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Innovation Culture + Future of Work + Designing Value with Marc Bolick — DT101 E93

Marc Bolick is the managing partner of the DesignThinkers Group. We’re talking about innovation and culture, the future of work and designing value.

Portrait of Marc Bolick

Listen to Learn About

  • DesignThinkers Group
  • Using design thinking in innovation strategy and projects
  • The future of work
  • Innovative Leadership
  • International Development
  • Change management and “corporate antibodies”

Our Guest

Marc leads DesignThinkers Group, an innovation support firm with consultants across North America and associates in 20 countries. He uses his technical, business and design skills to help organizations ask the right questions and find innovative solutions through human-centered problem solving methodologies. Marc has led projects for a range of multinational brands, non-profits, foundations, NGOs and public sector agencies both in the USA and abroad. He holds an MBA and Master of Business Informatics from Rotterdam School of Management and a BS in Mechanical Engineering from Clemson University. Marc is an inspiring speaker, a probing strategist, a curious observer of human behavior, and a highly experienced group facilitator.

Show Highlights

[00:59] Marc gives a brief introduction to DesignThinkers Group.
[02:00] His early career in mechanical engineering and working for GE.
[02:34] Seeing design first-hand in a GE research lab.
[03:47] Representing CT service engineers gave him the chance to interact with customers.
[05:08] Shifting into product management.
[05:45] Becoming an “accidental consultant.”
[06:38] Discovering design thinking.
[07:50] Incorporating design thinking into his innovation work.
[08:10] Jeanne Liedtka’s social technology concept.
[11:32] Working with clients and showing what’s possible with design thinking.
[11:58] Learning design thinking isn’t just about taking a class. You have to practice it.
[12:38] Using design thinking to design the project.
[13:07] Creating the guiding star for the project.
[15:48] Working with company cultures.
[17:41] One of Marc’s favorite questions.
[19:10] The future of work.
[19:48] Echoes of the Industrial Revolution.
[20:49] Marc offers thoughts on what makes a strong innovative leader.
[22:53] Exploring the opportunities, offered by design thinking and human-centered design, for improving how we work.
[23:53] Why Marc doesn’t like the term “empathy building.”
[24:30] Better connecting with customers leads to better serving them.
[27:24] Pitfalls of personas.
[28:27] Marc and Dawan talk about using Indi Young’s mental models instead of personas in design work.
[32:01] Working as a designer and innovator means you’re always learning.
[32:45] Books and resources Marc recommends.
[34:41] Being with clients is Marc’s biggest learning space.
[35:04] Marc talks about a co-creation workshop DesignThinkers Group did in Cambodia and using design thinking to solve wicked problems.
[39:15] Some other projects DesignThinkers Group has worked on.
[41:47] Innovation requires putting something of value out into the world.
[43:55] Innovation is all about change, and change management.
[44:19] A project DesignThinkers Group did with a large corporation that wanted to tackle the issue of gender representation in top leadership roles.
[46:21] Corporations and the status quo fight back against change.
[47:47] The responsibility designers have to work on better inclusivity and representation in design.


Marc on Twitter
Marc on LinkedIn
DesignThinkers Group
DesignThinkers Group on Twitter
DesignThinkers Group on LinkedIn
Design Talk What is Design Thinking?
Delivering Innovative Solutions Through Service Design Thinking With Marc Bolick
How Design Thinking Can Take Service to Another Level, interview with Marc
Seth Godin
Dave Gray
Wednesday Web Jam

Book Recommendations

The Connected Company, by Dave Gray and Thomas Vander Wahl
Gamestorming, by Dave Gray and Sunni Brown
This is Marketing: You Can’t Be Seen Until You Learn to See, by Seth Godin
Permission Marketing: Turning Strangers into Friends and Friends into Customers, by Seth Godin
This is Service Design Thinking: Basics, Tools, Cases, by Marc Stickdorn, Jakob Schneider
This Is Service Design Doing: Applying Service Design Thinking in the Real World, by Marc Stickdorn, Markus Hormess, Adam Lawrence, and Jakob Schneider
Ten Types of Innovation: The Discipline of Building Breakthroughs, by Larry Keeley, Helen Walters, Ryan Pikkel, and Brian Quinn

Design Thinking 101 Episodes You Might Like

Designing for the Greater Good, Strategy + Design Thinking, and Measuring Design Thinking with Jeanne Liedtka — DT101 E1
Problem Spaces, Understanding How People Think, and Practical Empathy with Indi Young — DT101 E6
Experiencing Design: The Innovator’s Journey with Karen Hold — DT101 E71

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