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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Book Review: Learning at Work

A few months ago I ran across the IDEO Fellows website and saw a lot of really interesting authors listed and realized I’d heard of everyone on the page except for one: Daniel Wilson.  Included with Wilson are such notables as Chip Heath, Bob Sutton and Barry Katz so I found it intriguing that I hadn’t heard of Wilson before.

The IDEO website lists Wilson as Research Director at Harvard Project Zero and co-author of a book titled ‘Learning at Work‘.  Dr. Wilson’s background intrigued me so I took a deeper look at the book.   As far as I can tell, this book is only available from Harvard’s Project Zero bookstore…a quick review on Amazon shows a few books with the same title but they don’t appear to be the same book.

I ordered the book and waited patiently for its arrvial…then waited patiently to find time to read it.  I finally found that time and I’m glad I did.

The main purpose of the book is to describe the fundamental need to turn knowledge into something that is actionable and useful to an organization. The official description of this book is:

For four years researchers at Project Zero worked closely with the leaders and over fifty office managers of a university as they sought to cultivate a culture of learning and understanding throughout their organization. This book shares the story of this project along with the key lessons and practical strategies that helped to enhance understanding, deepen inquiry, strengthen leadership, and improve communication. Organizational leaders, group facilitators or those interested in applying Project Zero concepts in the workplace will find this book of interest.

The book is a wonderful treatise on learning within organizations and provides a great deal of information on how an organization can build a culture of learning.

Great book and one that I’d highly recommend.

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