Saturday, September 06, 2008

MBA Design Leadership elective - session 8

Managing as designing

The final class of the elective drew on recent work in organization studies which takes the metaphor of management as being a kind of design practice. Boland and Collopy's conference and book Managing as Designing brought together leading academics and practitioners to explore this idea. More recently Roger Martin, dean of the Rotman School of Management has advocated integrative thinking and design thinking, arguing that executives should be aware they are involved in the design of business. A recent issue of the Journal of Business Strategy co-edited by Martin with strategy professor Jeanne Liedtka presented different approaches to thinking about this.

Borrowing a tool from the world of scenarios, students then created future news articles five years into the future which told stories of their (real) organizations. They were asked to imagine what could happen if the design-led approaches discussed in the elective were used in their organization. Finishing the elective in this way emphasized the importance of the imagination: a critical and possibly neglected approach to envisioning the future in contrast to the analytics of strategy.

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