August 28th, 2012 | Filed under: Motiv | No Comments »
I recently read a column by Jason Gross called “The Designer Will Make It Pretty” that made me pause. An excerpt (boldface mine):
I hear a phrase quite often that many designers would compare to nails on a chalkboard. The people I work with who do not handle the design side of our platform will often tell clients, “The designer will make it look pretty.” [...] When content is raw, unformatted or confusing to the user, it gets sent to the design department so that it can come out the other end “pretty.”
… [Designers] consider what we do to be far more important than decorating sloppy content and returning it in a timely fashion. Many of us would argue that our real job is to make content accessible, flexible, easy to use and easy to work with. The real value in design comes from what you can’t see or what you don’t appreciate; it comes from all of the trouble that you don’t have because we fixed it ahead of time. Thank goodness we know better: if we just made things pretty, all of our work would be in vain.
This rang strikingly true. Keep reading »
September 12th, 2011 | Filed under: Motiv | No Comments »
Ever since the writing and editing team of Bruce Nussbaum and Helen Walters and their merry band of whip-smart innovation reporters broke camp from Businessweek’s Innovation channel, I have been a little lost when it comes to finding the center of gravity for innovation thought leadership.
As a contributor to many columns of Businessweek’s online channel, I felt like part of the family, and so followed their excellent reporting on the latest and greatest going on in product and service innovation, design and design thinking, and innovation management. It was that rare editorial team that could grasp the depths of these topics, adding so much to our understanding of the challenges, triumphs and failures of this intriguing part of the business world. Ask any designer who has been the most influential person in his or her profession in the last decade and I bet the answer nine out of ten times will be Bruce Nussbaum.
Bloomberg has continued its commitment to the topic, but I must say, I am wondering these days because Businessweek, as well as the alternatives, seems far less satisfying to me. Fast Company is trying but often falls short in its commentary on the implications for business and society in its innovation reporting, and its design channel feels pretty shallow most of the time. The Harvard Business Review, where many former Businessweek columnists have migrated and merged with many of the “who’s who” of academia, somehow feels stuffy and conceptual even though the editors are clearly trying to position its innovation content as hipper than in the past. Not that I don’t have huge respect for writers of HBR’s innovation content, but I also haven’t noticed many new faces either.
Enter a new kid on the block: Innovation Management.
August 17th, 2011 | Filed under: Motiv | No Comments »
When it comes to books and movies, I’m all about nonfiction and documentaries; living in DC, after all, I get more than my fair share of comedy and drama in real life. I recently came across two documentaries in my Netflix queue that I simply couldn’t pass up, and both were about design. I highly recommend both.
“Future by Design”, by Academy Award nominated filmmaker William Gazecki, profiles the life and work of a modern day Da Vinci, futurist Jacque Fresco. Equal parts artist, engineer, philosopher, educator, and inventor, Fresco is perhaps best known for his utopian ideals and futurist design. His theories of a resource-based economy and his political ideology champion the merits of science and its role in leading to automation and sustainability.
Watching the documentary, which alternates between Fresco as narrator and Fresco as interviewee, one can’t help but feel inspired by the forward thinking Renaissance man. Even though Fresco is nearly 90 years of age in the documentary (he is still going strong at 95), he springs from idea to idea with the enthusiasm of a kid in a (futuristic) candy shop. His ideas are more fantasy than not, but it is the process of design thinking, and the way Fresco approaches problems that make the film so compelling. Continue Reading»
May 23rd, 2011 | Filed under: Motiv | No Comments »
Last week’s Front End of Innovation Conference at the Boston Seaport Hotel was terrific. As usual, the keynote talks by folks like Don Tapscott who wrote Wikinomics and Growing Up Digital, and Jonah Lehrer, author of How We Decide, were a highlight as were many of the other presentations and networking opportunities. I met many old friends, who, like me, have been coming to that conference since its inception, and met some new folks and learned about some exciting new companies, too.
Overall I left with the impression that innovation was back on the corporate agenda after a long hiatus during the recent recession. There were many more service companies there than in previous years, which was great to see. I also got the impression from hearing people introduce themselves during Q &A that there were many companies represented that seemed to be starting out on their innovation journey. Could it be that that innovation is starting to be thought about as a core competency finally?
The topic of design got more play than I can ever remember. Companies that sent design managers included Melody Roberts from McDonalds, Vince Voron from Coca-Cola, Alec Bernstein from BMW DesignWorks, and Kaaren Hanson from Intuit. Hearing these conversations, it seems that design management is not only being taken more seriously but is also much higher on the corporate agenda than ever before. Nice to see.