Innovation by Design: How Any Organization Can Leverage Design Thinking to Produce Change, Drive New Ideas, and Deliver Meaningful Solutions

Innovation by Design: How Any Organization Can Leverage Design Thinking to Produce Change, Drive New Ideas, and Deliver Meaningful Solutions

by Thomas Lockwood, Edgar Papke

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Why are some organizations more innovative than others? How can we tap into, empower, and leverage the natural innovation within our organizations that is so vital to our future success?

Now more than ever, companies and institutions of all types and sizes are determined to create more innovative organizations. In study after study, leaders say that fostering innovation and the need for transformational change are among their top priorities. But they also report struggling with how to engage their cultures to implement the changes necessary to maximize their innovative targets.

In Innovation by Design, authors Thomas Lockwood and Edgar Papke share the results of their study of some of the world's most innovative organizations, including:

  • The 10 attributes leaders can use to create and develop effective cultures of innovation.
  • How to use design thinking as a powerful method to drive employee creativity and innovation.
  • How to leverage the natural influence of the collective imagination to produce the "pull effect" of creativity and risk taking.
  • How leaders can take the "Fifth Step of Design" and create their ideal culture.

Innovation by Design offers a powerful set of insights and practical solutions to the most important challenge for today's businesses--the need for relevant innovation.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781632651167
Publisher: Red Wheel/Weiser
Publication date: 11/20/2017
Edition description: First Edition
Pages: 224
Sales rank: 810,625
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 8.80(h) x 0.60(d)

About the Author

Thomas Lockwood is the author/editor of the books Design Thinking, Corporate Creativity, and Building Design Strategy. He has a PhD in design management and is recognized as a thought leader at integrating design and innovation practice into business. He has produced 22 conferences about design leadership, lectured and led workshops in over 20 countries, and is a design adviser to numerous companies.

Edgar Papke is a student and teacher of leadership and the human art of business. He coaches and consults with leaders and their teams in a wide range of industries and institutions. Edgar is a globally recognized, award-winning speaker and author known for his authenticity and innovative approach. He is the author of True Alignment: Linking Company Culture to Customer Needs for Extraordinary Results, and has written extensively about conflict management and resolution. He has degrees in organizational psychology, international business administration, and the culinary arts. Edgar resides in Louisville, Colorado.

Read an Excerpt


Better Innovation

"Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited to all we now know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there ever will be to know and understand."

— Albert Einstein

The collective imagination is humankind's greatest genius. Throughout our human history, as we developed and created the world around us, the sharing and building of one idea on another has been, and always will be, our best recipe for innovation. The world we continuously create for ourselves is the manifestation of our collective imagination, the natural desire to come together in community; to collaborate, explore, and learn; and to create what we want and desire to have. It gives us the ability to respond to our basic needs, as well as solve even the most complex of problems. It fuels the innovation that is the foundation of our competitive global business society. It is our collective imagination that provides us with the source of the innovation through which we create a better world and through which we find ways to guide and change the human experience. Humankind's desire and drive for innovation is breathtaking. Innovation is who we are. It is what we do best.

As our societies evolved, we creatively designed social structures that met the needs of and further relied on our shared ability to innovate. As we did, we were reminded that along with our innate desire to innovate, we have an inborn desire to compete. When these forces come together, innovation is accelerated. The social structures that we relied on for survival and connectivity evolved into enterprises of commercial means that have become the fixtures of our global society. These new enterprises and organizations became the vehicles that took us on the journeys of the scientific, industrial, and more recently information revolutions. All along the way, we continuously increased our level of innovation and ramped up the pace of change in our world.

