Show is more effective than tell

Niblettes has been a thoughtful commenter on my recent forays into strategy and the role of design, leading me to rethink a choice of word or consider more deeply my thoughts on the topic. In the conversation on "Strategy and Operational Effectiveness", I responded with the following words,

The concept behind why one would turn to design, your last question,
comes from the realization that there is only so far that markets can
be grown, new products launched, etc etc from the same old same old –
witness the stories I’ve linked to about Hoover – and while the
understanding is still hazy, the realization is beginning that some
measures that design has traditionally brought to the table, a concern
for the user, empathy, the ability to visualize and synthesize a
‘whole’ may have the seeds for the next step in the evolution of
business thinking and strategy. Chiefly, in that, design is not just a
cost function but an approach to problem solving that may bring the
required tools/tweaks/ something we don’t as know yet, to take the
markets and companies to the next level.

And quite rightly it is Niblettes who demonstrates the where, how and why the skills and abilities of a designer can add value to business thinking, corporate planning and strategy. I had just received a PDF in the mail from Brad Nemer, an HBR article from 1963 by Theodore Levitt, aptly titled in the current context, "Creativity is not enough". It consists of 9 pages of closely typed writing articulating the need for effective implementation for true innovation, rather than just a focus on creativity and ideation without the requisite follow through.

After reading that, I saw his most recent post containing this diagram, and realized that in one visual he had captured the concept that took Levitt a few thousand words to convey. This is not to say Levitt doesn’t have extremely valid and insightful points to make, but there is nothing more powerful in conveying complex and abstract concepts than an particularly effective graphic visualization.

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Read the full discussion and description in his post, where he takes the 2D matrix and derives this 3D representation.

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