Design thinking comes of age

There's a shift under way in large organizations, one that puts design much closer to the center of the enterprise. But the shift isn't about aesthetics. It's about applying the principles of design to the way people work.

This new approach is in large part a response to the increasing complexity of modern technology and modern business. That complexity takes many forms. Sometimes software is at the center of a product and needs to be integrated with hardware (itself a complex task) and made intuitive and simple from the user's point of view (another difficult challenge). Sometimes the problem being tackled is itself multi-faceted: Think

about how much tougher it is to reinvent a health care delivery system than to design a shoe. And sometimes the business environment is so volatile that a company must experiment with multiple paths in order to survive.

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