in Business Design

Mintzberg and Liedtka think it’s time for design

In Mintzberg’s “Strategy Safari” he devotes one chapter to The Design School: Strategy Formation as a Process of Conception. But his description of the cognitive act of design is different from the classic Herbert Simon description. So I appreciated discovering Liedtka’s In Defense of Strategy as Design (pdf), summarized…

This article proposes management reconsider the usefulness of the metaphor of design as a prescription for strategy making, arguing against Henry Mintzberg’s view that it is not appropriate. It reviews literature from the field of design and defines a set of attributes of the design process – which is synthetic, abductive, hypothesis-driven, opportunistic, dialectical, inquiring, and value-driven. The article examines the parallels between designing and creating business strategy and presents the implications of such an approach for designing the processes to design and execute strategy.

(Her Strategy as Design (2MB pdf) is an updated version of this argument.)

Now it seems Mintzberg and Liedtka have joined forces, submitting a piece titled Time for Design, “…making the case for design in management, in four approaches: formulaic, visionary, conversational, and evolving.” I’m looking forward to this one.

  1. I remember reading Strategy Safari and thinking to myself the whole time: I hope I’m not forced to choose a particular school. Which, of course, is a ridiculous thought. All of them (was it 11?) had interesting and useful approaches to thinking about problems. I’m glad to see someone pulling those together.

  2. GREAT article :-)

    Strategy Safari is a MUST have – I got the opportunity to buy is as part of my Master in Management Development :-)

    I would love to invite Liedtka to Copenhagen next spring – do you, by any chance, have any contactinformaton to her?

    All the best
    Hans Henrik

  3. Thanks for the interesting relationship of strategy thinkers/publishers. A while ago, I came across Joan Ernst van Aken who elaborates on management as a design discipline (he distinguishes between scientifc and design knowledge). Interesting to read.

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