May 29, 2014 / Articles We Like

On: "Use 'Design Thinking' to Reach Customers"

Would you rather: chase market share to grab revenue – at any cost – or offer value to your customers which returns respectable margins?  If profit margins are important, this article by Andrew King and Jeanne Liedtka will resonate with you.  Many businesses today get stuck in a rut because they can’t think outside the box about reaching their customers and adding value to their lives.  This article shares an example of how design thinking can infuse fresh thinking into ongoing business challenges.

The Washington Post article Use ‘Design Thinking’ to Reach Customers” highlights how Intuit used design thinking to turn ideas into innovation.

Read it now.

What business successes have you had with design thinking?

Comment below! Or pose a question via Ask Mariposa.

January 2, 2014 / Book Reviews

Book Review | Solving Problems with Design Thinking: Ten Stories of What Works

solving problems w DTSolving Problems with Design Thinking:  Ten Stories of What Works
By Jeanne Liedtka, Andrew King & Kevin Bennett

Head: (5 out of 5)
Heart: (4 out of 5)
Leadership Applicability: (5 out of 5)

Design thinking is a creative problem solving method, which emphasizes the importance of discovery before solution using user-driven, empathetic market research approaches and real-world experiments. This method expands the boundaries of problem definition and solution generation, making it a novel approach for organizations to use for solving business problems. However, outside of the design environment, where design thinking is the norm, most leaders need an understanding of how to apply it to problems that are not product-focused.

The ten stories featured in this book showcase how design thinking works to produce innovative solutions to challenges such as internal process redesign, deepening customer engagement and addressing social issues. As a blueprint, these stories illustrate processes and tools used. The authors build on the work of Jeanne Liedtka and Tim Ogilvie’s Designing for Growth, to offer a clear path for implementation.

Leaders interested in using more innovative methods to solve sticky business problems will want to read this book. Buy it now.

August 1, 2013 / Design Thinking / Creativity / Innovation / Mariposa Articles

Leader as Designer

Learn how to utilize Design Thinking in your role as a leader.  This essay, Leader as Designer, by Mariposa Leadership CEO Sue Bethanis, opens up Design Thinking to different applications and audiences that goes beyond product development. She offers a clear 4 step process to easily move from idea-to-innovation. The results: successful services,  new experiences, and novel solutions to old problems.




December 18, 2012 / Articles We Like / HR / Talent Management / News

Sue's Top Three Reads of 2012

pearl of leadership wisdom

Happy Holidays everyone!

I thought you’d be interested in my Top Three Reads of 2012 – the leadership content that has been the most compelling for me this year: Designing for Growth; “The Power of Small Wins”; and “Why Men Fail”.

I scour Twitter every morning and love retweeting interesting articles and emailing colleagues, clients, and friends the latest-and-greatest resources.

So why these three?  Here are some strands of “interestingness”:

1) Designing for Growth: book by November WiseTalk guest, Jeanne Liedtka  (@DesignAtDarden)

  • I delved into much of the design thinking world this year to complement my own work and by offering a variety of authors, professors and consultants on WiseTalk. I think Jeanne’s approach and her book are simply the most practical of any I have come across. She translates her four questions (What is? What if? What wows? What works?) into 10 ready-made tools. I especially like the Journey Mapping tool!

2) “The Power of Small Wins”: HBR article by February WiseTalk guest, Teresa Amabile (@TeresaAmabile)

  • Teresa’s research approach is simply unparalleled. It’s easy to say that mood affects performance, and even the smallest of rewards and/or incentives leads to more productivity. The way she demonstrated this in her study is awesome. You’ll want to check this out!

3) “Why Men Fail”: New York Times column by David Brooks (@nytdavidbrooks)

  • Before you get ruffled under the collar about the title, David Brooks’ column is not about men. It’s about “being strangers in a strange land.” Whether you’re in a different country or a new company, we must be more agile and flexible.

As always, I welcome your comments and questions!

– Sue

Sue Bethanis is the Founder and CEO of Mariposa Leadership, Inc., a 15-person San Francisco based firm, which provides leadership coaching and consulting to the high-tech, bio-tech, and financial services industries. For more on Sue, view her complete bio.

December 6, 2012 / Design Thinking / Creativity / Innovation / Wise Talk

11/29 Wise Talk audio snippets on Designing For Growth with Jeanne Liedtka

Design Thinking for Managers

Last week’s Wise Talk with Jeanne Liedtka was a rich and harmonious conversation. Mariposa CEO Sue Bethanis described it as “awesome”.

Check out these audio snippets where guest Jeanne Liedtka expands on her book co-authored by Tim Ogilvie, Designing for Growth: A Design Thinking Tool Kit for Managers.

