I've written on several occasions about the value of embracing design thinking as a business discipline, not just as an aesthetic process.
Design thinking forces executives to view the world from the customer's standpoint. It focuses on the overall experience and not just the tangible product. It requires reductive thinking. All very healthy business practices, not simply design practices.
Roger Martin, Head of Canada's Rotman School of Management, brings some fresh thinking to the topic, continuing the trend of B-Schools thinking and educating more like D-Schools. According to Martin, business leaders who embrace design thinking focus more on the possibilities over the existing framework, they balance analysis with intuition, and they discard templates in favor of fresh solutions when attempting to solve strategic challenges.
Another piece I read recently by Nancy Duarte and Garr Reynolds in the MIT Sloan Management Review further illuminates the similarities between great managers and designers. According to Duarte and Reynolds, "Managers and designers have to do the same things: Embrace restraints, question everything, and make sure tools don't get in the way of ideas. Design concepts such as hierarchy, balance, contrast and harmony are just as relevant to managers."