This is one of the most engaging times to be a leader. Digitalization is rapidly changing the workplace, and companies must undergo a fundamental transformation process with leaders playing a key role.
The ability to drive digital innovation is what will characterize the great leaders of tomorrow. To achieve this, leaders need to think and act quickly and creatively. Design thinking offers a methodology helping teams to achieve innovation. It focuses both on the recipients of the creation, as well as the process, combining the scientific and design paradigms. Teams focus on effectively moving through the design process and rapidly creating prototypes while receiving feedback.
As part of research into the success factors of digital leadership, the LeadershipGarage explores how design thinking can influence the process of digital innovation. As part of our 2017 Inside Silicon Valley Symposium, we were able to visit the D.School at Stanford University, an embodiment of the ideas behind design thinking. Inside the D.School we saw design thinking in action. Teams were working together at every stage of the design process, in spaces open to the eyes of the public, and with multitudes of physical supplies and organizational materials at hand. We found that quick access to creative materials is one of the factors of success for innovation in a fast-paced environment. While design thinking can be used to develop non-tangible, digital products, we saw first-hand that it stresses the importance of physical, tangible materials in the design process as they help to conceptualize ideas and retain information.
Our tour was led by Larry Leifer, one of the driving forces behind Design Thinking, and director of the D.School. He introduced us to many of the key ideas at the D.School and stressed the importance of empathy in teams for achieving innovation.
For more information on what we learned at the D.School concerning teamwork and the ideas behind design thinking, check out our video where Sabine Remdisch, director of the LeadershipGarage, gets an exclusive interview with Prof. Leifer!
The Team of the Leuphana Institute of Performance Management.