Over the holidays I had a chance to read Change By Design by IDEO CEO, Tim Brown. If you are at all interested in design, creativity and how these things can influence business, you should read it. Pick up a copy here. Some highlights include the importance of prototyping, the role of a blueprint and finding "T-Shaped" people. These things can apply to every business.
But more about those later...
For today, the thing that stuck out most to me is the importance of Empathy. Or, in other words, truly understanding the business challenge from the mindset of users.
If you work in marketing, ask yourself: How often are you in the field? How often are you out watching customer behavior? My guess is, not often enough. Especially these days...
It's tempting to think that we are connected because we are reading consumer tweets and blogs. But that's only half of it... The small irony is that the more we stop and read the less we physically observe. And if there's one thing that comes screaming out of the case studies in Change By Design it's the sheer amount of time that was spent in the field by IDEO design teams understanding, talking with and observing the needs of people in the user environment prior to concepting.
So in 2010 it's important not to be solely focused on the screen in front of us... be it a computer a mobile phone or a Kindle. Look up, watch, listen and take the time to link things together.
Change By Design is about "Design Thinking." And while the definition of Design Thinking is pretty much the entire book it was summed up nicely at one point as "translating observations into insights and insights into products and services that will improve lives."