Today we find ourselves at a place in history in which our capability for innovating and creating change has provided us with incredible levels of technology and know-how. Every day we find ourselves exposed to new ideas. Moment by moment we are introduced to an array of new products and services, some of which are delivered to us by purpose-driven, design thinking organizations and enterprises whose main concern is to figure out how to create more meaningful innovation and customer experiences. We are now operating in a new global era in which a new digital economy is emerging — a new economy driven by pioneering technology that allows for virtually everyone and everything in our world to be connected, with new pathways for information and knowledge abounding: the Internet of Things, the interconnection via the Internet of computing and smart devices — electronics, software, sensors, actuators, and network connectivity — that enable objects to collect and exchange data. All this adds to a world that presents us with the means to faster and faster, innovate more and more — all evidence of how we leverage our collective imagination to creatively solve problems and meet the needs of humankind. Innovation is what we do best.


With all the knowledge and technology available to us, and the means of immediate communication and instant access to information at our fingertips, why does our focus constantly return to how we can become even more innovative, to solve bigger and more complex problems? Why does so much of our attention remain centered on finding ways to organize and work together better to further leverage our ability to innovate? Why is meaningful innovation the most important issue that organizations continue to grapple and struggle with?

Throughout the history of business, we have found ourselves trying to figure out how to maximize our human potential. Even today, and more than ever, companies and institutions of all types and sizes are concentrating on creating more innovative cultures. This is not a new breakthrough in thinking. Being successful has always relied on the ability to work together and be creative. More than science or the collection and use of data, the quest to understand how to create higher levels of innovation and empower our creative intelligence seems to be a more elusive aspect of how we innovate. The better we become at innovation and creative collaboration, the more we want to figure out to get better at it — alas, human nature.

In pursuit of innovation, we have created complex organizations, with many moving parts, all adding to the complexity of our solutions, of our lives — until we come to the place of recognizing what the great designer Dieter Rams pointed out many years ago: "less, but better."

As complex as the world is today, we look for finding solutions to the resulting challenges and emotional stress that all the moving parts and advanced technology creates. The more complicated means of communication and interaction move us to a place from which we seek greater simplification. We have arrived at a place in our history that causes us to pause and reflect on the complexity of the organizational systems that humankind has created, looking for ways to overcome the needless barriers to communication and working together they represent. Why? So we can find better, faster, and, yes, simpler ways to work together to solve problems more efficiently and effectively. We want to innovate how our organizations can work more simply and allow for shared capacity to solve problems and innovate more freely.

To give you a sense of the magnitude of how important innovation is perceived to be to the success of today's organizations, one just has to look at the title of KPMG's 2016 Global CEO survey, aptly titled "Now or Never." The executive summary delivers a clear message, sharing that "[t]wo-thirds of chief executive officers (CEOs) believe that the next three years will be more critical than the last fifty years. The forces creating this inflection point are the rapidly evolving technology and the speed of transformation it unleashes. In four years' time 4 out of 10 CEOs expect to be running significantly transformed companies."

A review of the results of a number of global surveys of CEOs, C-level executives, and leaders from 2015 to 2017, including the major studies conducted by KPMG, Fortune, IBM, and PwC, provide further insight. With the exception of the Fortune survey (500 companies), most of the surveys we reviewed included more than 1,200 participants. Among the key findings:

• Fostering innovation is one of their top strategic priorities, placing among the top six in every survey.

• Most CEOs are grappling with how to engage their cultures in the change necessary to be more innovative.

• A significant majority (seven out of 10 CEOs) say it's important to specifically include innovation in their business strategies.

• The majority of survey respondents identify the need for transformational change in their organizations.

• Eight out of 10 are concerned that their existing products and services may not be relevant in three to five years' time.

• The majority of respondents say their organizations are struggling with the speed of technological innovation.

• Gartner reports that 89 percent of companies believe customer experience will be their primary basis for competition in 2016, versus 36 percent four years ago.

• Accenture reports that 81 percent of executives surveyed place the personalized customer experience in their top three priorities for their organization, with 39 percent reporting it as their top priority.

What is equally as telling is that, while innovation is consistently among the top six strategic priorities, less than a third believe their organizations' cultures encourage risk-taking or safe-to-fail environments. This is important to recognize. Among the more powerful aspects of motivation and human behavior are the needs for predictability and safety. From childhood through to adulthood, we are literally taught, trained, and reinforced to find the safest paths. As a result, satisfying these needs is paramount to how people perceive the ability to express themselves and take risks. We discover that it's not a good idea to tempt failure.

