Managers as form-givers

Exotic methods of financial analysis do not create value. Only inventing and delivering new products, processes, and services that serve human needs can do that. But managers are not trained for that type of life. Instead, they are trained and rewarded for being decision makers—to have alternatives presented to them from which they make choices by computing net present values, optimizing underassumed constraints, and trading off risks for returns.

There is something tragically missing from management practice and education today, and missing even from our managerial icons. That missing element is an image of the manager as an idea generator who gives form to new possibilities with a well-developed vocabulary of design. Managers as form-givers care deeply about the world that is being shaped by a business and refuse to accept the default alternatives. They understand that the design of better products, processes, and services is their core responsibility. The design attitude is the source of those inventions. A decision does not generate inventions, no matter how advanced its analytic capabilities.

Managing as Designing by Richard J. Boland, Fred Collopy

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