warrior cats books read online free art school—where everyone looked the same, acted the same, and spoke the same language—and change by design tim brown pdf free download the world of business, I had to spend far more time trying to explain to my clients what design was than actually doing it. One of the surgeons, using imprecise words and awkward hand gestures, described how he might prefer a device with a pistol grip. Today companies like Google and 3M are renowned for encouraging scientists and engineers to spend up to 20 change by design tim brown pdf free download of their time on personal experiments. We are a non-profit group that run this website to share documents.">
Design thinking is all about exploring different possibilities, so I thought I would start by introducing the reader to another way of visualizing the contents of the book. There are times when linear thinking is called for, but at IDEO we often find it more helpful to visualize an idea using a technique with a long, rich history, the mind map.
Linear thinking is about sequences; mind maps are about connections. This visual representation helps me see the relationships between the different topics I want to talk about, it gives me a more intuitive sense of the whole, and it helps me to think about how best to illustrate an idea. Linear thinkers like Ben are welcome to use the table of contents; more venturesome readers may wish to consult the inside cover and view the whole of Change by Design in one place.
It may prompt you to jump to a particular section of interest. It may help you retrace your steps. It may remind you of the relationships among different topics of design thinking and may even help you to think of topics that are not covered here but should be. Experienced design thinkers may find that the mind map is all you need to capture my point of view.
I hope that for everyone else the ten chapters that follow will provide a worthwhile insight into the world of design thinking and the potential it has for us to create meaningful change. If that proves to be the case, I hope you will let me know.
The company had always relied on new technology to drive its growth. It had invested heavily in an effort to anticipate the next innovation. In the face of the changing market it seemed prudent to try something new, so Shimano invited IDEO to collaborate. What followed was an exercise in designer-client relations that looked very different from what such an engagement might have looked like a few decades or even a few years earlier. Shimano did not hand us a list of technical specifications and a binder full of market research and send us off to design a bunch of parts.
Rather, we joined forces and set out together to explore the changing terrain of the cycling market. During the initial phase, we fielded an interdisciplinary team of designers, behavioral scientists, marketers, and engineers whose task was to identify appropriate constraints for the project. The team began with a hunch that it should not focus on the high-end market.
Looking for new ways to think about the problem, they spent time with consumers from across the spectrum. They discovered that nearly everyone they met had happy memories of being a kid on a bike but many are deterred by cycling today—by the retail experience including the intimidating, Lycra-clad athletes who serve as sales staff in most independent bike stores ; by the bewildering complexity and excessive cost of the bikes, accessories, and specialized clothing; by the danger of cycling on roads not designed for bicycles; and by the demands of maintaining a sophisticated machine that might be ridden only on weekends.
They noted that everyone they talked to seemed to have a bike in the garage with a flat tire or a broken cable. A huge, untapped market began to take shape before their eyes. Coasting bikes, built more for pleasure than for sport, would have no controls on the handlebars, no cables snaking along the frame, no nest of precision gears to be cleaned, adjusted, repaired, and replaced.
As we remember from our earliest bikes, the brakes would be applied by backpedaling. Coasting bikes would feature comfortable padded seats, upright handlebars, and puncture-resistant tires and require almost no maintenance.
But this is not simply a retrobike: it incorporates sophisticated engineering with an automatic transmission that shifts the gears as the bicycle gains speed or slows. Designers might have ended the project with the bike itself, but as holistic design thinkers they pressed ahead. They created in-store retailing strategies for independent bike dealers, in part to mitigate the discomfort that novices felt in retail settings built to serve enthusiasts.
In collaboration with local governments and cycling organizations, it designed a public relations campaign including a Web site that identified safe places to ride. Many other people and organizations became involved in the project as it passed from inspiration through ideation and on into the implementation phase. An exercise in design had become an exercise in design thinking.
