Book Review: Change by Design by Tim Brown

Change by Design by Tim BrownI was lucky enough to get a pre-release copy of Change by Design: How Design Thinking Transforms Organizations and Inspires Innovation by IDEO CEO Tim Brown through the Amazon Vine program….and I’m glad I did.

If you take a look at some of the Pre-release copy reviews of this book on Amazon you’ll see a few folks bashing the book because it doesn’t tell the reader much Design or Design Thinking and spends much of its time promoting IDEO.

I disagree wholeheartedly with those comments.

While this book does promote IDEO’s rich history and successes, the book does a great deal to introduce the concept of Design Thinking to the reader. If you’re a long-time practitioner of design thinking, this book may not be for you…if you aren’t, this book is perfect.

What is Design Thinking?

Comparing Design to Design Thinking, Brown provides the following definition:

The evolution from Design to Design Thinking is the story of eveolution 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.

Great stuff.  I love Design Thinking…I think I’ve been a design thinker my whole life.

Another passage that helps to describe/define Design Thinking is:

The mission of design thinking is to translate observations into insights and insights into products and services that will improve lives.

Design thinking is the interplay of people and product/process.   When you use a design thinking approach you take the entire environment into consideration when designing a process or product.  Rather than take a look at a few possibilities for a design of a bike (in the case of the Shimano bike story in the book) and build a bike, the design thinker looks at the broader picture and environment to few new choices and possibilities.

If you have an interest in Design Thinking or just want to know more about the topic, get this book now.  If you’re an academic who wants to see case studies of design thinking in action that show success and failure, perhaps this isn’t the book for you.

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Eric D. Brown
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Eric D. Brown

Manish – thanks for the comment. Great stuff.

Driving the hype away from Web 2.0 is what is needed these days. Thanks for the links to the articles.

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Eric D. Brown
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Eric D. Brown

Thanks…great article.

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Paula Thornton
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Ditto. I was just commenting back to someone who mentioned that the book was 'light' on practical application of Design Thinking, that the book was entirely made up of applied examples of Design Thinking — that's the ENTIRE book (reminds me of the woman who similarly commented that Richard Saul Wurman's “Information Anxiety” didn't say much about how to apply it and the book itself in it's form was an example of the principles).

ericbrown
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Hey Paula – Thanks for stopping by. True…many of the complaints of this book (and many others) is that there are no formal methods of application. My response to those complaints are: Would you rather have a recipe for doing or understand why you are doing? If you understand “why” you can build your own recipe.

imihaiu
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imihaiu

Exactly, personal discovery is the best way to learn. This is the kind of idea that some organizations are beginning to convey in their projects, even it support companies or other services, and you can apply this basically to every aspect of your life.

Spencer Sheperd
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Spencer Sheperd

I first read this when it first came out and loved it at the time. When it came to re-reading it I discovered that I really couldn’t remember a great deal of detail except the oxycontin addiction and the feeling that the book gives you. It left me with the image of shadowy halls and dark, dirty streets.

Eric D. Brown
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Eric D. Brown

Stacy – Thanks!

skyreth
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thanks for sharing! i agree with you too 🙂

ericbrown
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Thanks!

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