Review – Design of Business: Why Design Thinking is the Next Competitive Advantage by Roger L. Martin

Design of Business: Why Design Thinking is the Next Competitive Advantage by Roger L. Martin

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A useful explanation of what makes for design thinking.

As a design thinker, having some of Martin’s articulate words in your head will no doubt be of use when you need to explain what it is you do and how you do it to the more reliability-oriented, deductive thinkers you’ll encounter almost every day.

Martin goes to great effort to distinguish the validity-centric design thinker’s abductive, “what if” mindset as a key tool, balanced against the reliability-centric mindset of most of the world, focused on ensuring repeatability and low levels of variation. So too, he makes a powerful point that for many design thinkers, the tools we trade in – understanding and empathy, language, context – are something that in working with clients or in the businesses that employ us, we allow to grate rather than seeing that in itself as a design thinking challenge. Clever!

Not a book of practical, try this, tools for design thinkers, Martin’s book, rather, seeks to explain the nature of thinking and working this way for those curious as to what design thinking IS.

For the design thinker, there will be many “Yes!” moments, but an equal number of “Why is he explaining this?” ones. Remember, this book is not for you, the design thinker, but a tool to help you explain why and how you do what you do. Get your boss to read it.

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