There are useful starting points and helpful landmarks along the way, but the continuum of innovation is best thought of as a system of overlapping spaces rather than a sequence of orderly steps. We can think of them as inspiration, the problem or opportunity that motivates the search for solutions; ideation, the process of generating, developing, and testing ideas; and implementation, the path that leads from the project room to the market.
Projects may loop back through these spaces more than once as the team refines its ideas and explores new directions. The reason for the iterative, nonlinear nature of the journey is not that design thinkers are disorganized or undisciplined but that design thinking is fundamentally an exploratory process; done right, it will invariably make unexpected discoveries along the way, and it would be foolish not to find out where they lead.
Often these discoveries can be integrated into the ongoing process without disruption. At other times the discovery will motivate the team to revisit some of its most basic assumptions. While testing a prototype, for instance, consumers may provide us with insights that point to a more interesting, more promising, and potentially more profitable market opening up in front of us.
Insights of this sort should inspire us to refine or rethink our assumptions rather than press onward in adherence to an original plan. To borrow the language of the computer industry, this approach should be seen not as a system reset but as a meaningful upgrade. The risk of such an iterative approach is that it appears to extend the time it takes to get an idea to market, but this is often a shortsighted perception. To the contrary, a team that understands what is happening will not feel bound to take the next logical step along an ultimately unproductive path.
We have seen many projects killed by management because it became clear that the ideas were not good enough. When a project is terminated after months or even years, it can be devastating in terms of both money and morale. But over the life of a project, it invariably comes to make sense and achieves results that differ markedly from the linear, milestone-based processes that define traditional business practices. In any case, predictability leads to boredom and boredom leads to the loss of talented people.
It also leads to results that rivals find easy to copy. It is better to take an experimental approach: share processes, encourage the collective ownership of ideas, and enable teams to learn from one another. A second way to think about the overlapping spaces of innovation is in terms of boundaries.
To an artist in pursuit of beauty or a scientist in search of truth, the bounds of a project may appear as unwelcome constraints. But the mark of a designer, as the legendary Charles Eames said often, is a willing embrace of constraints.
Without constraints design cannot happen, and the best design—a precision medical device or emergency shelter for disaster victims—is often carried out within quite severe constraints. It is actually much more difficult for an accomplished designer such as Michael Graves to create a collection of low-cost kitchen implements or Isaac Mizrahi a line of ready-to-wear clothing than it is to design a teakettle that will sell in a museum store for hundreds of dollars or a dress that will sell in a boutique for thousands.
The willing and even enthusiastic acceptance of competing constraints is the foundation of design thinking. The first stage of the design process is often about discovering which constraints are important and establishing a framework for evaluating them.
Constraints can best be visualized in terms of three overlapping criteria for successful ideas: feasibility what is functionally possible within the foreseeable future ; viability what is likely to become part of a sustainable business model ; and desirability what makes sense to people and for people. A competent designer will resolve each of these three constraints, but a design thinker will bring them into a harmonious balance. The popular Nintendo Wii is a good example of what happens when someone gets it right.
For many years a veritable arms race of more sophisticated graphics and more expensive consoles has been driving the gaming industry. Nintendo realized that it would be possible to break out of this vicious circle—and create a more immersive experience—by using the new technology of gestural control. This meant less focus on the resolution of the screen graphics, which in turn led to a less expensive console and better margins on the product.
The Wii strikes a perfect balance of desirability, feasibility, and viability. It has created a more engaging user experience and generated huge profits for Nintendo. This pursuit of peaceful coexistence does not imply that all constraints are created equal; a given project may be driven disproportionately by technology, budget, or a volatile mix of human factors. Different types of organizations may push one or another of them to the fore. Nor is it a simple linear process.
Design teams will cycle back through all three considerations throughout the life of a project, but the emphasis on fundamental human needs—as distinct from fleeting or artificially manipulated desires—is what drives design thinking to depart from the status quo.
