Tuesday, September 23, 2014 at 12pm

Sydney’s MGSM Espouses Virtues of Design Thinking: MBA News

Design thinking as an organizational mindset

Innovation through design as a means to tackle organizational challenges – otherwise known as design thinking – should be an essential consideration in modern business and management education, according to Dr Lars Groeger, lecturer at the Macquarie Graduate School of Management (MGSM).

“Design thinking is used by some of the world’s leading companies to tackle organizational or business challenges in a creative, non-linear way and to more innovatively integrate the needs of the customer, emerging technologies and the requirements of the business,” said Dr Groeger in a press release, declaring the innovation methodology to be, “a critical component of management education.”

Groeger was speaking at a design thinking seminar held at the Australian Chamber of Commerce (AustCham) in Hong Kong, at which more than 100 MGSM alumni and senior executives from companies such as PwC, Citi and Cathay Pacific were in attendance.

The MGSM lecturer was joined by Stephen Wong, a Stanford GSB Sloan Fellow and CEO of Cathay Pacific’s Asia Miles and Hanno Blankenstein, an MBA alumnus of the Fuqua School of Business and managing director at BCG Digital Ventures Asia – who explained that the seminar’s aim was to show managers how design thinking can impact on a business’ ability to transform and grow.

Design thinking a mindset not a quick fix

The Macquarie Graduate School of Management seminar talked though examples of how embracing design thinking had allowed both established giants (e.g. Apple and Nike) and burgeoning startups (e.g. Airbnb and Square) to grow.

However, it was also emphasized that the process was by no means a quick fix, where challenges could be solved simply by bringing in a couple of design specialists, but rather an organizational mindset – as Groeger and Blankenstein wrote in an accompanying article for MGSM:


“The notion of ‘design as a state-of-mind’ implies that true innovation is a company-wide phenomenon and should not be left to marginalized functions within a company.”

Ultimately, the authors concede that effective use of design thinking can’t solve every problem a company encounters. Instead its relevance comes in keeping organizations prepared in a climate where ongoing innovation and improvement is essential to staying competitive.

Check out Macquarie Graduate School of Management and BCG Digital Venture’s video on ‘innovation through design’ below:


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Tim is a writer with a background in consumer journalism and charity communications. He trained as a journalist in the UK and holds degrees in history (BA) and Latin American studies (MA).

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