Don’t get put off by the lurid day-glow cover of this book which feels more like the offspring of a classic Penguin and the history of rave. The Design of Business is serious look at organisational models and the successes and failures of different styles of thinking.
Like many other books it starts with examining two current models which are prevalent in business today, namely analytical thinking and intuitive thinking, and cites that to be successful a business needs to have a balance of both. This balance between analytical mastery and intuitive originality Martin calls ‘design thinking’ and at the heart of this is abductive logic (a term introduced by philosopher Charles Sanders Peirce). So far it all sounds very theoretical but Martin peppers the book with examples from his own career such as how A.G Lafley managed to turn Proctor & Gamble back from the brink of crisis by adopting a design thinking approach and how his experiences working for design oriented companies such as Herman Miller showed how a business model can really produce innovation and success.
The book is aimed more at MDs and CEOs who are looking to change and improve their organisational structure rather than at designers and design teams. However, I do like how Martin has avoided the obvious case studies that are prevalent in most design thinking books (e.g. Apple) and instead gives insight into companies such as RIM (where the Blackberry came from), Herman Miller and Steelcase often of which he has been involved directly in the projects. Also, if you are into the theories behind some of the inner workings of business then this book is a good place to start.
Review by Paul Davies.Tags: Business, Design thinking