Is There Only One Right Answer?

The Design of Business—a New Book by Roger Martin

I saw Roger Martin, dean of Rotman School of Management, speak last week about his new book “The Design of Business: Why Design Thinking Is The Next Competitive Advantage” It was quite thought provoking as he explained that the lack of real innovation in business is because “we rely far too exclusively on analytical thinking, which merely refines current knowledge, producing small improvements to the status quo”

“Design Thinking” unlike analytical thinking is a process for creative problem solving that looks for an improved future result by combining empathy, creativity and rationality to meet user needs and drive business success.

Martin feels that todays business problems begin in the school system. We are taught early on that there is one right answer and wrong answer and not the possibility of many answers or a combination of solutions.

Rotman is now testing a program to bring this new thinking style to high school students. They began recently with a grade 10 class and found that the traditional model is already too ingrained at the grade 10 level. Next they will try it with grade 7 and 8 kids.

It seems to me that a world using “Design Thinking” to solve its problems might just be a better place for everyone!


2 Comments

  1. Tom Huetz Tom Huetz says:

    Yes!

    My wife and I are firm believers in learning for learning’s sake and NOT for the grade. We challenge our boys to discover new ways of approaching problems and learn from the process of problem-solving which will help in finding solutions to future problems, no matter the subject.

    Note: shameless plug to follow…

    Montessori School (Montessori method) is an excellent example of allowing learning to occur naturally. In Maria Montessori’s words:

    “Supposing I said there was a planet without schools or teachers, where study was unknown, and yet the inhabitants—doing nothing but living and walking about—came to know all things, to carry in their minds the whole of learning; would you not think I was romancing? Well, just this, which seems so fanciful as to be nothing but the invention of a fertile imagination, is a reality. It is the child’s way of learning. This is the path he follows. He learns everything without knowing he is learning it, and in doing so he passes little by little from the unconscious to the conscious, treading always in the paths of joy and love.”
    —Dr. Maria Montessori, MD

    I grew up in a school system that pushed for the best grade you could get. As a “hands-on” type of learner, I found my educational experience very frustrating. It wasn’t until my college engineering courses, where I was actually problem-solving through experimentation, that I found a love for learning for learning’s sake. I am very interested in hearing more about Rotman’s test with 7-8th graders.

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