Though this may sound self-evident, the reality is that most companies tend to approach new ideas quite differently. Quite reasonably, they are likely to start with the constraint of what will fit within the framework of the existing business model. Because business systems are designed for efficiency, new ideas will tend to be incremental, predictable, and all too easy for the competition to emulate. This explains the oppressive uniformity of so many products on the market today; have you walked through the housewares section of any department store lately, shopped for a printer, or almost gotten into the wrong car in a parking lot?
A second approach is the one commonly taken by engineering-driven companies looking for a technological breakthrough. In this scenario teams of researchers will discover a new way of doing something and only afterward will they think about how the technology might fit into an existing business system and create value.
As Peter Drucker showed in his classic study Innovation and Entrepreneurship, reliance on technology is hugely risky. Relatively few technical innovations bring an immediate economic benefit that will justify the investments of time and resources they require. Today, corporations instead attempt to narrow their innovation efforts to ideas that have more near-term business potential.
They may be making a big mistake. By focusing their attention on near-term viability, they may be trading innovation for increment. Finally, an organization may be driven by its estimation of basic human needs and desires.
Design thinkers, by contrast, are learning to navigate between and among them in creative ways. They do so because they have shifted their thinking from problem to project. The project is the vehicle that carries an idea from concept to reality. Unlike many other processes we are used to—from playing the piano to paying our bills—a design project is not open- ended and ongoing. It has a beginning, a middle, and an end, and it is precisely these restrictions that anchor it to the real world.
That design thinking is expressed within the context of a project forces us to articulate a clear goal at the outset. It creates natural deadlines that impose discipline and give us an opportunity to review progress, make midcourse corrections, and redirect future activity. The clarity, direction, and limits of a well-defined project are vital to sustaining a high level of creative energy.
Google teamed up with the bike company Specialized to create a design competition whose modest challenge was to use bicycle technology to change the world. The winning team—five committed designers and an extended family of enthusiastic supporters—was a late starter. In a few frenzied weeks of brainstorming and prototyping, the team was able to identify a pressing issue 1. The experience of the Aquaduct team is the reverse of that found in most academic or corporate labs, where the objective may be to extend the life of a research project indefinitely and where the end of a project may mean nothing more than the funding has dried up.
Almost like a scientific hypothesis, the brief is a set of mental constraints that gives the project team a framework from which to begin, benchmarks by which they can measure progress, and a set of objectives to be realized: price point, available technology, market segment, and so on.
The analogy goes even further. Just as a hypothesis is not the same as an algorithm, the project brief is not a set of instructions or an attempt to answer a question before it has been posed. Rather, a well-constructed brief will allow for serendipity, unpredictability, and the capricious whims of fate, for that is the creative realm from which breakthrough ideas emerge.
If you already know what you are after, there is usually not much point in looking. When I first started practicing as an industrial designer, the brief was handed to us in an envelope.
It usually took the form of a highly constrained set of parameters that left us with little more to do than wrap a more or less attractive shell around a product whose basic concept had already been decided elsewhere. One of my first assignments was to design a new personal fax machine for a Danish electronics manufacturer.
Even its desirability had largely been predetermined by precedent, as everybody supposedly knew what a fax machine was supposed to look like. There was not a lot of room for maneuver, and I was left to try to make the machine stand out against those of other designers who were trying to do the same thing. It is no wonder that as more companies mastered the game, the competition among them became ever more intense.
Nor have things changed much over the years. The proof of this can be found at any consumer electronics store, where, under the buzz of the fluorescent lights, thousands of products are arrayed on the shelves, clamoring for our attention and differentiated only by unnecessary if not unfathomable features.
Gratuitous efforts at styling and assertive graphics and packaging may catch our eye but do little to enhance the experience of ownership and use. A design brief that is too abstract risks leaving the project team wandering about in a fog. One that starts from too narrow a set of constraints, however, almost guarantees that the outcome will be incremental and, most likely, mediocre.
