Design Thinking and How It Will Change Management Education: An Interview and Discussion

8683 Words35 Pages
Academy of Management Learning & Education, 2006, Vol. 5, No. 4, 512–523.

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Design Thinking and How It Will Change Management Education: An Interview and Discussion
DAVID DUNNE ROGER MARTIN Joseph L. Rotman School of Management Roger Martin, dean of the Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto, is interviewed on the subject of “design thinking”—approaching managerial problems as designers approach design problems—and its potential impact on management education. Under a design-thinking paradigm, students would be encouraged to think broadly about problems,
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He has spoken at several conferences on the subject. The Rotman School’s magazine, Rotman Management, published a special issue on design in winter 2004 and on creativity in spring/summer 2006. In addition, Rotman hosted a conference, entitled “The Future of the MBA” in March 2006 that brought together the major critics of MBA programs. On the Rotman School’s website, Martin claims: “we are on the cusp of a design revolution in business,” and as a result, “today’s business people don’t need to understand designers better, they need to become designers.” In this interview, Martin describes his interest in design thinking, how it will affect management education, and how it can address some of the criticisms recently leveled at MBA programs. How did you become interested in the topic of design in relation to management? It started with my encounters with Hambly and Woolley, a small design firm here in Toronto. Just by osmosis I got interested in the way they would think about problems. For example, one assignment was a hunting lodge where the owner was bankrupt and was selling off all of his property. The designer had to do a selling brochure for this extremely fancy lodge, but there was no budget for it. I was so fascinated with what he did: He created a very rough photo album with shots of the lodge mounted with those little black corners. I was fascinated at how he took this on with such joy, this notion of how on earth could
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