Creative people naturally resist being herded, or following the herd. So why try harder to do something that is unnatural? Why get stuck “herding cats”?
The fundamental management question today should be, “Am I working with nature, or against nature?” Attracting works better than imposing. Why not use catnip as the natural approach to moving those “cats” where you want them to go?
What is catnip for humans? One way to get things done is to work toward a shared purpose and values. Values and purpose are attractive. Forget the herding.
Ethical design thinking
For example, most “design thinking” process models (aimed at developing products and services using empathy to uncover latent needs) define a creative problem-solving activity. This sounds very 21st century, but where in the process do we account for ethical values? How do we even know if we have defined the right problem? And is problem-solving really a motivating activity?
Are we missing something here?
Most design thinking diagrams could easily herd us toward producing the next electric knife, margarita-maker machine or mediocre building. In other words, are we pursuing market growth for growth’s sake while designing future landfill?
What if we attracted people to our shared purpose and values as the foundation for design thinking? What if we were guided toward doing the right thing with all-natural catnip (ethics) rather than being herded toward imposed business goals?