The route to major development is not a predefined pathway, for that has edges and contains you, no, the route to scaling is through the embracing of design thinking (Liedtka and Ogilvie, 2011) and the willingness to take ‘design turns’ (Ison, 2017) at moments of uncomfortableness.

Sitting in the heart of a business, replicating the actions of yesterday with an expectation that they will deliver a different tomorrow can be frustrating, you find yourself, as Seth Godin suggests, in a cul-de-sac (Godin, 2011). Resources are being eaten, emotional drive getting less and less but you persist. Two things here, persistence is a value that has its core in belief and vision, but the caveat is, focusing too hard on a distant future can blind you to the opportunities of today. As business owners we can be potentially drowning in daily activity, and in doing so lose the awareness of the moment, but it is being receptive to the changing dynamics that can help you connect the two dimensions, the now and a desired future state.

To understand what is the now we must be able to take a ‘design turn’, to “reconfigure the relational dynamics in the situation.” (Ison, 2017, p332) so when we embed design thinking into our practice, we are embracing the freedom to shift and reposition our thinking. Design thinking is not a linear pathway, it is a means to understand the now, explore new possibilities from which we can build, learn and measure our way to success.

When we garner clarity, both in our existing condition and what we want for the future, we muster our resources and engage with the fight, we look up the hill with added vigour and a sense of purpose.


Godin, S (2011). Godin, S (2011). The Dip: A Little Book That Teaches You When to Quit. 1st. ed. London: Hachette Digital

Liedtka, J. Ogilvie, T (2011). Designing for Growth: a design thinking tool kit for managers. 1st ed. New York: Columbia University Press

Ison, R (2017). Systems Practice: How to Act. 2nd ed. London & Milton Keynes: Springer in association with Open University