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Change By Design: How Design Thinking Transforms Organizations and Inspires Innovation [Hardcover]

Tim Brown
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Sept. 21 2009

The myth of innovation is that brilliant ideas leap fully formed from the minds of geniuses. The reality is that most innovations come from a process of rigorous examination through which great ideas are identified and developed before being realized as new offerings and capabilities.

This book introduces the idea of design thinking‚ the collaborative process by which the designer′s sensibilities and methods are employed to match people′s needs not only with what is technically feasible and a viable business strategy. In short‚ design thinking converts need into demand. It′s a human−centered approach to problem solving that helps people and organizations become more innovative and more creative.

Design thinking is not just applicable to so−called creative industries or people who work in the design field. It′s a methodology that has been used by organizations such as Kaiser Permanente to icnrease the quality of patient care by re−examining the ways that their nurses manage shift change‚ or Kraft to rethink supply chain management. This is not a book by designers for designers; this is a book for creative leaders seeking to infuse design thinking into every level of an organization‚ product‚ or service to drive new alternatives for business and society.


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Review

“Brown writes with a winning combination of thoughtfulness, pragmatism and enthusiasm... He avoids the trap of presenting design thinking as a panacea. Mr. Brown charts its failures as well as successes…” (New York Times)

“It’s like getting golf tips from Tiger Wood’s coach. Tim Brown’s firm IDEO has won more medals for innovative design than anyone in the world. If you want to be more innovative at work or in life, study with the coach of champions.” (Chip Heath, co-author of Made to Stick)

“In his new book, the CEO of design shop IDEO shows how even hospitals can transform the way they work by tapping frontline staff to engineer change.” (BusinessWeek)

“This should be mandatory reading for marketers and engineers who can’t understand why a product as cool as the Segway wasn’t a breakout hit.” (Inc.)

“Tim Brown has written the definitive book on design thinking. Brown’s wit, experience, and compelling stories create a delightful journey. His masterpiece captures the emotions, mindset, and methods required for designing everything from a product, to an experience, to a strategy in entirely different ways.” (Robert I. Sutton, author of The No Asshole Rule)

“With people like Brown codifying design thinking, the tools are out there to solve our problems if a few people are willing to attack them with that sort of tenacity.” (Core77)

“Tim Brown’s vision, intellect, empathy and humility shine through every page of this book. Change by Design is for dreamers and doers, for corporate executives and NGO leaders, for teachers, students and those interested in the art of innovation.” (Jacqueline Novogratz, founder, Acumen Fund and author, The Blue Sweater)

“Design thinking... is a way of seeing the world and approaching constraints that is holistic, interdisciplinary, and inspiring.” (Ivy Ross, executive vice president of marketing, The Gap)

“Brown is clear, persuasive, and often funny... Even for those of us without our own sovereign nation or blue-chip corporation, design thinking offers a guide for rethinking and organizing our everyday creative processes.” (SEED)

“Brown makes a potent case for employing this creative collaboration in a variety of settings.” (Miami Herald)

“With clarity and crispness, Tim Brown, CEO of the honored, global design consultancy IDEO, demonstrates through noteworthy examples how the principles of design found in a studio can be applied to many of the most urgent challenges facing society, business and government today.” (Peter F. Eder, World Future Review)

“In his highly readable and compelling new book, Change by Design, Tim argues that “design thinking” needs to permeate every organization—and shape all of its interactions with its constituents.” (Gary Hamel, writer of Management 2.0)

About the Author

Tim Brown is the CEO and president of IDEO. Ranked independently among the ten most innovative companies in the world, IDEO is the global consultancy that contributed to such standard-setting innovations as the first mouse for Apple and the Palm V.

Today IDEO applies its human-centered approach to drive innovation and growth for the world's leading businesses, as well as for government, education, health care, and social sectors. Tim advises senior executives and boards of Fortune 100 companies and has led strategic client relationships with such corporations as Microsoft, PepsiCo, Procter & Gamble, and Steelcase.



Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars The Myth of Innovation March 11 2014
Format:Hardcover
The myth of innovation is that brilliant ideas leap fully formed from the minds of geniuses. The reality is that most innovations come from a process of rigorous examination through which great ideas are identified and developed before being realized as new offerings and capabilities.

Design thinking converts need into demand. It′s a human−centered approach to problem solving that helps people and organizations become more innovative and more creative.

Design thinking is not just applicable to so−called creative industries or people who work in the design field. It′s a methodology that has been used by numerous organizations. This is not a book by designers for designers; this is a book for creative leaders seeking to infuse design thinking into every level of an organization‚ product‚ or service to drive new alternatives for business and society.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
By Robert Morris HALL OF FAME TOP 10 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover
I recently read two books (this one written with Barry Katz and Roger Martin's The Design of Business) and am reading a third (Neil Sheehan's A Fiery Peace in a Cold War) in which major organizational transformations are accomplished by those who understand the power of design thinking, help their colleagues to do so, and then together, take an approach, Tim Brown suggests, "that is powerful, effective, and broadly accessible, that can be integrated into all aspects of business and society, and that individuals and teams can use to generate breakthrough ideas that are implemented and that therefore have high impact. Design thinking, the subject of this book, offers just such an approach." He goes on to acknowledge, "I was trained as an industrial designer, but it took me a long time to realize the difference between [begin italics] being [end italics] and [begin italics] thinking like [end italics] a designer. That strikes me as a critically important distinction. Brown views the power of design "not as a link in a chain but as the hub of a wheel"...not as a stage in a process but as a center of gravity, as a gravitational/centrifugal force, with involvement at all levels and in all areas of operation. "Design is now too important to be left to designers."

Brown carefully organizes his material with two Parts. First, he introduces a set of principles for design thinking that be applied by almost anyone in any organization, whatever its size and nature may be. He involves his reader in a journey through the important stages of thinking. He provides a framework that he hopes will help the reader identify the principles and practices that make for great design thinking.
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Amazon.com: 3.9 out of 5 stars  99 reviews
127 of 137 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars High level Oct. 7 2009
By M. Hyman - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product
Tim Brown has had an amazing career working at the premier design firm in the country, IDEO. This book in part recounts stories of various clients they have worked for, and in part lays out a vision for how design can be more human centric. He discusses using these approaches for everything ranging from industrial design to social engineering.

Although the stories about the various clients are interesting, I found the book to be so high level that it was hard to take away practical steps. I would have found the book more valuable if instead of keeping the discussion at the very highest level (brainstorming is good, need to control the chaos, design goes through phases, etc) it would take some of the principles discussed and look at specifics -- here is a specific client interaction where we did x, y, z. Here is why we did it. Here is what happened. Here is a specific failure case. Here is what we learned.

Without it, although the book covers a lot of interesting case studies, it doesn't do so in a way in which I felt that I have knowledge of things to do differently in my day to day creative activities within my company, or ways in which I could interact with clients better.
57 of 68 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars How to use design thinking to convert a need into a demand Oct. 10 2009
By Robert Morris - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
I recently read two books (this one written with Barry Katz and Roger Martin's The Design of Business) and am reading a third (Neil Sheehan's A Fiery Peace in a Cold War) in which major organizational transformations are accomplished by those who understand the power of design thinking, help their colleagues to do so, and then together, take an approach, Tim Brown suggests, "that is powerful, effective, and broadly accessible, that can be integrated into all aspects of business and society, and that individuals and teams can use to generate breakthrough ideas that are implemented and that therefore have high impact. Design thinking, the subject of this book, offers just such an approach." He goes on to acknowledge, "I was trained as an industrial designer, but it took me a long time to realize the difference between [begin italics] being [end italics] and [begin italics] thinking like [end italics] a designer. That strikes me as a critically important distinction. Brown views the power of design "not as a link in a chain but as the hub of a wheel"...not as a stage in a process but as a center of gravity, as a gravitational/centrifugal force, with involvement at all levels and in all areas of operation. "Design is now too important to be left to designers."

