Yesterday I attended the Institute of Design Strategy Symposium. The remarks were along the lines of business design we’ve been reading about. What I particularly liked was that the conversation afterwards revolved mostly around the chasm between design and business and the means by which to span the chasm, mostly in terms of language (“design” is a non-starter; “innovation” is more business-friendly but too ambiguous to do anything more than start the conversation).
My colleagues and I don’t buy the stereotype of creative designers vs. logical financial people. There are people with different skillsets and attitudes and the best way to combine them to design new options is through close collaboration (aka co-creation). The example from the Symposium came from Mike Roberts who runs a customer experience group at JP Morgan. He makes progress through direct, personal conversations with people in traditional financial roles. As my friend Bill says, “Collaboration problems are People problems. They are often best solved by increasing the communication bandwidth between people.” The next step, I think, is to work on the best ways to get these skillsets collaborating using modes of conversation, prototyping exercises, boundary objects, and so on.