There are books I know I’ll read once (all or part) and then there are books that I know I’ll pull off my shelves many times.  Designing for Growth: A Design Thinking Tool Kit for Managers is the latter.

Written by Jeanne Liedtka and Tim Ogilvie, Designing for Growth really does have a toolkit feel.  It also has a very good, beginning to end, way of laying out how you might ask four invaluable questions: What is? (exploring current reality), What if? (envisions a new future), What wows? (makes some choices) and What works? (takes you into the marketplace).

Designing for Growth is not theory or reasoning. Instead, it is a tactical playbook that has great application for all of us.
I knew I needed to take a look when I saw Roger Martin’s comments on the jacket: “This intelligent how-to follow-up to the first wave of popular design books will serve as a useful guide to going through a design project from start to finish.”  If you remember, Martin was the author of one my favorite reads of 2009, The Design of Business.

In addition to the four questions, this toolkit includes ten tools that you’ll find immediately useful.  In fact, as I worked my way through Section II, What Is?, I found myself jotting notes about how I could use all four of the tools associated with that stage.

  • Visualization: “using imagery to envision possibilities and bring them to life”
  • Journey Mapping: “assessing the existing experience through the customer’s eyes”
  • Value Chain Analysis: “assessing the current value chain that supports the customer’s journey”
  • Mind Mapping: “generating insights from exploration activities and using those to create design criteria”

Far beyond descriptions of the ten tools, Designing for Growth includes detailed explanations of how to implement them.  And by the way, I noticed that even very business related concepts (like value chain analysis) have obvious tie-ins to what most of us do and the tools make application steps obvious.

If you caught the design-thinking wave of 2009-10 (The Design of Business, Change by Design, Design Thinking, Design-Driven Innovation, Innovation X) you will really get a lot out of this book.  Designing for Growth is not theory or reasoning.  Instead, it is a tactical playbook that has great application for all of us.

Designing for Growth: A Design Thinking Tool Kit for Managers