Episode #1545 Bill Burnett: Designing Your Work For Optimal Performance

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In a world where design has become an essential tool for navigating the changing world of business, how might it help you reimagine your own career success? Stanford's Bill Burnett rejoins Moe Abdou to explore how design thinking is redefining the modern world of work.


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Bill Burnett

Executive Director Stanford Design Program View Full Profile

Prototyping A Life of Perpetual Excellence

As the world starts to reemerge from the COVID-19 experience - none of us will be left without impact.   Irrespective of the toll this pandemic has taken on you or your family’s wellbeing, the societal shifts will forever be linked to the days, weeks, and months in 2020 when the world was put on a temporary pause.  

Many around the world were left wondering what the future might hold; yet a rare few began to contemplate a completely different set of questions.  Ones that reimagine a totally different future, that go to the edges of what we’ve known to be possible, and ultimately, the type of questions that many of us have held close to the vest, but for whatever reason opted not to ask - fear perhaps?

Time and again, the very nature of work and career has been foremost on the minds of those of us building companies and the very individuals we employee.  What will the future of work look like?  What about the culture - what is that likely to be?  How about the ever elusive engagement level of people - what needs to happen to move the needle?   And, certainly the question of purpose - how might we inject more meaning in what we do and how we deliver it?  These are precisely the type of questions that Bill Burnett and Dave Evans feel are vital to reestablishing a world where work is not only appreciated, but where individual & corporate excellence become the singular priority. 

Their latest book - Designing Your Work Life - and our conversation take you inside their laboratory to give you a glimpse of how the design thinking methodology can help you navigate an unknowable future; particularly one that involves your intellectual and career freedom.  Here’s a sampling of what we discuss:

  • What is design thinking?
  • Why designers build, and not think their way forward?
  • The correlation between design thinking and individual excellence?
  • What does it really mean to prototype one’s own life?
  • Curiosity is a designer’s #1 mindset, still it’s elusive to many - why?
  • A design thinking approach to understanding and overcoming fear?
  • Why you should avoid gravity problems?
  • How to learn to love constraints?
  • The design thinking playbook for leaders and leadership teams.
  • What a story says about you, your company, and your future?
  • What elite sales people never do & the one place they always start from?
  • Resources: