into images, even if they're crude, stick figure images. You're accessing a different
part of your customer's brain and a different part of their competence.
When I think about Christi Zuber, who's a nurse at Kaiser Permanente, she was asking
their nurses in the field to describe a particularly stressful process that they go through
every day on the floor.
One of the ways she asked them to do it was, she said, "Draw a sketch of what this part of
your day is like," and she would have nurses drawing. At first the nurses would say, "Well,
it's stressful, but everything's stressful." So we're in language, and it's not working. And
they're drawing a picture of themselves on roller skates with people on either side of them
shouting at them. Now you're getting somewhere. You're starting to see the real stress
that she's feeling.
The idea of the roller skates tells you, oh she feels like she can't go fast enough, that she
has to find ways to move even faster. She feels like she's being shouted at from two
different directions. There's an information flow requirement here that we need to manage.
But you're really starting to get, as I say, your customer's competence starting to come
through. In the same way that a quality engineer knows that using an Ishikawa diagram is
a fantastic way to stimulate people to think about the different potential failure modes in a
Joe: Well, I think of this as really just a great extension of Lean. Lean is learn by doing, a
hypothesis, a PDCA cycle. With these iterations it's a great way of really taking what I call
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a new level to Lean, because design thinking adds some great skills to it. Especially I look
at your organizing framework of what is, what if, what wows, what works, really was a
great bridge between a PDCA cycle to a normal business practice.
Tim: So I agree, and I have seen Lean experts struggle with design thinking at the front
end in a couple of ways. I think philosophically you're right. It's absolutely perfectly
aligned. At a practical level, there is in a Lean world, very often a source of data and a set
of data tools that are hugely valuable and a certain comfort. Those typically don't really
exist in a design problem. If you're looking at futures, we often just don't have data. I
think that comfort with using eight or 10 customer interactions as your data, as opposed
to, which is obviously all qualitative, and think, "Twelve observations, I can't get any
quantitative insights from that." And we agree. So getting some comfort level with small
sample sizes, I think, has been a trick.
I think there's also Lean practitioners - the desire to get to the answer quickly and get to
implementation - that Lean has this wonderful sense that there's a clock ticking. But design
thinking seeks at the beginning to keep it open and generate more and more new
alternatives, and, in fact, experiment with multiple alternatives in a way that, it's not
against the principles of Lean, but as I say, we've seen some Lean practitioners want to
jump too quickly to the answer is just intuitively speaking to them.

What we urge in design thinking is wait, spend more time and give the customer three
alternatives to experience, and not just one. Not just the one that you think is the most
likely. That discipline of exploring multiple options is classic designer's discipline. The

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designer doesn't believe there's a perfect solution. They believe that there's one that will
just be more preferred by users, and the user's behavior will tell you which one that is.
Joe: I think that's a great way of looking at it, because it is. We end up sometimes
making it a single one instead of going out there with like three. I think it's an excellent
way of putting it.

Tim: The rule of threes is obviously really human magic right there. If I go to my
customer and I say, "I've been working on this thing and here's what I think it is." Go back
to Dave Jarrett at Crowe Horwath. He used to take the client a 50-page PowerPoint, and
then say, "Hey, what do you think?" The client looks at this beautiful -- they've thought of
every question, they've walked through every answer, and he says, "Boy, they're doing
this. It doesn't matter what I say. They've put a lot of thought into this." And so he tends
to say, "Yeah. I like it." But then when you build it, he may not use it, right. In the design
thinking world, you come to him with three different story boards, and you say, "Hey,
which of these is more interesting to you?" Now, they're just sketches, and there are three
of them, and so you haven't sent a signal to him that you're building any of them.
You've signaled that you're open to these three, and in fact if he's got a fourth in his mind
that you haven't thought of, you're probably open to that. So, it's just a different degree of
tolerance for being in the unknown at the front end of the process that often can really set
you free.
A firm that a lot of us admire is Google. They test things that they don't think will work.
You think, "Well, that sounds stupid." But Gmail is a classic 20 percent times opportunity