Brown carefully organizes his material with two Parts. First, he introduces a set of principles for design thinking that be applied by almost anyone in any organization, whatever its size and nature may be. He involves his reader in a journey through the important stages of thinking. He provides a framework that he hopes will help the reader identify the principles and practices that make for great design thinking. He focuses on design thinking as applied to business and examines a number of the most innovative companies in the world, such as his own firm, IDEO, as well as Bank of America, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Google, Intel, Kaiser Permanente, Mattel, Mayo Clinic, Pixar, Procter & Gamble, and Shimano. Each of these companies has established a culture within which there is a constant generation of ideas. After rigorous evaluation according to criteria that are most appropriate for the given context, and frame-of-reference, the focus of most promising ideas shifts from problem to project. This requires articulation of a clear goal at the outset. Design thinking "creates natural deadlines that impose discipline and [provide] 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."

Where to begin a project? Brown recommends first formulating the brief that can allow for serendipity, unpredictability, and "the capricious whims of fate," then assembling the project team, selecting those who have multidisciplinary capabilities, are not risk averse, are what Roger Martin characterizes as "integrative thinkers," welcome collaboration, and thrive on challenges. The importance of design thinking to this process cannot be exaggerated. It starts with divergence, expanding the range of options rather than limit them; it balances the perspectives of users and is what I could call "beneficiary-centric"; helps to accelerate time to first prototype (a subject to which Brown devotes a great deal of attention, notably on Pages 87-108); "shares the inspiration" within internal knowledge networks; accommodates the reality that there are no silver bullets for innovation, only "silver buckshot"; allocate resources to accommodate fast-paced, unruly, and disruptive innovation initiatives; and enables creative innovators "to bridge the chasm between thinking and doing because they [are] passionately committed to the [common] goal of a better life and a better world around them."

Here in Dallas, we have a Farmer's Market near the downtown area at which several vendors offer slices of fresh fruit so that people can sample for taste. In that spirit, here are two brief excerpts from Brown's lively and eloquent narrative:

On an approach to innovation that consists of a "judicious blend" of bottom-up experimentation and guidance from above: "The rules for this approach are as simple to state as they are challenging to apply:

1. The best ideas emerge when the whole organizational ecosystem - not just its designers and engineers and certainly not just management has room to experiment.

[Note: In 1924, William L. McKnight, then CEO of 3M observed, "If you put fences around people, you get sheep. Give people the room they need." That is especially true of those who participate in brainstorming sessions. ]

2. Those most exposed to changing externalities (new technology, shifting customer base, strategic threats or opportunities) are the ones best placed to respond and most motivated to do so.

3. Ideas should not be favored based on who creates them. (Repeat aloud.)

4. Ideas that create a buzz should be favored. Indeed, ideas should gain a vocal following, however small, before being given organizational support.

5. The `gardening' skills of senior leadership should be used to tend, prune, and harvest ideas. MBAs call this `risk tolerance.' I call it the top-down bit.

6. An overarching purpose should be articulated so that the organization has a sense of direction and innovators don't feel the need for constant supervision."

On brainstorming: "Brainstorming, ironically, is a structured way of breaking out of structure. It takes practice...[All organizations have their own rules] that lay out the playing field within which a team of players can perform at high levels...At IDEO we have dedicated rooms for our brainstorming sessions and the rules are literally written on the walls: Defer judgment. Encourage wild ideas. Stay focused on the topic. The most important of them, I would argue, is `Build on the ideas of others.' It's right up there with `Thou shalt not kill' and `Honor thy father and thy mother,' as it ensures that every participant is invested in the last idea put forward and has the chance to move it along."

