Flexibility Is The Key To Creative Leadership

These days, business talk is all about innovation and design. This is thanks in part to the role technology companies have been playing in driving the economy of the U.S., in particular. But it can also be attributable to an acknowledgement that – in a digital world where established organizations are under threat from all sides – just being more efficient is not going to be enough to ensure survival, let alone a thriving future.

It was not always that way, of course. Back in the late 1970s, when the design and innovation firm IDEO was starting, its stock in trade was something of a specialist activity. Even early on, the firm made waves. Initially based in Palo Alto, it designed the first laptop and the computer mouse and gained a reputation for a thorough process that went to the heart of the organization rather than simply applying design almost as an afterthought. In 1999, it famously hit the headlines when a mainstream news program aired a film about the firm designing a better shopping cart as an illustration of its “deep dive” design technique.

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