Attention: Mandatory Reading

Roger Martin has written a wickedly good — and important — essay about business + design in the latest issue of Fast Company.  It’s a continuation of some themes he’s been exploring recently, such as the notions of validity and reliability, and of business-as-usual and business-by-design.  In my mind, business cultures of reliability and validity are perfect companions to Christensen’s notions of sustaining and disruptive business models.  As Martin states:

And so, as a rough rule of thumb, when your challenge is to create
value or seize an emerging opportunity, the solution is to perform like
a design team: Work iteratively, build a prototype, elicit feedback,
refine it, and repeat. Give yourself a chance to uncover problems and
fix them in real time, as the process unfolds. On the other hand,
running a supply chain, building a forecasting model, compiling the
financials–these functions are best left to people who work in fixed
roles with permanent tasks, people more adept at describing "my
responsibilities" than "our responsibilities."

Knowing what type of work you’re working on is much more than half the battle when it comes to managing for growth.  It gives you a chance ot pick the right tool for the job.  After all, you wouldn’t try to fly from Los Angeles to Paris in a single-engine floatplane, nor would you try to drop in to an Alaskan fishing village in a 747.  Match the business tools you have at hand to the business outcome you desire.