However, the process of innovation includes failure. Whether an organization's temperament and messaging allow for exploration, experimentation, and the potential subsequent failure says a lot about how innovative an environment it provides for its members. It also doesn't always fall within the context of processes and systems that are designed to limit risk. Or, ways of solving problems and making decisions that advocate adherence rather than possibility thinking. This is about culture. This is about the pursuit of understanding human behavior and the role that awareness plays.

These challenges are clearly defined in the KPMG report of findings:

• Thirty-six percent of CEOs say their organization's approach to innovation is either ad hoc, reactive or occurs on a silo basis.

• Only one out of four says that innovation is embedded in everything they do.

• Only 29 percent feel that their organization is highly capable of creating a safe-to-fail environment.

This data becomes even more powerful when one considers that only one out of five CEOs note that innovation is at the top of their organizational agendas. This last piece of insight tells us that when identifying an organization's key strategic priorities, a top-six finish is likely still not good enough. Why? The most likely explanation is that, for CEOs and leaders, and the people in the companies and institutions they lead, the risk of being innovative is often what keeps their cultures from being more innovative. They are afraid of the risk of failure that comes from thinking outside the box, letting go of the familiar, seeking the possible over the predictable, all while falling into the trappings of that which they perceive will keep themselves safe. This is a stark reminder that, as a leader, if you're not willing to fail, others will not take a risk to succeed.

The data also raises the question of how the most successful organizations in the world go about innovating at the level they do, disrupting industries and market segments, quickly turning what were just yesterday stable technologies and ways of life into quickly outdated or obsolete ones. How do they go about creating new forms of industry and markets where none existed? How do they create more meaningful customer experiences and work across internal silos? What is the code to cracking their culture, and what do they do that is so different from the also-rans that they outperform? What are they doing that others aren't? How did they identify the gap between the average and the means to becoming exceptional innovators?


The questions at the end of the previous section were at the center of the conversation when, on a sunny, warm afternoon in Boulder, Colorado, in April 2016, we talked over a cup of coffee. Little did we know that moment would lead to conducting more than 70 interviews, extensive research and synthesis, co-creating frameworks, and, more than a year later, writing this book. As background, we have a personal relationship going back some two decades, have always been friends, and have always liked one another's work. We like to engage in philosophical conversations about life, which most of the time ends up being about creativity, business, and innovation. We've always spent a great deal of time talking about helping organizations and their leaders find ways to align to their purpose, solve the big problems of business, function better, and innovate at higher levels.

Between the two of us, we have the shared experience of more than five decades in the world of business consulting and coaching. Tom's work has been mostly focused on design, design thinking, and innovation, helping companies build great design, UX, and innovation organizations. In fact, he is one of only a handful of people on the planet with a PhD in design management. Edgar's focus is on understanding human motivation, organizational alignment, and leadership, coaching leaders and consulting with organizations on how to find and align to their purpose, and build and lead high-performing cultures. The themes that emerged from our conversations about business most often centered on the topics of design, innovation, culture, and the art of business. And, what the future may look like.

As coincidence would have it, on that sunny spring day, Edgar had recently returned from a trip to New Zealand and was excited about the work he had been doing with New Zealand Trade and Enterprise (NZTE), an experience he described as ridiculously fun and fulfilling. NZTE is the New Zealand government's international business development agency. Its purpose is to help New Zealand businesses grow bigger, better, and faster in international markets. Though this may sound like an obvious undertaking for any national government, the importance of its work cannot be overstated. To put it into perspective, one has to realize the magnitude of the scope of the effort involved and how important its outcomes are to the future of a nation that is remote to the rest of the world, has limited natural resources, and is dependent on the capability of its people and businesses to innovate. The only substantial economic growth, and that which the nation of New Zealand is dependent on for its future, is in the global marketplace. No doubt, innovation is at the heart of its success.

