Instead Of Picking Model A Or Model B Create Model C

To gain some additional perspectives on design thinking take a look at this video interview with Roger Martin, Dean of the Rotman Business School at the University of Toronto. In the video Rotman answers questions about integrative thinking, which is a term Martin uses to describe design thinking. I’ve written about Martin before, especially in wanting to share ideas about his “opposable mind”, and how it is a way of using design thinking to identify new solutions when existing models may not be appropriate for a given situation. Martin talks more about this in the video, which only runs about five minutes.

One of the reasons I seek to further explore the development of the opposable mind is because the library profession presents a good number of complexities and situations for which standard models and solutions are ineffective. One of the most challenging elements of my job is trying to develop good solutions when a simple option A or B won’t work. At those times I think back to Martin and his stories about thinkers who were able to see new solutions that others didn’t see. And being a design thinker doesn’t mean being a lone creative genius who gets hit with lightning bolts of great ideas. Coming up with Model C requires involving one’s colleagues and exploring multiple dimensions of a problem situation.

In the last few months I’ve come across a number of different reports, blog posts, e-mail news items and discussion board entries that all, in one way or another, suggest the demise of libraries. Most will conclude with something along the lines of “libraries have got to change the way they do business or they won’t be around long” but without saying much about what to do. I think similar concerns about turmoil in the world of business lead Martin to develop and share his approach called integrative thinking, and to make design thinking a core educational value for MBA students at the Rotman School. Librarians who will successfully lead their organizations through these challenging times may well be the ones who use integrative thinking to develop Model C.

Additional video to watch: A few months back I shared news about an interesting article in a magazine called Seed. Written by Paolo Antonelli, this article described the idea of the elastic mind. Those with elastic minds are moving past adaptability. Turns out Antonelli spoke about the elastic mind at TED and they have made the video available on their site. She talks more about the interaction of scientists and research scientists.