Recall a previous reference to the "journey" on which Brown invites his reader to embark. "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." As Brown makes crystal clear, the reason for the iterative, non-linear nature of the journey "is not that design thinkers are disorganized or undisciplined but that design thinking is fundamentally an exploratory process; it will invariably make unexpected discoveries along the way, and it would be foolish not to find out where they lead."

Bon voyage!
29 of 34 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Does this sales presentation come with a toaster? Dec 14 2010
By Joseph T. Kutchera - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
A book by the CEO of IDEO about design thinking comes with high expectations. Unfortunately, this book falls seriously short mostly because it blatantly promotes his company instead of discussing real problems, stories and solutions. All roads lead to IDEO. Done. But, is business innovation really so simple?

Tim Brown is not alone. Many CEO's write books to overtly promote their works, clients, and methodologies. I'd imagine that is why Peter Drucker, the management guru from Harvard University, gave a funny answer to a question asked by a journalist at FORTUNE Magaine - "What business books do you read?" Drucker - "I don't read business books. I read Shakespeare."

If you want to read an excellent book about innovation, I found "The Victorian Internet," well-written and researched. It discusses the advent of the telegraph and how its leaders came up with solutions to the myriad problems from the new technology. It provides a surprising parallel to the dot com boom of 1998-2001. By analyzing history, we are better equipped to look around corners and prepare for the future.
26 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Invitation And Tutorial On Design Thinking And Action Sept. 17 2009
By Ira Laefsky - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product
Several books and many articles have been written about the business practices and design accomplishments of the iconic Industrial Design firm IDEO. But, this most recent text instructs and invites the reader to participate in Design Thinking and Problem Solving. Beginning with a mind map to supplement the table of contents Tim Brown escorts the reader in a multi-threaded adventure in the sometimes systematic, sometimes serendipitous world of design based problem solving; including methods for brainstorming, visualization and prototyping in a variety of environments. He demonstrates and invites the reader to share the methods of thinking and acting which have resulted in true innovation not only in product form and function, but in new experiences in hospitals, amusement parks and in life-saving design and engineering efforts for the Third World. Other books illustrate the design process and share the beautiful results achieved by Product Design and Development professionals, but aside from this book and Henry Dreyfuss' "Designing for People" which is so influential it was reprinted after half a century no other text shows the reader how to think and act as designer; a skill so necessary in solving the complex problems of modern life.

I highly recommend this short text, not only to the artist, or engineer but to all concerned citizens who hope to make a contribution in solving the problems of their own life and those of a global society.

--Ira Laefsky
Information Technology and HCI Consultant
37 of 45 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Too many vignettes; not a user-friendly book Feb. 1 2010
By Richard C. Yeh - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product
The problem with good design is that as a finished product, it tends to efface the process that led to it. Master painters and sculptors often made dozens of studies before creating the celebrated works we see in museums --- and we need to follow a similar process before we can expect to produce anything good or beautiful.

I dislike this book. The title promises so much, and then the author tries to stuff in as many vignettes as possible, giving short shrift to each, as well as to the overall message. Since every story employing [the author's firm] IDEO or a "design team" was a smashing success, the argument goes, the author's processes must be the right way to stimulate design thinking. What about the flip side of the story? Why isn't there an analysis of design failures?

Fortunately, the author summarizes the main process points in the final 15 pages of the book in CEO-talk: "begin at the beginning", "take a human-centered approach", "fail early, fail often", "get professional help", "share the inspiration", "blend big and small projects", "budget to the pace of innovation", "find talent any way you can", "design for the cycle", "don't ask what? ask why?", "open your eyes", "make it visual", "build on the ideas of others", "demand options", "balance your portfolio", "design a life".

While reading this book, I found that "design team" could often be replaced by "consultant". The author does not describe what separates mediocre design from great design; nor how to identify a good design team.

The author describes his "butterfly test", where people vote for ideas by affixing post-it notes next to items posted on the wall. This is essentially a public ballot --- a cute idea, which will only work in organizations where people won't be swayed by how others have voted; otherwise, wisdom-of-crowds benefits won't accrue.
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