Jeanne Liedtka, design thinking

Jeanne Liedtka @ U of Toronto

Jeanne Liedtka, a professor at the University of Virginia’s Darden Graduate School of Business, visited University of Toronto and presented her work on growth.

[Summary] She argues that “catalysts” succeed against odds because they have a broad repertoire (e.g., cross-functionally trained) and have a learning mindset with empathy. In particular, she compared between growth mindset people (based on hypothesis-driven thinking) and fixed mindset people.

  1. When people have a growth mindset, they consider life as a journey of learning, embrace uncertainty, seek new experience, broaden repertoire, manage risks through action, place small bets quickly (i.e., rapid prototyping), and thus succeed more often in new situations.
  2. When people have a fixed mindset, they consider life as a test to avoid mistake, fear uncertainty, avoid new experience, narrow repertore, fail to manage risks without action, place large bets slowly, and thus fail more often in new situations.

She emphasized that learning is important when people make failures. “Learning people” learn from their failures because failures are the opportunities to test their hypotheses, whereas “non-learning people” have no such opportunity.