Hire Design Thinking

Hiring is crucial. Here’s my philosophical secret sauce in marketing hiring.

First, hire people who know the arts and crafts of marketing. They can be found.

Second, make sure they are “design thinkers”. They are not so easy to find.

Design thinkers are “creatives” who think in a disciplined manner. Design thinking combines empathy for the context of a problem, creativity in the generation of insights and solutions, and rationality to analyze and fit solutions to the context.

One size does not fit all.

By contrast, a “scientific method” of thinking, defines all the parameters of the problem in order to define a solution. That can work, but it tends to force outcomes that follow the recipe exactly. And it produces the same dish everyone else has.

Design thinkers know the standard recipes very well. But they don’t follow them (exactly). They cook something deliciously unique, with the ingredients available. And it’s the right dish, for the right appetite, right here and right now.

Design thinkers have enormous empathy for context (they demand context!), and they are rational about solutions. But between context and rationality is a planned and slightly rebellious freedom, joy and sense of what’s possible. That is where all the delight, serendipity, and appropriate situational quality usually originates.

Design thinkers will make your marketing work, for your business model, and your bottom line. They care about unique context, unique customers, and unique success.

It’s not the recipe. It’s the cook.


3 Responses to Hire Design Thinking

  1. I agree, Mike, if I understand the phrase “empathy for context” correctly. I assume that you mean a deep understanding of the human elements of the marketing situation. Is that right?

    • Mike Coombs says:

      Short answer. Yeah. Empathy for context IS a deep understanding of the human elements.
      Caution! Steve Jobs reference (and reverence) here: That guy’s product genius was design thinking.
      Apple hasn’t created better tech.
      They’ve created more human context friendly products. (And marketing.)

      • Yes, I absolutely agree. I loved the fact that Apple never had market research. Steve Jobs said that they all hated their cellphones so they made a better one.

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