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or offering that they thought probably wouldn't work. Of course, look at the incredible
popularity of Gmail.
You know, the basic premise behind Gmail is what if you get free email, you let us see it,
and a bot gets to read your email messages and serve up ads that you think will be
relevant based on what you were talking about in your email. Most people would say, if
you did a survey, "Well, that's just an invasion of privacy, and I don't think so." But look at
the way Gmail turned out. It does that. I use Gmail. It serves me ads based on reading my
personal email messages that I send through Google, and I don't mind.
It's just the idea of testing something that you think will fail, as long as you make the test
affordable. I think that's another key of design thinking is, we like to place bets, but we
like to keep them small. Right? Make the leaps of faith. Design thinking can help you make
your leaps of faith smaller leaps. So you can learn very quickly and say, "Oops, I'm not
going that way. I'm going the other way."
Joe: Design thinking's been around a while, hasn't it? I mean, what's bringing it to the
surface now?
Tim: I think it's the economic times. I agree completely that there have been firms that
have competed on design and have used design thinking to solve problems, but in the '90s
none of us really needed it. You could grow by acquiring firms that were similar to yours
and integrating them, right, through applying Lean and Six Sigma. You could grow by
expanding geographically into a market that you weren't serving yet. You could get both in
a way that was more mathematical and required less of a leap of faith. Or, you could get

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growth where you could actually forecast the ROI in advance and agree that it's
All right, that growth engine for most companies just isn't available anymore, right? The
market's not growing at that rate. We've got global saturation in most markets with the
exceptions maybe of India and China. The growth rate's just not there.

So, you've got a guy like Jeffrey Immelt of GE, and if he tries to do what Jack Welch did,
he'll get fired because he's going to get six or seven percent year on year growth. He's got
to do something else. The heyday of M&A, and Six Sigma, and Operational Excellence as
giving you double digit growth is over.
So, guys like Jeffrey Immelt and guys like A.G. Laffley at P&G said, "I got to do something
more than that." I think these were kind of the bellwether firms that said, "Hey, let's
unleash design thinking and see if that could be a new engine of organic growth that gets
us into the double digit growth that I promised my shareholders."
Joe: Can I simplify it and say maybe it's just because back then demand exceeded
supply, and now supply exceeds demand?
Tim: That's beautiful. And of course, the world's also flat in terms of the way the Internet
makes distribution, especially anything that's IT based, extremely cost effective. That's
part of the same supply and demand phenomena. I think you've nailed it.
Joe: Could that be a reason why design thinking has taken a hold in Europe earlier than it
has in the U.S.?

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Tim: Yes. First of all, design thinking has an appeal to Europe because design has an
appeal way beyond what it has in the U.S. Europe has been very design centric. The design
education is more extensive. The amount of public money that gets spent on design is ten
to one more than the way we use public money here in the U.S. We rely on the private
markets to take care of the way government services work, and so, Europe, in general, is
much more design forward and has a positive feeling about design. American business has
been extremely efficiency oriented and competed on design until the last decade, with the
exception of firms like Disney, perhaps, and Apple. But those have been the exception to
the rule. I think we're obviously realizing potential, and lots of American firms are
competing based on customer experience design and design thinking.
We're changing our tune. We're not going to change how we invest public money, I don't
think in any meaningful way. But we're certainly having a growing appetite for design
thinking. Just to give you an example, there's a wonderful educational program in Chicago
based at the Institute of Design, and they're teaching people masters in design
management, and every one of these students is getting a job the day they walk out of the
They can't expand the program, the D school at Stanford, and the Carnegie Mellon's design
school they just can't produce enough graduates. The industry is sucking them up at a 100
percent rate. You can clearly see the demand by businesses for skills that are optimized for
design thinking is easily outstripping the supply from an educational standpoint.

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Joe: Tim, in your book you provided a framework, and I think that's an ideal framework
to get into business managers, but do you practice them ten tools? Are you using these on
a regular basis and are they just the surface? Do you use a lot more?
Tim: Joe, I would say I'm like a reformed smoker. I think there's nobody who's more
rabid about anti-smoking than a reformed smoker. I'm a reformed non-design thinker. I
like to get to the answer quickly and get into execution surrounded by people who are
design trained. In the past eight years, I've learned the discipline to always use the tools of
design thinking. So, now it's a learned habit, and a very conscious habit. This is one of the
challenges a Six Sigma black belt has is, they have their habits and they've been very
successful based on those habits. Design thinking is going to ask them to create some new
habits. Truthfully, we use these tools everyday on our internal projects when there's no
client. We apply them.
I will say that I think the book lays them out in a way that might be artificially linear.
Right? Visualization happens at each stage. Prototyping can happen at lots of different
stages and for simplicity and clarity we've left them it in a single place in the book. So I
think, as you practice with the tools in the book, you'll say, "Oh, I can be prototyping this
thing way early."
I think that's absolutely right. You might find that you're using some tools in multiple
places along the series of four questions. But we use them all everyday. In terms of are
there more to the tools that are there, the basic ones? We'll get you were you need to be
on every project.

