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A Design Approach To Navigating Cognitive Traps

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"The ability to create and leverage emergent opportunities has become all the more important in contemporary environments characterized by change. Many studies chronicle how firms fall into cognitive traps and fail to capitalize on emergent opportunities. Few studies theorize about how firms can navigate such cognitive traps by harnessing projects as a basis for opportunity creation and ongoing organizational transformation. In this paper, we track a specific project at Google that led to new products, a new business model, and a programming technique, all of which led to new capabilities that resulted in transforming the company. Our analysis reveals three core processes that form the bases for an emergent “design approach”, one that lies in contrast to the traditional “design school” that Mintzberg had critiqued. We conclude with observations as to how the new design approach can help firms navigate cognitive traps."


PUBLISHED: Proceedings from the The 18th DMI: Academic Design Management Conference, 2012


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Kevin BethuneKevin Bethune is the Founder and Chief Creative Officer of dreams • design + life

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