Must Read: Bootcamp for great ideas

 I see a lot of job postings where an MBA is required.  I don’t have an MBA so that’s a problem.

That’s why a recent NY Times article about reinventing the MBA curriculum got my attention.  As one person put it, “At business school, there was a lot of focus on ‘You’ve got a great idea; here’s how to build a business out of it.’  The d.school said, ‘Here’s how you get to that great idea.'”

The “d.school” is a reference to the growth in “design thinking,” which emphasizes a focus on human needs to decide what problems need to be addressed.  There’s an engineering focus to all this (the Stanford d.school is part of the Engineering School), but that’s missing the point of today’s posting.

So here’s the point of the blog.  The Stanford d.school has posted a terrific document on its site that is a fairly short primer on the various concepts that drive the development of great ideas.  The D.School Bootcamp Bootleg starts with seven mindsets — including “Bias Toward Action” and “Create Clarity From Complexity” (my favorite) and “Show, Don’t Tell.”  It goes on to introduce modes like “empathize,” “define,” and “test.”  And then it outlines a variety of strategies (or methods) that are integral to design thinking.

Lest this sound overly academic — and some of them will lead your eyes to glaze over a bit — there are some great ideas you can use to better understand your customers or come up with that “one big thing” before you go too far down the road. 

Business books seem to be getting shorter lately…and packed with more usable information.  This one is less than 40 pages and well worth your time.

Read through it.  Think about how you’ve used the concepts without actually knowing you were employing design thinking.  Pick some things to try.  Keep them if they work and try something else if they don’t. 

Use this document — but think of it as a toolkit — and when the time comes perhaps you can overcome the lack of an MBA with a skill set that enables you to develop great, marketable ideas.

How about you?  How have you used some of these methodologies — interviewing for empathy, powers of 10, and so on — to fine tune your ideas?  What worked and what didn’t?

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3 thoughts on “Must Read: Bootcamp for great ideas

  1. Peter:
    We at EOS, http://www.eosprocess.com, are big believers in simplicity and clarity.

    Our collaboration with business leaders starts with simplifying, clarifying and achieving their vision because if everyone knows where they are going and how they are going to get there, then great things can be accomplished.

    Great post,

    Ed

  2. Peter,
    I wrote something along this line! search for “A Primer for Productization” by Rodrick Satre

    When I wrote it, there was no encompasing source book to help unseasoned entreprenures capture the essense of their work

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