How can design inspire the leadership thinking of Denmark’s top business and governmental minds?

The Danish Management Society (VL), who organises 4000 top executives in more than 100 network groups, has chosen “Designing Leadership” as the key theme of 2017 - how our conventional understanding of leadership is challenged, and how leaders can be inspired by design thinking and approaches to rethink their habits on topics like digitalisation, business development and change.

Enabling top executives to reflect on their leadership styles through a design methodology

In a commitment to walk the talk, The Danish Management Society decided to work with the theme through an engaging process where the members learned about design by actively participating in a rapid process, based on design methodology. The change agency Workz was asked to help develop a flexible concept that would enable the 100+ network groups to facilitate a high-paced design process, without any need for external facilitation or assistance. The result was a minimalistic “turn-key” solution in which the process was orchestrated through seven envelopes with different tasks and exercises that was opened in a specific sequence and timing.

The headlines of the seven envelopes were:

  1. Empiric data and pattern recognition
  2. Problem identification
  3. Idea generation
  4. Concept development
  5. Pitching
  6. Prototyping and refinement
  7. Reflection

The concept was a deliberate experiment by The Danish Management Society who used the opportunity to rethink the way their members interact and work together. The concept is still in the midst of implementation but so far, the feedback has been very positive.

“Workz has developed and delivered a truly innovative solution, which enables top executives to reflect on their leadership styles through a design methodology. We have been very satisfied with the collaboration in which Workz has assisted with scoping, content development and concept design.”
- Christian Bason, CEO Danish Design Centre, Chairman of VL Steering Committee

  • The tool came in a box. Each box served 7 groups.
    The tool came in a box. Each box served 7 groups.
  • The process was introduced through seven envelopes
    The process was introduced through seven envelopes
  • Each envelope contained a proces guide and the tools needed for that step.
    Each envelope contained a proces guide and the tools needed for that step.
  • Discovering the core of the problem was an important step.
    Discovering the core of the problem was an important step.
  • Cards was used to provoke out-of-the-box thinking. Here it says "How would they have solved the problem in Sovjet Russia?
    Cards was used to provoke out-of-the-box thinking. Here it says "How would they have solved the problem in Sovjet Russia?