In this first snippet, Sue introduces Jeanne, giving us a little background:

Listen to Jeanne’s definition of design thinking:

The 4 distinctions that Jeanne has identified for managers are:

  • What Is
  • What If
  • What Wows
  • What Works

In this audio snip, Jeanne talks about “What Works”:

Click here to access Mariposa Leadership’s Wise Talk archives, and click on “Designing For Growth” for the full audio of this session.

For more information and to buy Designing For Growth, please visit

We welcome your thoughts in the comments section below.

November 15, 2012 / Design Thinking / Creativity / Innovation / Wise Talk

Wise Talk 11/29/12 with Jeanne Liedtka

Find any innovation leader in an organization and chances are they have been practicing design thinking all along. However, leaders don’t need to be naturally talented or creatively gifted to foster business development; a systematic approach is needed to problem solve.

Design thinking starts with the ability to understand a customer’s needs and figuring out how to pilot a new idea with minimal risk. In the book, Designing for Growth: A Design Thinking Tool Kit for Managers, co-authors Jeanne Liedtka and Tim Ogilvie demystify design thinking by translating “design” from an abstract idea into a practical, everyday tool any manager can profit from.

Join us Thursday, November 29, at 12 pm PT, on Wise Talk as Mariposa Leadership, Inc. CEO Sue Bethanis talks with strategy consultant and educator Jeanne Liedtka on the ability to turn abstract ideas into practical applications to maximize business growth.

Topics for the interactive discussion will include:

• What is your interpretation of design thinking?

• You describe the design thinking process around four questions: What is? What if?
What wows? What works? Can you tell us a little about each one.

• How is design thinking beneficial to managers? How can a non-designer apply
design thinking to solve intractable problems?

• What advice could you offer a corporate leader or manager that might doubt their
own ability to innovate and foster growth inside their organization?

• What is one example of a simple tool that a practicing manager can use right away?

We welcome you to join this month’s Wise Talk teleconference and submit your questions for discussion. Sign up and be entered to win a copy of this month’s leadership resource, Designing for Growth: A Design Thinking Tool Kit for Managers. One lucky listener will be announced at the end of the talk!

November 1, 2012 / Articles We Like / Design Thinking / Creativity / Innovation / HR / Talent Management / Wise Talk

The Cultivation of Leadership and Design Thinking

Leadership team development is at the forefront of growth and as a business scales, it must do so in a way that is smart and sustainable. In addition to executive coaching to assist organizations with growth, today’s successful leaders need to embrace tools and methods for innovation and problem solving. Design thinking is one of those methods and a proven approach to growth.

In the article, Design thinking and the new language of leadership, *Tim Ogilvie conveys the process of design thinking through a narrative about an executive and his business travel experience.

He identifies three design thinking tools for leadership:

  • Journey mapping
  • Visualization
  • Co-creation

Journey mapping, also known as empathy, is a way to walk in your customer’s shoes, to see the world from their perspective, and is the most fundamental way in which the design process differs from an analytic process. Rather than breaking things down and tweaking the trouble spot, design thinking seeks to build up something new while framing it in a holistic context.

Once you’ve mapped the customer’s journey, leaders become problem-solvers, immediately seeing new possibilities. The problem is: Will the customer see them the same way?

To help solve this, leaders can implement Visualization, also known as ideation — the process of forming and testing ideas in planning, ad-hoc, and research and development activities. Essentially, it’s a tool to create clarity and transparency for collaborative work. This can be done through various methods – gamestorming especially, provides numerous possibilities.

That being said, visualizing a new result is only part of the process. Co-creation, also known as prototyping, is a tool that lets the market tell companies which solution works best. This is the results driven aspect which shows the progress that’s been made. Co-creation is used to engage customers directly in “playing with the future” so we can discover what will truly meet their unarticulated needs.

No mater what the business is, using these design thinking distinctions, leaders can meet the needs of their customers and provide a better product or service before a problem or unmet need becomes common. Leaders who design the growth of their organizations and innovate in such a way will keep themselves on the leading edge of thought. And in the long run, the effort it takes to do research and development using design thinking will in turn save you time and resources.

So, what are you waiting for?

We welcome your thoughts in the comments section below.

*Tim Ogilvie is CEO of innovation-strategy consultancy Peer Insight and co-author with Jeanne Liedtka of “Designing for Growth: A Design Thinking Tool Kit for Managers.”  We are very excited to welcome co-author Jeanne Liedtka to join Mariposa CEO Sue Bethanis on this month’s Wise Talk, Thursday, November 29 from 12-1pm PT where they plan to discuss the ability to turn abstract ideas into practical applications for optimal business growth. For more info and to sign up, please visit our website.