In the company embarked on an initiative to use design as a source of innovation and growth. His stated goal was not to produce incremental additions to existing products and brands but to inspire innovation that would generate significant growth. Without making the brief too concrete, he helped the team establish a realistic set of goals.
Without making it too broad, he left us space to interpret the concept for ourselves, to explore and to discover. The modifications to the original brief helped Ronn to specify the level of cost and complexity that was appropriate for his business.
Simultaneously, these continual refinements of the initial plan helped guide the project team toward the right balance of feasibility, viability, and desirability. Over the course of about twelve weeks, this well-crafted brief led to a staggering product concepts, more than 60 prototypes, and 3 ideas that advanced to development.
One of them—Mr. Clean Magic Reach, a multifunctional tool that met every one of the stated criteria—went into production eighteen months later. The message here is that design thinking needs to be practiced on both sides of the table: by the design team, obviously, but by the client as well. Even in the more traditional design fields of industrial and graphic design, not to say architecture, teams have been the norm for years.
An automobile company has dozens of designers working on each new model. A new building may involve hundreds of architects. As design begins to tackle a wider range of problems—and to move upstream in the innovation process—the lone designer, sitting alone in a studio and meditating upon the relation between form and function, has yielded to the interdisciplinary team.
Although we will never, I hope, lose respect for the designer as inspired form giver, it is common now to see designers working with psychologists and ethnographers, engineers and scientists, marketing and business experts, writers and filmmakers. All of these disciplines, and many more, have long contributed to the development of new products and services, but today we are bringing them together within the same team, in the same space, and using the same processes.
We ask people not simply to offer expert advice on materials, behaviors, or software but to be active in each of the spaces of innovation: inspiration, ideation, and implementation. Staffing a project with people from diverse backgrounds and a multiplicity of disciplines takes some patience, however.
It requires us to identify individuals who are confident enough of their expertise that they are willing to go beyond it. On the vertical axis, every member of the team needs to possess a depth of skill that allows him or her to make tangible contributions to the outcome.
This competence—whether in the computer lab, in the machine shop, or out in the field—is difficult to acquire but easy to spot. But that is not enough. They may play a valuable role, but they are destined to live in the downstream world of design execution.
A creative organization is constantly on the lookout for people with the capacity and—just as important—the disposition for collaboration across disciplines. In a multidisciplinary team each individual becomes an advocate for his or her own technical specialty and the project becomes a protracted negotiation among them, likely resulting in a gray compromise. In an interdisciplinary team there is collective ownership of ideas and everybody takes responsibility for them.
Design thinking, by contrast, seeks to liberate it. When a team of talented, optimistic, and collaborative design thinkers comes together, a chemical change occurs that can lead to unpredictable actions and reactions.
To reach this point, however, we have learned that we must channel this energy productively, and one way to achieve this is to do away with one large team in favor of many small ones. Though it is not uncommon to see large creative teams at work, it is nearly always in the implementation phase of the project; the inspiration phase, by contrast, requires a small, focused group whose job is to establish the overall framework.
By the time the project neared completion, his team had grown to thirty or forty. The same can be said of any major architectural project, software project, or entertainment project.
Look at the credits on your next movie rental, and check out the preproduction phase. There will invariably be a small team consisting of director, writer, producer, and production designer who have developed the basic concept.
As long as the objective is simple and limited, this approach works. Faced with more complex problems, we may be tempted to increase the size of the core team early on, but more often than not this leads to a dramatic reduction in speed and efficiency as communications within the team begin to take up more time than the creative process itself.
Are there alternatives? Is it possible to preserve the effectiveness of small teams while tackling more complex, system-level problems? It is increasingly clear that new technology—properly designed and wisely deployed—can help leverage the power of small teams. The promise of electronic collaboration should not be to create dispersed but ever-bigger teams; this tendency merely compounds the political and bureaucratic problems we are trying to solve. Rather, our goal should be to create interdependent networks of small teams as has been done by the online innovation exchange Innocentive.
