Roger Martin is premier’s chair in productivity and competitiveness and academic director of the Martin Prosperity Institute at the Rotman School of Management. From 1998 to 2013, Martin served as dean of Rotman. Previously, he spent 13 years as a director of Monitor Company, a global strategy consulting firm based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where he served as co-head of the firm for two years. His research work is in integrative thinking, business design, strategy, corporate social responsibility and country competitiveness.
Martin is a regular contributor to blogs and columns for the Harvard Business Review, Financial Times and The Washington Post. He has published eight books, including Playing to Win (with A.G. Lafley, 2013), Fixing the Game (2011) and The Design of Business (2009). In 2013, Martin placed third on the Thinkers50 list, a biannual ranking of the most influential global business thinkers. He serves as a board member of leading global corporations and as a strategic advisor to the CEOs of several others, including P&G and Steelcase. Martin received his A.B. from Harvard College, with a concentration in economics, and his M.B.A. from the Harvard Business School.
An interivew with Roger Martin
You don’t call yourself a “designer” but you’ve been a tremendous proponent and teacher of design and integrative thinking. What can the role be for designers who want to improve their communities and the economy?
Get out of your comfort zone. Don’t design the type of artifact you were trained to design. Instead, figure out how to design an intervention that enables your design to become a reality.
If a designer came up to you and said, "I'm really excited about making change," what advice would you give?
They would need to develop their capacity to design effective interventions—which unfortunately isn’t taught in design schools. It should be. It’s the rate-limiting capability in the potential positive impact of design on the world.
What’s the future of design's role in business and government?
The sky is the limit if designers learn how to design effective interventions. Otherwise it will be more of the same with the repeated complaint that business and government won’t accept design and designers.
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