NZTE's work is focused on increasing New Zealand companies' international success by helping them boost their global reach and build their creative capability. In the end, the more successful international businesses grow, the more the nation's economy grows and benefits all New Zealanders, providing jobs and raising the standard of living. One of the ongoing efforts and goals of NZTE is to "spark innovation."

Using Edgar's True Alignment framework to align the whole of NZTE to its purpose and branding, the organization brought together more than 130 of its key leaders. The main focus was to engage in the intentional alignment of the organization's global culture — and to explore how, as leaders, they would align their behavior and influence to that alignment. Peter Chrisp, CEO of NZTE, and his team named the leadership summit "The Hillary Step," likening the challenge the group had undertaken to the final ascent of Mount Everest by Sir Hillary and the first climbers to summit Mount Everest. They got it right. The Hillary Step unfolded as an engaging story line and served as a powerful metaphor.

What struck Edgar most was the capability of the attendees to engage in elements of design thinking to arrive at their outcome. Their ability to collaborate, take risk, quickly create and iterate, engage in creative activities, and openly express their thoughts and ideas was a reflection of not only their commitment to a shared purpose; it was also a manifestation of the influence of their use of design thinking, their chosen methodology used to arrive at identifying the key challenges to creating their ideal culture, and creating the solutions and exploring what was necessary to overcome their own challenges, as well as those of their customers. It was evident that their pursuit of fearless exploration and free-wheeling imagination were the direct result of their experiences in the use of design thinking and high-level capability to be innovative.

At the same time, Thomas was paying attention to emerging trends in the design business world. He was observing the increasing number of companies and consulting firms that were acquiring many of the best design firms. At the outset, he saw and predicted that the idea of design, and the methodology of design thinking, would eventually take hold in more and more companies, and was likely going to hold center stage and emerge as a primary means to drive innovation and change in organizations. Because of the need to deliver meaningful customer experiences at every touch point, organizations now have to include many skill sets, from business to technology, to engineering, to design, UX, systems, and services. What has stood out over the past decade is the way in which organizations were increasingly relying on design thinking to get higher levels of involvement and engage a broader set of stakeholders and competencies. More and more, they were using it as the means to attain higher levels of collaboration to solve problems and generate new ideas, resulting in an increased capability to create innovative solutions.

Design had already been well established as a means to achieve higher performance. A 2015 study by the Design Management Institute demonstrates that a set of larger design-driven companies (including Apple, Starbucks, Disney, and Nike) outperform the S&P 500 by 211 percent. Many similar studies previously conducted by Northeastern University in Boston, Red Dot in Germany, the British Design Council, the Industrial Design Society of America, and Thomas Lockwood have shown similar results. The collaborative and creative means design leaders and design thinkers added to their organizations are not only critical to bringing new ideas, products, and services to market, resulting in higher levels of financial performance. They are also responsible for the disruptions that result in the creation of new markets. With all this attention to design, and design thinking growing in popularity for most of the past decade, two significant trends had emerged.


Excerpted from "Innovation By Design"
by .
Copyright © 2018 Thomas Lockwood and Edgar Papke.
Excerpted by permission of Red Wheel/Weiser, LLC.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

The Context

Chapter 1 Better Innovation 9

Chapter 2 Design Thinking Organizations 21

Chapter 3 Collective Imagination and the Fifth Order of Design 35

Chapter 4 Designing Culture 43

Chapter 5 Culture Types 57

10 Attributes

Chapter 6 Design Thinking at Scale 79

Chapter 7 The Pull Factor 97

Chapter 8 The Right Problems 113

Chapter 9 Culture Awareness 125

Chapter 10 Curious Confrontation 137

Chapter 11 Co-Creation 151

Chapter 12 Open Spaces 163

Chapter 13 Whole Communication 175

Chapter 14 Aligned Leadership 185

Chapter 15 Purpose 197

Conclusion: Looking Forward: Future Possibilities 207

Notes 215

Index 221

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