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Reactions to Change by Design: How Design Thinking Transforms Organizations and Inspires Innovation by Tim Brown

Change by Design: How Design Thinking Transforms Organizations and Inspires InnovationChange by Design: How Design Thinking Transforms Organizations and Inspires Innovation by Tim Brown
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

In the top quartile of the “pop business books sold at airport bookshops” genre. Written with sincerity and integrity, eminently readable, with several useful ways of seeing problems and solutions that might not occur to a typical executive. Distills and communicates an important idea – to think about and create an entire experience, not just a particular product.

A bit repetitive – maybe authors assume that this type of book is just dipped into by chapter rather than read start to finish – and comes off as a bit of an advertisement for IDEO. But on the other hand, real world case studies from real world projects are more compelling than pure thought experiments.

Early on Brown promises not just to celebrate Design Thinking, but point out shortcomings….

“Along the way we will see how it [design thinking] has been practices by some of the most innovative companies in the world, how it has inspired breakthrough solutions, and where, on occasion, it has overreached.”

… though I can’t recall an example he offered of where Design Thinking didn’t quite work. In fact (reflecting the problem of many pop business books), he celebrates a Nokia example, clearly written before Nokia’s rapid and ignominious decline.

I would have enjoyed seeing Brown spend more (i.e., any) time on B2B examples and case studies – direct-to-consumer analogies can be dangerous when applied to business-to-business situations.

But on the whole, this 2009 book holds up even in early 2015. If the basic proposition is appealing, you should consider giving it your time.

View all my book reviews on Goodreads here

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