Jeanne Liedtka

Jeanne M. Liedtka is a faculty member at the University of Virginia's Darden School of Business and former chief learning officer at United Technologies Corporation, where she was responsible for overseeing all activities associated with corporate learning and development for the Fortune 50 corporation, including executive education, career development processes, employer-sponsored education and learning portal and web-based activities.

At Darden, where she formerly served as associate dean of the MBA program and as executive director of the Batten Institute, Jeanne works with both MBAs and executives in the areas of design thinking, innovation and leading growth. Her passion is exploring how organizations can engage employees at every level in thinking creatively about the design of powerful futures.

Jeanne's current research focuses on design-led innovation in the government and social sector, as does her forthcoming book, Designing for the Greater Good. Her previous books include: The Catalyst; How You Can Lead Extraordinary Growth (winner of the Business Week best innovation books of 2009); Designing for Growth: A Design Thinking Tool Kit for Managers (winner of the 1800 CEO READ best management book of 2011) and its accompanying field guide, The Designing for Growth Field Book: A Step by Step Guide; The Physics of Business Growth: Mindsets, System and Process; and Solving Business Problems with Design Thinking: Ten Stories of What Works.


What is Design Thinking?

Design thinking is a problem-solving approach with a unique set of qualities: it is human centered, possibility driven, option focused, and iterative. We ask the question “What if anything were possible?” as we begin to create ideas. We focus on generating multiple options and avoid putting all our eggs in one particular solution basket. Because we are guessing about our stakeholders’ needs and wants, we also expect to be wrong sometimes. So we want to put multiple irons in the fire and let our stakeholders tell us which work for them. We want to manage a portfolio of new ideas.