Design thinking — a way of problem-solving that combines creative and analytical thinking to spur innovation — is more than a niche way of looking at things; it’s a useful process, and it may be causing a shift in what innovation looks like across the board.

Think of it like total quality management (TQM), which was once considered the responsibility of experts. Now, all employees are expected to pursue and uphold the quality of their organization and its output. Likewise, innovation is no longer the responsibility only of the Product Development Department; it’s up to everyone in an organization to innovate its products, processes and strategies.

Cementing this universal commitment to quality means giving people tools and processes they can implement — that’s what TQM did, and what design thinking does for innovation. And it works in myriad types of organizations, across industry and geography.

Read more about design thinking in Darden Professor Jeanne Liedtka’s article “Is Design Thinking the New TQM?” on the Forbes/Batten Institute blog.

About the Expert

Jeanne M. Liedtka

United Technologies Corporation Professor of Business Administration

Liedtka is an expert on the hot topic of design thinking and how it can be used to fuel innovation and organic growth.

Liedtka’s most recent books are The Catalyst: How You Can Lead Extraordinary Growth (named one of Businessweek’s best innovation and design books of 2009), Designing for Growth: A Design Thinking Tool Kit for Managers (winner of the 1800 CEO READ best management book of 2011), The Physics of Business Growth (2012) and Solving Business Problems With Design: 10 Stories of What Works (2013). Her latest book, Design Thinking for the Greater Good, studies design-led innovation projects in government and social sectors.

B.S., Boston University; MBA, Harvard University; DBA, Boston University