Systemic Practice and Action Research

, Volume 26, Issue 3, pp 257–279 | Cite as

IDEA: A Collaborative Organizational Design Process Integrating Innovation, Design, Engagement, and Action

  • Donald W. de GuerreEmail author
  • Daniel Séguin
  • Alicia Pace
  • Noel Burke
Original Paper


This paper describes an innovative and successful 1-year organization change process. It captures a design-based inquiry that simultaneously applies creative, purposeful, and systemic thinking to a complex set of issues. Three significant findings result from this research. First, this paper discusses how the change process created the necessary and sufficient conditions allowing for the creation of an innovative organizational design that embeds both optimization and innovation. Second, Design Thinking was used to develop a 2-day participative design process we have called IDEA, an acronym for integrating innovation, design, engagement, and action. We believe that the IDEA organizational design process is replicable. Third, it describes an emergent and co-created change process. This paper concludes by raising questions for future transformative organizational design efforts.


Innovation Organizational design Design thinking Organizational change Engagement 



We would like to thank all of the SEL staff and management for their willingness to engage, to learn, and to change. We learned about Design Thinking and AI from many sources, but we would especially like to acknowledge the contribution of Innovation Partners International staff, particularly Bernard Mohr and Bob LaLiberte; Socio-technical System Discovery team members, particularly Doug Austrom, Helen Maupin, and Carolyn Ordowich; and our colleagues at Concordia University who were part of our early learning, particularly Nathalie Fauteux, Susan Newman, and Andrew Trull. Concordia University and The School of Extended Learning supported part of this research.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Donald W. de Guerre
    • 1
    Email author
  • Daniel Séguin
    • 2
  • Alicia Pace
    • 3
  • Noel Burke
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of Applied Human SciencesConcordia UniversityMontrealCanada
  2. 2.Desirable FuturesKootenay BayCanada
  3. 3.Pace ConsultingKootenay BayCanada
  4. 4.School of Extended LearningConcordia UniversityMontrealCanada

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