Bruce Nussbaum posted his 10 best books on innovation to get you through the recession. As a student who is on the supply side of the design/innovation job market, the prospect of a recession is quite troubling. But at least when I start collecting my unemployment checks, I'll have some good books to read. Here they are:
1- The Opposable Mind: How Successful Leaders Win Through Integrative Thinking by Roger L. Martin.
2- Prophet of Innovation: Joseph Schumpeter and Creative Destruction by Thomas K. McCraw.
3- Meatball Sundae: Is Your Marketing Out of Sync? Seth Godin.
4- The Design of Future Things by Don Norman.
5-Innovation Nation by John Kao.
6- Wikinomics: How Mass Collaboration Changes Everything by Don Tapscott.
7-The Future of Management by Gary Hammel.
8- Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die, by Chip Heath and Dan Heath.
9- The Laws of Simplicity by John Maeda.
10- Everyday Engineering: What Engineers See, by Andrew Burroughs.
I'm moving to Chicago this week. Rather than carting my belongings across the country in a U-Haul, I decided to use the Door-to-Door moving service. Yesterday, my wife and I received two small shipping containers into which we crammed all of our possessions. In two weeks, they are to arrive at our new apartment in Evanston.
There's something terrifying, and at the same time exhilarating, about temporarily parting with our belongings. There's the comfort of the highly-secured containers, contrasted against the mystery and uncertainty of whether all will be lost. I've been struggling to identify what the design lesson is here, but I'm sure there is one.
"From regional color preference to getting in and out to hand signals to
family time spent in the car to places to put "stuff" to where couples
like to sit, the report covers the relationship owners have with their
vehicles in hopes that the research will provide a base to achieve as
high a caliber of design and engineering for the user's experience as
is already implemented for physical performance."
There's a great section of Ducati.com dedicated to the company's heritage. The site chronicles the history of Ducati products for each decade from the 1920's through the 2000's, and includes a fabulous photo series:
1920s: Ducati was founded in 1928 and initially produced tubes, condensers, and other radio components.
1930s: The company's radio business continued to grow in the 1930s, and would become an important supplier to the Italian military during WWII. Later, the company's factory (pictured here) would be a target for Allied bombing runs. 1940s: As WWII came to a close, Ducati began manufacturing motors and motor parts. It famously introduced the Cucciolo, a motor that could be attached to a bicycle, in 1946. By 1950, Ducati had sold 200,000 Cucciolos.
1950s: In 1952, Ducati released its first complete motorcycle, a small 60cc scooter called the Cruiser. This bike weighed only 98lbs. A few years later, Ducati created the first 100cc racing motorbike, the Marianna (pictured below).
1960s: The 1960s marked the rise of single cylinder racing motorbikes, including this racing bike, an evolution of the first Mach 1 production bike.
1970s: During the 1970s, Ducati developed the 90V Twin, two valve engine. The engine was showcased on popular hypersport production bikes like this 750 GT.
1980s: In 1983, Ducati was purchased by the Cagiva Group and the new management was determined to take Ducati to the top of the new Superbike era. During this period, the company manufactured the now ubiquitous Quattrovalvole water-cooled four-valve engine.
1990s: In 1993 Ducati launched the Monster, a "naked" bike that was stripped of all inessentials and quickly became a design icon. Monster designer Miguel Galluzzi said of the philosophy behind his
creation: “All you need is a saddle, tank, engine, two wheels, and
2000s: The SportClassic family represents the union of between the fascinating style of the 1970s and Ducati's advanced technology of today.
IDEO created three mini videos demonstrating Intel's vision for the future of its mobile technology platform. Videos are such an effective medium for communicating abstract or complex ideas in a way that sticks with the audience. Check it out...
There are a lot of authentic wineries out there, but Green Truck Cellars is something special. Kent Fortner, the winery's one-man-show, produces only 500 cases per year of a single varietal: Pinot Noir.
Kent is an incredible storyteller, and he chronicles his wine-making adventures on his pinot log. The great thing about Green Truck is the cohesiveness of the whole experience -- Kent's stories are reflected perfectly in the website, the buying experience (the mailing list is truly delightful), the packaging of the product, and the character of the wine itself. When you drink Green Truck, you feel as though you're becoming a part of Kent's story. That's authenticity.
You won't see many designers pouring over spreadsheets or running statistical regressions. And for good reason: data analysis is a classic left-brain exercise, and when our left brains are active, our creative right brains are not.
In their book Made to Stick, Chip and Dan Heath argue very articulately about the perils of looking at the world through an analytical lens:
"The mere act of calculation reduced people's charity. Once we put on our analytical hat, we react to emotional appeals differently. We hinder our ability to feel...How can we make people care about our ideas? We get them to take off their Analytical Hats. We create empathy for specific individuals. We show how our ideas are associated with things that people already care about."
I have a tumultuous relationship with data. On one hand I agree with the Heath argument. In order to foster real creativity and innovation, we must break free from the restrictions of backward-looking abstractions and focus on the needs of the individual today and in the future. On the other hand, isn't there intrinsic value in recording and analyzing the collective behaviors, preferences, and experiences of the many?
As I continue to grapple with this question, I love finding solutions like the Gapminder that seek to bridge the divide. Gapminder, designed by a brilliant man named Hans Rosling, layers remarkably elegant software on top of UN statistical and demographic databases. The result is a more beautiful, emotional, and engaging presentation of data that inspires creativity rather than hindering it.
The newest TEDtalks video is a powerful one. John Doerr from Kleiner Perkins passionately describes how reversing the climate crisis is the most important endeavor of our time, and how companies can profitably "go green" through design. Enjoy!
It seems like most of the interesting design commentary is migrating to the blogosphere. But there's still something romantic about thumbing through the glossy pages of a magazine, or picking up a Sunday morning NYT.