Start Designing Your Life

November 21, 2012

Throughout Change by Design, I tried to show that the designer’s skills can be applied to a wide range of problems—and also that these skills are accessible to a far greater range of people than may be commonly supposed. These two threads come together when we apply them to one of the most challengi...

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5 Inspiring Social Design Pioneers

November 19, 2012

Recently I spent an evening at Harvard’s Graduate School of Design attending the awards ceremony for the Curry Stone Design Prize. Founded in 2008 by Clifford Curry and Delight Stone and curated by Chee Pearlman with Emiliano Gandolfi, the  prize is awarded to designers who are developing and implem...

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10 TED Talks About Being Creative

November 15, 2012

This week TED published a playlist called 10 Talks About the Beauty—and Difficulty—of Being Creative. Included in the playlist: David Kelley’s 2012 TED talk, “How To Build Your Creative Confidence,” and my own 2008 talk, “Tales of Creativity and Play.” There’s a powerful relationship between creati...

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A Design Lens on Education

November 13, 2012

"Education provides the foundation of our global possibilities. We design this well, and the whole world changes." I agree wholeheartedly with this statement from Sandy Speicher, one of the few people I know who is well qualified to have a perspective on both design and education. Her journey has ta...

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The HBR/McKinsey M-Prize for Management Innovation

November 8, 2012

Are you an in-the-trenches innovator? Does your team have innovation built into its DNA? Do you know someone whose progressive management practices are starting to make innovation an everyday, everywhere capability in their organization? If so, I encourage you to enter the 2012-13 M-Prize for Manag...

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The UK Government Shows How to Design for Simplicity

November 6, 2012

(Above: image from — Principle 10, Make things open: it makes things better.) The UK government is leading the way in using design to create simpler digital services for its citizens. A 2010 report commissioned by the government made a series of strong recommendations, incl...

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How Might We Design for Behavior Change?

November 1, 2012

If you talk to people at the Santa Fe Institute, or read any of their books, you'll learn that a key characteristic of a complex system is that the more complex a system is, the more information flows through it. If this is true, then we ought to be thinking more about these information flows when w...

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Does the Media Have a Negative Effect on Innovation?

October 30, 2012

A recent article by Matt Ridley in the Wall Street Journal entitled "The Perils of Always Ignoring the Bright Side" got me thinking. Using the examples of GM crops and shale gas, Ridley makes the argument that the media’s singular interest in reporting negative outcomes has caused us to miss the pot...

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15 Minutes With: Heath Ceramics’ Cathy Bailey on Business Design

October 26, 2012

“When I walked into Heath it sounded so different from my office." It was this visceral difference between the sounds of a small ceramics manufacturer and those of a consulting design studio that got Cathy Bailey started on the path to co-leading Heath Ceramics. In partnership with her husband Robin...

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The Secret Phrase That Sparks Creative Solutions

October 23, 2012

I spoke with writer Warren Berger recently for his Harvard Business Review post on "the secret phrase top innovators use." What's the phrase? Three words: How Might We. Within this deceptively simple phrase each word plays a powerful role in spurring creative problem-solving. "How" assumes that so...

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