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Practicing managers don’t have much time for buzzwords and platitudes. Managers are doers, and when they hear about a promising solution, they want to know how to do it. Design thinking is one of those topics that has burst onto the scene accompanied by lofty promises but precious few practical details. Designing for Growth is the book that provides those details. It goes beyond the theory and philosophy of the recent books on design thinking, showing you how to apply design thinking in a step-by-step way to solve complex growth opportunities.

The authors agree with the central premise of the first wave of design-focused business books: design is ready to step out of the graphics department and take on complex business and social challenges. It is a problem-solving tool that is tailored for dealing with uncertainty, perfect for growth and innovation challenges. It can help you connect deeply with users, reframe their challenges, get new insights, and prototype your way to unexpected solutions that create sustainable growth.

This book translates the fundamental promise of design thinking into a straightforward set of tools that the practicing manager—without any design training—can use immediately to create growth and innovation.

The design thinking process described in this book is built upon four questions:

  • What is? – Exploring the current reality
  • What if? – Envisioning alternative futures
  • What wows? – Getting users to help us make some tough choices
  • What works? – Making it work in-market, and as a business

Ten tools are presented, each aligned to one of the four questions. The tools include customer journey mapping, value chain analysis, customer co-creation, and the learning launch, to name a few. To make them come alive, you will see them presented in the voices of practicing managers including a nurse, two accountants, two marketers, and an engineer, among others—none of whom has design training. Written in an approachable, hyperbole-free tone, this book will help you discover strengths you already have, develop some new ones, and give you the tools and templates to be an instant brown-belt in design thinking.