One of the most interesting and surprising developments in design and particularly design thinking has happened at the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto. Few if any other business schools have payed any attention to design as a potential philosophy of inquiry and action suitable for management. The Dean at the Rotman School is Roger Martin who has been instrumental and the force behind this development. Being a professor of strategic management he has pushed the school to adopt design thinking as a major approach when it comes to business strategy and management. He has earlier developed some of his ideas in the book "The Opposable Mind" (2007, and is now continuing to formulate his thoughts and approach in his new book "The Design of Business: Why Design Thinking is the Next Competitive Advantage".
This is a book whose audience is primarily people in the world of business and who do not know design thinking but might have heard the buzz. It is quite interesting to see how Martin takes on the challenge to introduce design thinking in a world dominated by other and strong traditional forms of thinking. Martin does a good job by introducing design thinking as a way to move business from the reliance on what he calls "reliability" to the realm of "validity". He also introduces his "funnel of knowledge" which is a simple model describing how humans approach a problem and transforms a situation into reliable actions.
For anyone who is alsready into design thinking, the book is very easy to read and gives some interesting and good cases of how to go about when bringing design thinking into large and traditional companies. This aspect of the book is also of great use for already accomplished design thinkers since they might not be aware of the existing and sometime contradictory ways of doing things dominating the corporate world. It can help designers to be more aware of the existing culture, to understand why that culture don't understand or easily can accept a design approach, etc.
Overall, I see this book as a sign of a change going on in the traditional business world. I am quite sure Martin and his school will be followed by many. I am sure that management will adopt design thinking as one possible and valid approach to change among others. We should all be thankful to the work done by Martin to push for this and for his work in making this happen.