The Internet, in other words, characterized by dispersed, decentralized, mutually reinforcing networks, is not so much the means as the model of the new forms of organization taking shape. Because it is open-sourced and open-ended, it allows the energy of many small teams to be brought to bear on the same problem.
Progressive companies are now grappling with a second, related problem. This challenge is difficult enough when a group is physically in the same place, but it becomes far more challenging when critical input is required from partners dispersed around the globe. Much effort has gone into the problem of remote collaboration. Videoconferencing, although invented in the s, became widespread once digital telephony networks became technically feasible in the s.
Only recently has it begun to show signs of taking hold as an effective medium of remote collaboration. E-mail has done little to support collective teamwork. The Internet helps move information around but has done little to bring people together. Creative teams need to be able to share their thoughts not only verbally but visually and physically as well. I am not at my best writing memos. Instead, put me in a room where somebody is sketching on a whiteboard, a couple of others are writing notes on Post-its or sticking Polaroid photos on the wall, and somebody is sitting on the floor putting together a quick prototype.
So far, efforts to innovate around the topic of remote groups have suffered from a lack of understanding about what motivates creative teams and supports group collaboration. Too much has been focused on mechanical tasks such as storing and sharing data or running a structured meeting and not enough on the far messier tasks of generating ideas and building a consensus around them.
Recently, however, there have been promising signs of change. No economic model could have predicted the success of MySpace and Facebook. Numerous smaller-scale tools are already available. This capability is important because good ideas rarely come on schedule and may wither and die in the interludes between weekly meetings.
Instant messaging, blogs, and wikis all allow teams to publish and share insights and ideas in new ways—with the advantage that an expensive IT support team is not necessary as long as someone on the team has a family member in junior high school. After all, none of these tools existed a decade ago the Internet itself, as the technovisionary Kevin Kelly has remarked, is fewer than five thousand days old! All are leading to new experiments in collaboration and hence to new insights into the interactions of teams.
Anyone who is serious about design thinking across an organization will encourage them. Pixar has beach huts. To be creative, a place does not have to be crazy, kooky, and located in northern California.
It does little good to identify the brightest T-shaped people around, assemble them in interdisciplinary teams, and network them to other teams if they are forced to work in an environment that dooms their efforts from the start.
The physical and psychological spaces of an organization work in tandem to define the effectiveness of the people within it. A culture that believes that it is better to ask forgiveness afterward rather than permission before, that rewards people for success but gives them permission to fail, has removed one of the main obstacles to the formation of new ideas.
Relaxing the rules is not about letting people be silly so much as letting them be whole people—a step many companies seem reluctant to take. Indeed, the fragmentation of individual employees is often just a reflection of the fragmentation of the organization itself. Although they may have a merry time off in their studios, this isolation quarantines them and undermines the creative efforts of the organization from opposite angles: the designers are cut off from other sources of knowledge and expertise, while everyone else is given the demoralizing message that theirs is the nine-to-five world of business attire and a sober business ethic.
Would the U. To address this she created Platypus, the code name for a twelve-week experiment in which participants from across the organization were invited to relocate to an alternative space with the objective of creating new and out-of-the-box product ideas. The only requirement was that they commit themselves full-time to Platypus for three months. By the end they were ready to pitch their ideas to management.
Ross regularly brought new teams together and put them into an environment designed to let people experiment in ways they had never been able to in their normal jobs. As she predicted, many Platypus graduates went back to their respective departments determined to use the practices and ideas they had learned.
They found, however, that the culture of efficiency to which they returned invariably made that difficult. More than a few became frustrated. Some ultimately left the company. Clearly, it is not enough to inject selected people into a specialized environment designed for skunks, platypi, or other risk-taking creatures.
