Contributions of design thinking to project management in an innovation context

Researchers have long recognized that standard approaches to project management are ill-suited to address changes in the environment or business needs, particularly in innovative contexts characterized by uncertainty and complexity. Instead of being concerned with the efficient implementation of a deliberate strategy, a project in such a context becomes a process for strategy formulation. Three imperatives for project management arise as a result: managing the explorative phase, managing the involvement of stakeholders in the project, and managing the project in relation to the strategizing process of the firm. We propose that design thinking, a recent evolution in the field of design, can make some important contributions to these imperatives. Design thinking has been highlighted by practitioners as well as academia as a novel methodology that is potentially valuable for improving innovative outcomes, whether they are products, services, or strategies.
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