Grant - what a beautiful piece. You managed to knit narratives of meaning, culture and trends into a manifesto for designers (like me) and design thinkers (aka ethno-designers).

Reflections from the Brainstorm Design 2019 conference and their relevance through 2020.

As the planet’s lone professor of Business Design and Innovation (at least for now), I was invited to attend the Singapore-based Brainstorm 2019 event hosted by the editors of Fortune and Wallpaper magazines. Brainstorm Design is a new conference exploring design’s role in business through the lens of FORTUNE 500’s most powerful executives and the world’s most talented designers.

Brainstorm Design 2019: Redesigning with Design (photo by
Brainstorm Design 2019: Redesigning with Design (photo by

A curated crowd of designers and design thinkers gathered at the March 2019 event to explore the themes of design’s vision, value and scale. I eagerly accepted with the…

Image: People Watching by Erica Boothby

This is the second post on Business Design.

Business Design applies design strategies to improve or transform business activities. As mentioned in the first post, Business Design practitioners display an empathic-strategic mindset through repeated use of design methods to find, frame and solve business problems. This mindset requires active learning and practice of three modes: (1) need finding (sensing), (2) need/problem framing (sensemaking) and (3) problem solving (changemaking).

  1. Need Finding Mode: Sensing

Sensing: becoming aware of something; the act of observing, feeling and noticing.

This mode is focused on understanding the value of sensing both people and context impacted by your proposed business innovation. To effectively sense humans…

This is the first of two posts on Business Design.

Business Design is broadly defined as a human-centred design approach to business innovation. Human-centred design puts the intended user/consumer at the centre of the innovation process. The concept was first introduced by Stanford psychologist-engineer John Arnold in the late 1950s, then further contextualized by management strategist Roger Martin in 2009 at the Rotman School of Management. It has evolved into a critical approach for sustained corporate innovation and a curriculum for innovative leadership.

An effective innovation process resolves a need, problem or desire by offering something new that is perceived to improve the meaning or increase value to the user/consumer…

Innovation doesn’t just happen — it is designed by humans for humans.

While economists discuss new theories, scientists develop new technologies and industrialists exploit new markets, the process of innovation is first and foremost socially constructed. To navigate its complex and risky path requires courage and knowledge — courage to learn the recipe, and knowledge of the techniques.

The innovation conversation is happening everywhere. Inside boardrooms, at cafés and in government offices, many people talk about it. But few are doing it and for those who are doing it, even fewer are doing it well. …

Design has emerged from the original architecture and furniture studios, automobile factories and Silicon Valley’s computer labs, and is heading to a corporate boardroom near you. Its new form is not a designer chair, handbag or technology. It is human. This new type of designer is equally comfortable in a navy suit or black turtleneck. Fuelled by top selling business books and management consultant reports, this new design movement is all about customer-tailored companies thriving in today’s uncertain economic and political climate.

Design and Business Books over the past 10 years

Over the past 15 years we have seen an exponential growth in new design-related jobs — from UX…

Angele Beausoleil

professor, business designer, innovation agent, strategist, inventor, tech passionista, renaissance woman.

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