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Joe: How did they develop? It's something that you just work from? Because mind
mapping, per se, isn't the Tony Buzan type of mind mapping that you imagine. It's a little
different than that.
Tim: There are more tools, potentially. But we like to keep it straightforward so that it
encourages a proxy manager to step in and try it. We polled a bunch of design
practitioners in great design firms that are prime companies and people we admire. We
looked at the tools that we use, and this was, to us, the most simple and elegant set of
tools. I will say the mind mapping, I have a synonym for that, which is sense making. So,
imagine you're a Six Sigma black belt and most of the data that you've been processing in
an upper lower control limits, or a design of experiments, you're going to have this
quantitative data and there's a formula for making sense of it.
In the design world, a lot of our data is going to be in many variable forms. When we go
observe customers interacting with something, they're going to look at clicks on a website,
we're going to test language and see what different language occurs to people. So, we'll
look at verbatim key words that they're using.
So now you get this big hodge podge of data and we need to make some decisions. There's
no algorithm that tells you how to do that. So, mind mapping is the process that we lay out
in the book that says the only way to make sense of multiple data sets that is mostly
qualitative is to lay it all out in front of you like a yard sale, and get in a room and start
generating potential themes with a small group of people that are very immersed in it.
To me, it's the signature aspect of design thinking that tells you you're really stretching
yourself if you've got three or four, five different sources of data an insight that you need
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to make sense of. It's the reason why design firms often occupy these open spaces with
huge white boards and tackable surfaces. The iconic image of innovation is a big mess on
the whiteboard with Post-it notes and photographs and a handful of people pulled close
thinking about what it might mean. It is an absolute key part of the process.
What I realize is you don't have to get the answer exactly right. What you have to get is a
new hypothesis that you think the other guys don't have. That's what you have to get to.
Then you can go test the hypothesis in your prototypes with your customers. If they don't
hold up, you can come back to the yard sale you have spread out on the wall and ask
yourself the question, "Hey, now we have new data, what direction does that nudge us in?"
It's a very iterative process. Taking a few bites of the apple in the conference room,
getting back out in the field with customers, coming back in the conference room. Again, it
may not be the linear process that helps you to calculate your upper and lower control
limits, but it's a very human process. We all get it. We've all done this. It's really natural to
explore different alternatives and to recalculate once you get some feedback on one of
those alternatives.
Joe: What I liked about the book, probably more so than anything else, is that it took
some of that messiness away from design thinking that I always see. Like you mentioned,
the pictures of it is just all these guys with Post-it notes all over the wall, and it's kind of
like, "Where do I go from here?" It's OK, but being that left-brained guy, I need some
structure to do it for me. I think that's what that framework gave me. It gave me some
structure and build upon that to be able to go from point A to point B, but still maintained

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that sense of, that it is a hypothesis all the way through and it continues to be a
Tim: Yeah, I'm really comfortable that we've got that part right, and the trick of it is to
get a person who likes to go to his customer with something really perfect and really
buttoned up, and I think the one place it takes real courage is to say, I'm gonna go see my
customer and show them something that is makeshift, something that is cobbled together,
something that doesn't pretend to be ready for prime time. That's why Google has done us
all a great favor. The idea of beta is cool, right? Ten years ago, beta said we hadn't done
your homework. Today, put something out on beta says, "I trust my customers to know
what it is that they want and to guide me in the right direction." But I say what Google
does isn't necessarily what every firm is ready to do and that's one reason why I love
David Jarrett at Crowe Horwath. He just had the guts, and his partner said, "I think your
clients are going to laugh at you." Right? And they said, "I'm willing to take a risk."
He went out and showed his clients cartoons. One of the things they showed was an
inventory solution for automobile dealerships, and he had a cartoon of a bunch of red cars
and a bunch of blue cars, and one of the red cars was saying, "I'm going to be stuck here
forever." And the blue car says, "I'm only going to be here for an hour and a half. I'm the
color and the model that's the most popular." It was to lay out the idea that they didn't
have good information about which types of cars were the most likely to sell, and they
were getting stuck with a bunch of slow moving inventory on their lots.
Just that simple little cartoon that he took out to discuss a potential inventory management
solution was all he needed to get his car dealership customers to start sharing ideas for

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what the new inventory management solution could be. That takes real guts, to go to your
clients with a cartoon of two cars talking to each other because I think he does call for a
little bit of courage. All of us have customers who trust us like that.
Joe: I think it takes really a different mindset for a sales person to handle this type of
thinking, doesn't it?