The theory of Clay Street is that a division—Hair Care or Pet Care, for example—funds and staffs each project, and teams that create particularly strong ideas are encouraged to shepherd them through execution and launch. This was the hothouse environment in which the dated Herbal Essences brand was transformed into a fresh, successful new range of products.
The people who have experienced Clay Street return to their departments with new skills and new ideas that they can apply with the full permission of the company.
In a culture of meetings and milestones, it can be difficult to support the exploratory and iterative processes that are at the heart of the creative process. Happily, there are tangible things we can do to ensure that facilities do what they are supposed to do: facilitate!
In one room a group will be thinking about the future of the credit card; next to it a team is working on a device to prevent deep-vein thrombosis among hospital patients, and another planning a clean water distribution system for rural India for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
The project spaces are large enough that the accumulated research materials, photos, storyboards, concepts, and prototypes can be out and available all of the time. The simultaneous visibility of these project materials helps us identify patterns and encourages creative synthesis to occur much more readily than when these resources are hidden away in file folders, notebooks, or PowerPoint decks. A well-curated project space, augmented by a project Web site or wiki to help keep team members in touch when they are out in the field, can significantly improve the productivity of a team by supporting better collaboration among its members and better communication with outside partners and clients.
So integral are these project spaces to our creative process that we have exported them, whenever possible, to our clients. Steelcase has built its Learning Center in Grand Rapids, a corporate education facility that doubles as a design thinking space. These ideas have even made their way into the precincts of higher education. Because of the inherently tentative and experimental nature of design thinking, flexibility is a key element of its success.
As Dilbert has shown, regulation-size spaces tend to produce regulation-size ideas. There is an important lesson here about the challenges of shifting from a culture of hierarchy and efficiency to one of risk taking and exploration. They will show up early and stay late because of the enormous satisfaction they get from giving form to new ideas and putting them out into the world.
Once they have experienced this feeling, few people will be willing to give it up. My argument is that these skills now need to be dispersed throughout organizations. Design is now too important to be left to designers. It may be perplexing for those with hard-won design degrees to imagine a role for themselves beyond the studio, just as managers may find it strange to be asked to think like designers. But this should be seen as the inevitable result of a field that has come of age.
The problems that challenged designers in the twentieth century—crafting a new object, creating a new logo, putting a scary bit of technology into a pleasing or at least innocuous box—are simply not the problems that will define the twenty-first.
Just as I am challenging companies to incorporate design into their organizational DNA, however, I want to challenge designers to continue the transformation of design practice itself. There will always be a place in our dizzying world for the artist, the craftsman, and the lone inventor, but the seismic shifts taking place in every industry demand a new design practice: collaborative but in a way that amplifies, rather than subdues, the creative powers of individuals; focused but at the same time flexible and responsive to unexpected opportunities; focused not just on optimizing the social, the technical, and the business components of a product but on bringing them into a harmonious balance.
The next generation of designers will need to be as comfortable in the boardroom as they are in the studio or the shop, and they will need to begin looking at every problem—from adult illiteracy to global warming—as a design problem.
The Prius? MTV and eBay? We need to learn to put people first. The basic problem is that people are so ingenious at adapting to inconvenient situations that they are often not even aware that they are doing so: they sit on their seat belts, write their PINs on their hands, hang their jackets on doorknobs, and chain their bicycles to park benches.
The tools of conventional market research can be useful in pointing toward incremental improvements, but they will never lead to those rule-breaking, game-changing, paradigm-shifting breakthroughs that leave us scratching our heads and wondering why nobody ever thought of them before. It is helping people to articulate the latent needs they may not even know they have, and this is the challenge of design thinkers. How should we approach it?
What tools do we have that can lead us from modest incremental changes to the leaps of insight that will redraw the map? A better starting point is to go out into the world and observe the actual experiences of commuters, skateboarders, and registered nurses as they improvise their way through their daily lives. Rarely will the everyday people who are the consumers of our products, the customers for our services, the occupants of our buildings, or the users of our digital interfaces be able to tell us what to do.
