Design Thinking and the Law

July 18, 2017

It has been exciting to see design thinking gaining ground in a growing range of industries over the last few years, but even I have been surprised by the enthusiasm with which some in the legal field have embraced the concept. The law is not exactly known for creative problem solving. But it turns...

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When Big Data Gets Local

May 8, 2013

Now that government data is becoming more readily available, there are lots of interesting uses. Here’s one that we worked on with the Sunlight Foundation. Sitegeist is a mobile app that helps you access US Census data and other public details about a neighborhood. This means you can check on everyt...

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Knight News Challenge: Open Government

March 8, 2013

How might we improve the way citizens and governments interact? This is the question posed by the current Knight News Challenge, a media innovation contest open to participants anywhere in the world. Winners receive a share of $5 million in funding from the Knight Foundation and feedback from a coll...

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Reflections on Davos 2013

February 5, 2013

I recently returned from the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. The overall sentiment there was one of cautious optimism. While there is a long list of major problems to be tackled, the immediate prospects for the global economy seem reasonably good and there is a sense that most economies ...

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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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Design for Complexity: The Hidden Power of Networks

October 16, 2012

I recently moderated a fascinating session at the World Economic Forum 'Summer Davos' in Tianjin, China. Two network scientists, Cesar Hidalgo of MIT and Albert-Laszlo Barabasi of Harvard, discussed the underlying science of how networks operate and how this knowledge might be applied to business an...

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"We apologize for the interruption in service"

June 5, 2011

This seems an appropriate title under which to resume my commentary on design and design thinking. I do indeed apologize for the lack of posts over the last three months but this is not the primary reason for the choice of title. I just returned from a visit to Tokyo, a place I have visited more th...

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Design nations

October 31, 2010

I am off to Singapore in a week for my first visit. I have been invited by the government to give a talk on design thinking and meet with various government and business leaders to talk about the role of design thinking at a national level. It is interesting to think about national scale design and...

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Redesigning California

December 30, 2009

There is a move afoot to hold a constitutional convention in California. The purpose is to address some of the issues that are causing complete gridlock in the governance of the state. Given the successive budget crises and the seeming inability to think about long term and strategic issues, as well...

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