Tim: It is a different mindset. For every one of us, I think, to be as professionals, to be
comfortable not knowing the answer. That's, I think, the crux of it and so maybe if nothing
else it just says there's a certain amount of self-honesty, right? That I'm trying to solve a
tough problem? It doesn't lend itself to analytic tools because there's no existing source of
data that I can calculate my most likely future outcome with. It's still my responsibility to
do something about it, getting comfortable that I'm going to start by not knowing the
answer. The book says, "Hey, so don't start with your most crucial customer count, where
you're already on probation." It says, "Start with an internal customer that you trust, that
trusts you, that will work with you on this. Pretty soon you'll find that you will get your sea
legs really quickly.
Joe: You're supposed to be the expert. I would say you have to have enough confidence
to say that, "Yeah, I'm an expert, but I'm not an expert about your business. So let me
learn more about yours."
Tim: A part your business is they say, "That's one of the tough challenges. We're going to
solve this. We're going to figure it out together." Inventory management for a car
dealership is always a core process, right? And yet it still isn't solved beautifully because
they still have slow moving inventory. Dave Jarrett knew that that was a place that he
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could go, and that they were well prepared, and both he and his customer were going to
explore some unknown areas. I think it takes a certain amount of courage, and so not
everybody is going to want to jump in, but companies don't need everybody in their firm to
go crazy during design thinking. We just need the people who are responsible for growth,
to have permission, and to have the tools to do design thinking. Not everybody's
responsible for growth and so I think at P&G they're not trying to get a 100 percent of their
employees to be design thinkers. But they sure like to have 15 percent. That's probably a
good way to think about it.
Joe: A take-off on that is then, how does an organization support the use of design
Tim: It's not native, for sure, in organization. Big organizations are built for control risk
mitigation, for executing the existing business, and yet as we found in the GE example, if
they just stick to the knitting they're only going to grow at five to six percent a year and
that's going to get a CEO fired. I think somewhere you going to have a guy who says, "We
have to grow and I'm prepared to take prudent risks to make that happen." I think that's
one thing, that's just to make a commitment at the top level to innovation and growth,
which means accepting a certain tolerance for failure, and especially of constructive failure
that you learn from. A lot of us have actually heard that message from our senior leaders
so I think we're in a good place as an economy from that stand point.
But a second thing is to start to think of design thinking as tools and not a philosophy,
because it's very hard to implement a philosophy if you can't make it tangible and real to
the practicing manager. As I said, I came out of Georgia Tech in the late '80s and I taught

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people in a factory floor how to compute upper and lower control limits who had not had a
high school degree. I taught them how to do problem solving using the Ishikawa diagram,
how to use a Kanban to communicate with the downstream business process that they
were connected to. These are people without a high school degree, many of them, and so
those tools work. There's no doubt. They're practical.
Well, innovation is not there yet. We're not at that level where, a bible like Dr. Deming’s or
a bible like Dr. Juran's bible, that you could turn to and say that this is now reduced to
practice. That was part of our goal, was to say, "If we can't turn design thinking into tools
that a motivated, smart manager can use, then it will never become the economic gift to
society that quality has become."
Quality has been an amazing success story in the world in terms of what it has contributed
to productivity and the well-being of people in our society. It's amazing. I don't know that
design thinking will achieve that, but it has the same potential. That's a big part of this
book, was to say, "Let's try to start the dialogue and make it a more pragmatic one about
tools and methods that everyday people can use without going to Stanford Design School
or the Illinois Institute of Technology.
Joe: I think that's a great message, Tim. I agree with you. People and businesses
typically get started in quality through the tools. That's how they get started and that's
how people learn it. Then you go to the next level where you really start building a culture
but without the tools you can't jump into the culture.
Tim: I mean, it's a big field. If you want to change you're organization, our organizations
are still made up of people and that person who needs to say, "Hey, the skills I brought
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that got me here are not what you're asking me for now. You're asking me to do design
thinking now. I wasn't trained in that, and so how can I picture myself being successful in
that world?" If you want them to get on board, you've got to put a tool in their hands and
let them demonstrate their confidence in themselves. We did that with quality. When I
came out of Georgia Tech and went into manufacturing, I thought everyone was going to
be doing it. Instead we had a VP of production and a VP of quality, and they had an
argument on the loading dock on the 30th of the month as to whether we we're going to
ship that order or not. And the VP of quality said, "It's not high enough quality because I
inspected it." And the VP of production said, "I got to make my order."
It was an adversarial system, and here we are 25 years later and the quality is all baked in
because at our workstation we self-inspected and we fulfilled with a Kanban, and we got
single minute exchanges. All of these amazing breakthroughs have happened in that time
period. So I think, well, innovation and growth, design thinking is not there yet. But, I
think if we take a 25-year view of the potential, it can be an even greater gift to the world
if we can reduce it to practice, really have a constructive dialogue about which tools are
working the best and how to deploy them.
Joe: Is there something that you would like to add to this conversation that maybe I
didn't ask?

Tim: I have a sense that there's a change in the leadership philosophy of U.S.
organizations that will be necessary. This appetite for affordable experimentation and this
idea that the most competitive company, it knows how to pick where to learn and how to
learn afford-ably. That's still truly not really codified and taught in schools and so it's hard

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for me to picture how that change happens. Clearly some of it might be generational.
There are those of us in charge that grew up during the M&A and Six Sigma era of the
'90s, and we'll pass the mantle of leadership to people who grew up in the 2000s, and
maybe that will be part of the answer. I think part of it is going to have to be to get the
academic world to support the research around leadership environments that encourage
experimentation and failure. That, to me, seems to be one of the things we're doing to
make it harder instead of easier. Maybe I should say, that seems to be part of one of the
missions is to create this really solid grounded academic understanding of permission.
Joe: I think that people are already doing it though, Tim, because my take on it is that's
what the gaming industry has done with our kids. With the Wii's and the Xbox's and
gamefication is that trial and error and hypothesis is that's how them kids learn, and that's
become part of our culture.
Tim: I think it's really interesting, play is becoming more part of our culture than it was in
the '80s and '90s and play might actually be -- I think you're on to something -- play might
actually be the gateway to design thinking. Because if you think about it, I want to conduct
a learning experiment, I can do that if I think of it as, "I'm just playing with this and it's
not going to cost that much and I'll learn something and then we'll take another run at it
based on what we want."

Joe: That's how they've adjusted the learning. I mean they've grown up with Mario, Mario
and Luigi beating against a wall finding an opening. That's all trial and error. It is how they
learn the game. Look at the use of instruction manuals anymore.

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Tim: Yes, I totally see it. The 25 year horizon that I'm talking about will be heavily fueled
by a much more open attitude towards constructive experimentation and playful
exploration, and you can only see how that will be great for Lean and Six Sigma just as it
will be for design thinking. Ultimately, I don't see design thinking as the panacea that's
going to stamp out all of our misguided notions about how business works. We know a lot
about how business works, right? I just say it's another set of tools. Personally I feel like
I'm in an exciting time period where it's struggling to be born in the mass market. It exists
wonderfully in the design department, right, but the design department isn't in charge of
too much in American business today, and the idea about design thinking isn't, "We just
need to have 10x larger design departments." But the idea, it's the same thing for quality.
We've had that VP of quality and he had a staff, and the answer to quality wasn't to
quadruple the size of his staff. The answer was for him to put himself out of business by
making every production worker their own quality inspector.
That's going to be the answer for design thinking, too. If you have every, ultimately, every
worker who has as many growth responsibilities using design thinking to solve problems, in
addition to analytic methods, then that will be an amazing future. Maybe 25 years is too
long a horizon, Joe, as you talked about the generational change in philosophy. Maybe it
will happen in 15 years. That will be exciting.
Joe: I think there is a possibility of that. Well, I would like to thank you very much, Tim. I
thoroughly enjoyed the conversation. This podcast will be available in the Business901
website, and also on the Business901 iTunes store. So, thanks again.
Tim: Thanks so much for giving me the opportunity to share my thoughts. It's been fun.

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                                                                                               Joseph T. Dager
                                                                                    Lean Six Sigma Black Belt
                                                                  Ph: 260-438-0411 Fax: 260-818-2022
                                                                                         Twitter: @business901
                          What others say: In the past 20 years, Joe and I have collaborated on many
                          difficult issues. Joe's ability to combine his expertise with "out of the box"
                          thinking is unsurpassed. He has always delivered quickly, cost effectively and
                          with ingenuity. A brilliant mind that is always a pleasure to work with." James R.

Joe Dager is President of Business901, a progressive company providing direction in areas such as Lean
Marketing, Product Marketing, Product Launches and Re-Launches. As a Lean Six Sigma Black
Belt, Business901 provides and implements marketing, project and performance planning methodologies
in small businesses. The simplicity of a single flexible model will create clarity for your staff and as a result
better execution. My goal is to allow you spend your time on the need versus the plan.

An example of how we may work: Business901 could start with a consulting style utilizing an individual
from your organization or a virtual assistance that is well versed in our principles. We have capabilities
to plug virtually any marketing function into your process immediately. As proficiencies develop,
Business901 moves into a coach’s role supporting the process as needed. The goal of implementing a
system is that the processes will become a habit and not an event.

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