Five questions

December 19, 2008 — 8 Comments

I popped into BusinessWeek a few days ago so that they could interview me for their “Five Questions” series. I spent most of my time talking about design thinking.

Tim Brown


8 responses to Five questions

  1. Hi Tim,

    Thanks for answering my question, I’m really glad it got picked! I’m sure your answer will help me bring Design Thinking, slowly, into my workplace/Company.

    I’m really looking forward for you book…! Happy Hollidays to you and everyone from IDEO!

    Best Regards,

  2. I recently began revisiting my reading of R. Buckminster Fuller. Fuller talks about a finite spherical worldview being necessary to understand the world and the universe. One of the things he stresses is that in a spherical world there is no “up” or “down”, there is only “in”, “around” and “out”.

    Thinking about some of your earlier posts, I think Fuller’s could be viewed as “covergent”, “recurrent” and “divergent” thinking.

    Buckminster’s perspective also correlates with the “sequence”, “loop” and “decision” of linear processing; the “attributive”, “recursive” and “distributive” of relational processing; the “operation”, “tactic” and “strategy” of rule processing; the “natural”, “ordinal” and “cardinal” of set processing and many more.

  3. Tim,
    I think you helped with understanding innovation but it still sounds like “mystical” event of some significant portions. In fact innovation takes place everyday in every company and has for centuries. People making the processes they work with easier and more productive is a good solid example of innovation.

    I do think that more attention needs to be paid to the “costs” of being innovative in the big bang sense that most think what innovation is and the day to day incremental savings of small innovation. There is common saying now that it is more costly not to innovate but what does that mean to the lean company trying to survive ?

    I think most will find that despite the obvious advantages of an “ideo” teaching innovation their businesses can remain competitive and perhaps leap ahead of the competition by combining small innovation with large scale innovation.

    I believe what is missing in many organizations is not the innovative people or groups but the fostering environment for innovation and the rewards to the innovators.

    Bill Evans

  4. Hello again Tim,

    You really have me thinking.

    John Boyd developed what was called the “OODA Loop” which greatly influenced American military thought. However, the process he describes I find universally applicable:

    Observe = Scope = Strategy = Why and Who are the exceptions?
    Orient = Analysis = Tactic = When and Where are the exceptions?
    Decide = Design = Operation = How and What are the exceptions?
    Act = Develop = Goal = How Much and How Many are the exceptions?

    I am of the opinion that we are often tricked into thinking for our hammer every problem is a nail. However, if we abstract “hammer” to “tool” and “nail” to “system” we can liberate ourselves from our preconceptions. Think of as many “tools” and as many “systems” as possible to come up with a generalization and a theory of design.

  5. Liv Marit Naess January 14, 2009 at 4:17 pm

    Hi Tim

    I am writing my ms thesis concerning innovation through design (organizational environment as hinder or facilitator for design thinking). I’m trying to define the role of design thinking in the innovation landscape and when going through related literature there seems to be an overlap between the role of design thinking, NPD and the innovation process itself. What are the differences? Both design thinking and the NPD process seem to include three important phases: inspiration/research, ideation and implementation. Any sources I can look to for further explanations on the matter?

    Since I am doing a case study I would like to include a company that has not been successful when implementing design thinking as an approach to innovation. Can you suggest such a company?

    I highly appreciate your advice in this matter.

    Best regards

    Liv Marit Naess

  6. Where can a lay person go to “learn” this approach to teach others in our company? Any book or training recommendations?

  7. A good place to see some practical examples of implementing design thinking is at:

    Start Design Thinking in Five Simple Steps

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