Design Thinking at Summer Davos

September 23, 2008

I am just heading over to Tianjin for the Summer Davos conference where there are several sessions touching on design and design thinking as well as interesting sessions on clean energy and innovation for aging. The focus of the summer version of the famous gathering in Davos, Switzerland, is on wha...

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Designing the dining experience

September 14, 2008

I suppose eating is an experience we get quite attuned to and with the proliferation of great restaurants around it can be easy to become blasé. This week I had a couple of great dining experiences that felt quite unique and make me think that there is still plenty of room for innovation in the rest...

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What does design thinking feel like?

September 7, 2008

John Maeda (President of RISD) would likely answer that question by saying "a banana". He often talks about how hard it is to describe design and I agree with him. On the other hand I think one of the biggest obstacles to using design thinking as an effective problem solving approach is anticipati...

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Definitions of design thinking

September 7, 2008

In my HBR article I gave a 'definition' of design thinking. It was: Design thinking can be described as a discipline that uses the designer’s sensibility and methods to match people’s needs with what is technologically feasible and what a viable business strategy can convert into customer value and...

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Empathy at scale

August 24, 2008

One of the principles of design thinking is that it requires empathy for users to inspire ideas. Normally we think about getting that from ethnographic style research. Diving deep into the lives of a relatively small number of people, understanding the environment they live in, their social networks...

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Optimism and critique

August 24, 2008

When I was at art school the critique was central to the ethos. Every couple of weeks I would have to pin my work up on the wall and defend it from the criticism of fellow students and professors. It was always stressful but as long as I hadn't made the mistake of staying up all the previous night t...

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The design of search

August 24, 2008

Google disrupted search partly through the use of design. Of course it was the search algorithm PageRank that was the big technical breakthrough followed by AdWords and AdSense but the simplicity of the interaction was also key to getting users to weave search into every aspect of their internet beh...

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Rules of behavior for emergent experimentation

August 18, 2008

I am a big fan of a culture of experimentation as a driver of innovation. I believe it creates the divergence necessary to create the best, and least incremental, options. I also think that if an organization relies on top down direction to achieve that experimentation then it risks missing many of ...

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Who were the original design thinkers?

August 12, 2008

In my Harvard Business Review article I introduce the idea of design thinking with the example of Thomas Edison and the customer centered, systems thinking, approach that he took to the creation of the light bulb. The great engineer of Victorian England, Isambard Kingdom Brunel (pictured here), was ...

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Is this a product or an experience?

August 12, 2008

I got a great present from my wife the other day. It was a set of Bodum coffee cups. They are the double walled ones with a vacuum in between. Like a vacuum flask, they keep hot liquids hotter for longer and cold liquids colder. The revelation for me was how much better my morning latté now is. The ...

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