Their actual behaviors, however, can provide us with invaluable clues about their range of unmet needs. Design is a fundamentally creative endeavor, but I do not mean this in an arcane or romantic sense. In an analytical paradigm, we simply solve for the missing number though anyone who struggled, as I did, through high school algebra knows how daunting this can be! In a design paradigm, however, the solution is not locked away somewhere waiting to be discovered but lies in the creative work of the team.
The creative process generates ideas and concepts that have not existed before. The insight phase that helps to launch a project is therefore every bit as critical as the engineering that comes later, and we must take it from wherever we can find it.
The evolution from design to design thinking is the story of the evolution from the creation of products to the analysis of the relationship between people and products, and from there to the relationship between people and people.
Indeed, a striking development of recent years has been the migration of designers toward social and behavioral problems, such as adhering to a drug regimen or shifting from junk food to healthy snacking. When the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention approached IDEO with the challenge of addressing the epidemic of obesity among children and teens, we seized the opportunity to apply these qualitative research practices to a problem where we might have real social impact.
It was inspiring to design thinkers, however, on different grounds. Because she flourished on the margins of the bell curve, she was in a position to help the design team frame the problem in a new and insightful way. To begin with the assumption that all fat people want to be thin, that weight is inversely proportional to happiness, or that large size implies lack of discipline is to prejudge the problem.
The single example of Jennifer Portnick gave the project team more insight into the problem of youth obesity than reams of statistics. Although grocery store shoppers, office workers, and schoolchildren are not the ones who will write us a check at the end of a project, they are our ultimate clients. The only way we can get to know them is to seek them out where they live, work, and play. Accordingly, almost every project we undertake involves an intensive period of observation.
We watch what people do and do not do and listen to what they say and do not say. This takes some practice. There is nothing simple about determining whom to observe, what research techniques to employ, how to draw useful inferences from the information gathered, or when to begin the process of synthesis that begins to point us toward a solution. As any anthropologist will attest, observation relies on quality, not quantity.
The decisions one makes can dramatically affect the results one gets. By concentrating solely on the bulge at the center of the bell curve, however, we are more likely to confirm what we already know than learn something new and surprising. A health care foundation was asking us to help restructure its organization; a century-old manufacturing company was asking us to help it better understand its clients; an elite university was asking us to think about alternative learning environments.
We were being pulled out of our comfort zone, but this was exciting because it opened up new possibilities for us to have more impact in the world. We started to talk about this expanded field as design with a small d in an attempt to move beyond the sculptural objet displayed in lifestyle magazines or on pedestals in museums of modern art. But this phrase never seemed fully satisfactory.
One day I was chatting with my friend David Kelley, a Stanford professor and the founder of IDEO, and he remarked that every time someone came to ask him about design, he found himself inserting the word thinking to explain what it was that designers do. The term design thinking stuck. I now use it as a way of describing a set of principles that can be applied by diverse people to a wide range of problems.
I have become a convert and an evangelist of design thinking. And I am not alone. Today, rather than enlist designers to make an already developed idea more attractive, the most progressive companies are challenging them to create ideas at the outset of the development process.
The former role is tactical; it builds on what exists and usually moves it one step further. The latter is strategic; it pulls design out of the studio and unleashes its disruptive, game-changing potential. As a thought process, design has begun to move upstream.
Moreover, the principles of design thinking turn out to be applicable to a wide range of organizations, not just to companies in search of new product offerings. The causes underlying the growing interest in design are clear. As the center of economic activity in the developing world shifts inexorably from industrial manufacturing to knowledge creation and service delivery, innovation has become nothing less than a survival strategy.
It is, moreover, no longer limited to the introduction of new physical products but includes new sorts of processes, services, interactions, entertainment forms, and ways of communicating and collaborating.
These are exactly the kinds of human-centered tasks that designers work on every day. Change by Design is divided into two parts. The first is a journey through some of the important stages of design thinking.
