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Nurturing Power Partnerships on the Innovation Journey





Caroline Flagiello

Senior Project Lead, IDEO






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To create the conditions for great design and innovation, start by identifying and nurturing business relationships built on mutual respect, trust, and commitment.



EVERYONE WAS FRUSTRATED. The client was terse on the phone, and our team was scrambling to ease the tension ("You deal with him!” they cried as I entered the huddle). Once again, he was asking for several short design projects to create an outcome that was unclear to us—and to him as well, I supposed. We were about to journey into the fog, making incremental impact at best. We wanted to create work that had tremendous impact—and so did he—but we didn't feel set up for success. Sound familiar?

I had to get to the underlying issue and ask our client what success looked like for him, personally. Moving past his formulaic answers, I probed further, asking what he really wanted this work to accomplish. The reply: "You really want to know? I want to get promoted!”


There it was: An open, honest, and strong driving motivator behind our behaviors. The client wanted to shine. We wanted to create more impactful outcomes. This would require moving past traditional business roles and connecting on a human level. Read more.




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