Change by Design by Tim Brown


  • "I realized that behind the soaring rhetoric of 'genius' and 'visionary' was a basic commitment to the principles of design thinking." (6)
    Chapter 1 - Getting Under Your Skin or how design thinking is about more than style
  • "Linear thinking is about sequences; mind maps are about connections." (9)
  • "spaces" of design thinking are iterative and nonlinear (16)
    • inspiration - the problem or opportunity that motivates the search for solutions
    • ideation - the process of generating, developing, and testing ideas
    • implementation - the path that leads from the project room to the market
  • "Fail early to succeed sooner." (17)
  • "The mark of a designer is a willing embrace of constraints." (17) --> necessary to get started
    • constraints are viewed in terms of feasibility (functionally possible), viability (sustainable business model), and desirability
  • The Project: Design thinkers need to think in terms of projects instead of problems: a project carries an idea from concept to reality (21)
  • The Brief: mental constraints to give you somewhere to start (22)
  • Smart Teams: "all of us are smarter than any of us" (26), organized in many small teams
    Chapter 2 - Converting need into demand or putting people first
  • Human-centered design has three elements:
    • Insight - learning from the lives of others
    • Observation - watching what people don't do and listening to what they don't say
    • Empathy - standing in the shoes of others
  • These principles must extend beyond the individual to the network, market, or "wisdom crowds"
    Chapter 3 - A mental matrix or "these people have no process!"
  • Types of thinking:
    • Convergent thinking - useful for deciding between existing alternatives (but not good at creating the future)
    • Divergent thinking - objective is to multiply options to create choices
    • Analysis -
    • Synthesis - organizing and interpreting data to create a coherent story; extracting meaningful patterns from raw data
  • Rules for an attitude of experimentation
    • Best ideas emerge when the whole organization can experiment
    • Those most exposed to changing externalities are the best placed to respond
    • Ideas should not be favored based on who creates them
    • Ideas that create a buzz should be favored
    • Senior leadership should tend, prune, and harvest ideas --> "risk tolerance"
    • An overarching sense of direction should be articulated so there is a sense of direction and not a constant need for supervision
  • Culture of optimism - the unshakable belief that things could be better than they are
  • Brainstorming - a structured way of breaking out of structure
    • Defer judgment
    • Encourage wild ideas
    • Stay focused on the topic
    • Build on the ideas of others

      Chapter 4 - Building to think or the power of prototyping
  • prototyping is faster because it helps you to think
    Chapter 5 - Returning to the surface or the design of experiences
  • a good idea is no longer enough - in developed societies we care about the experience of products
  • our society is moving away from passive consumption to active participation
    Chapter 6 - Spreading the message or the importance of storytelling
  • we rely on storytelling to put our ideas in context and give them meaning
    Chapter 7 - Design thinking meets the corporation or teaching to fish
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    Chapter 8 - The new social contract, or we're all in this together
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    Chapter 9 - Design activism, or inspiring solutions with global potential
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    Chapter 10 - Designing tomorrow, today
  • Design thinking requires bridging the knowing-doing gap (Pfeffer and Sutton) (227)
  • most people have what it takes to apply design thinking to the problems of life
  • Begin at the Beginning
    • design thinking starts with divergence (expand the range of options)
  • Take a human-centered approach
    • design thinking is by its nature integrative, but privileges the intended user
    • account for emotional meaning as well as functional performance
    • common approaches
      • Start with prevailing business constraints --> leads to incremental, easily-copied ideas
      • Start with technology --> risky
      • Start with humans --> increases the likelihood of a breakthrough and a market for it
    • Get as close as you can to your intended customers
  • Fail early, Fail often
    • there is nothing wrong with failure as long as it happens early and is a source of learning
    • prototyping
  • Get professional help
    • to to the experts
  • Share the inspiration
    • knowledge sharing should support inspiration instead of efficiency
    • face to face time is invaluable
  • Blend big and small projects
    • there is no silver bullet, only silver buckshot
  • Budget to the pace of innovation
    • rethink funding schedules, agile resource allocation
  • Find talent any way you can
    • find the people in your organization who are different and can make innovation happen
  • Design for the cycle
    • make sure your person career life cycles are not shorter than the product cycle: want the same people and passion
  • Don't ask what, ask why?
    • ask why to reframe a problem, redefine the constraints, and open the field to a more innovative answer
    • is this the right problem to be solving?
  • Open your eyes
    • good design thinkers observe, great design thinkers observe the ordinary: once a day, stop and think about an ordinary situation
  • Make it visual
    • record your observations and ideas visually
    • "Every designer I know carries a sketch pad the way a doctor carries a stethoscope." (238)
    • "Don't think. Look." -Ludwig Wittgenstein (238)
  • Build on the ideas of others
    • all of us are smarter than any of us
  • Demand options
    • don't settle for the first good idea
  • Balance your portfolio
    • document the process
  • Design a life
    • think of life as a prototype