It is not intended as a how-to guide, for ultimately these are skills best acquired through doing. What I hope to do is to provide a framework that will help the reader identify the principles and practices that make for great design thinking.
As I suggest in chapter 6, design thinking flourishes in a rich culture of storytelling, and in that spirit I will explore many of these ideas by telling stories drawn from IDEO and other companies and organizations. The first part of the book focuses on design thinking as applied to business. Along the way we will see how it has been practiced by some of the most innovative companies in the world, how it has inspired breakthrough solutions, and where, on occasion, it has overreached any business book that claims an unbroken record of success belongs on the fiction shelf.
Part two is intended as a challenge for all of us to Think Big. By looking at three broad domains of human activity—business, markets, and society—I hope to show how design thinking can be extended in new ways to create ideas that are equal to the challenges we all face.
If you are managing a hotel, design thinking can help you to rethink the very nature of hospitality. If you are working with a philanthropic agency, design thinking can help you grasp the needs of the people you are trying to serve. If you are a venture capitalist, design thinking can help you peer into the future. Ben Loehnen, my excellent editor at Harper Business, advised me that a proper book needs a proper table of contents. I have done my best to oblige. The truth is, however, that I see things a bit differently.
Design thinking is all about exploring different possibilities, so I thought I would start by introducing the reader to another way of visualizing the contents of the book. There are times when linear thinking is called for, but at IDEO we often find it more helpful to visualize an idea using a technique with a long, rich history, the mind map. Linear thinking is about sequences; mind maps are about connections. This visual representation helps me see the relationships between the different topics I want to talk about, it gives me a more intuitive sense of the whole, and it helps me to think about how best to illustrate an idea.
Linear thinkers like Ben are welcome to use the table of contents; more venturesome readers may wish to consult the inside cover and view the whole of Change by Design in one place. It may prompt you to jump to a particular section of interest. It may help you retrace your steps. It may remind you of the relationships among different topics of design thinking and may even help you to think of topics that are not covered here but should be. Experienced design thinkers may find that the mind map is all you need to capture my point of view.
I hope that for everyone else the ten chapters that follow will provide a worthwhile insight into the world of design thinking and the potential it has for us to create meaningful change. If that proves to be the case, I hope you will let me know. In Shimano, a leading Japanese manufacturer of bicycle components, was experiencing flattening growth in its traditional high-end road racing and mountain bike segments in the United States.
The company had always relied on new technology to drive its growth. Designers once focused on product development and little else. They often considered design concepts in isolation. More recently, designers have begun applying design principles not just to physical products, but also to consumer experiences, to production and interaction processes, and to improvements that make existing products more appealing or functional. They use design thinking in all disciplines and markets.
Traveling into new territory means never being able to map your route fully beforehand. The Nintendo Wii is a good example of working successfully with these constraints.
Before the Wii, video game innovators focused mainly on making their components graphics, consoles, etc. Nintendo designers stepped back and asked how they could make video games more appealing to a wider market. This illustrates the difference between design and design thinking.
Briefs should focus but not limit your thinking. Analyze how your group interacts. Choose the makeup and methods that best promote individual design thinking, rather than groupthink. Assemble a team that fosters multiple perspectives, quick production and fluid communication.
Insight into how people actually use things is central to design thinking. Design thinking borrows ethnographic observational techniques from anthropology and reapplies them to generating practical solutions. This requires empathy, because feeling alongside others allows you to move past seeing them as subjects or consumers and really experience things as they do.
For example, when Kristian Simsarian of IDEO needed to identify problem areas in the hospital experience, he checked in as a patient and monitored the delays, frustrations and confusions of the process.
Design thinking observes how people interact as groups and cultures. Shift cyclically back and forth among these states, generating the new, analyzing it, sifting and selecting, and then examining it in practice — and, often, starting the whole process over again.