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I’m a huge fan of TED Talks. I go there to be exposed to good thinking, great leaders, and new ideas. It was several years ago when I stumbled onto this particular talk about design thinking from Tim Brown. It’s based on his book, Change by Design. I highly recommend that you take the time to explore both. If you watch his talk, I’m almost sure you’ll order the book.

Tim began his career as an industrial designer. What he realized working with some very large brands around the world was that the same principles that drove his design thinking could benefit leaders trying to achieve a breakthrough in their leadership.

For example, Tim realized that creating a product within a company should include collaboration between marketing and engineering. Most of the time the engineers would dream and build the product and then, at the appropriate time, marketing would step in and figure out how to sell it. A better scenario is if marketing and engineering collaborated from the very beginning. Their individual thinking, biases, and assumptions could lead to a better final product that would achieve greater marketplace success.

He then took it a step further and realized that great design sources its inspiration from the accumulation of a variety of information points. It’s about assembling a lot of supporting ideas into a new, singular idea.

Design thinking is an approach to innovation and breakthrough that works. Shortly after becoming president at Southeastern, I faced a series of obstacles. Rather than just taking each problem apart and seeing it independent of the rest of the organization, I listened to leaders across the organization. Together with the executive team, we connected the best ideas into new thinking that led to unprecedented breakthroughs.

Great design is a blend of form and function. Those two characteristics and qualities should contribute to breakthrough and release the latent potential in your leadership and your organization. If you feel stagnate and stale, then I would encourage you to get familiar with the principles of design thinking and watch the world of possibility become very real for you and your team.