We overlapped and now my mind is too busy sorting things out to write. More later.
Sirota, Mischkind, and Meltzer suggest some ways individual managers can motivate employees…
1. Instill an inspiring purpose.
2. Provide recognition.
3. Be an expediter for your employees.
4. Coach your employees for improvement.
5. Communicate fully.
6. Face up to poor performance.
7. Promote teamwork.
8. Listen and involve.
The chief executive of Cognizant Technology Solutions, an outsourcing company that is based in Teaneck, N.J., but has most of its employees in India, says it can compete against giants like I.B.M. and Accenture partly by borrowing American-style management techniques.
If you follow Edward de Bono’s writings, you already know about his drive to improve the quality of thinking. It’s an important message he continues in Why so stupid? “There is always some risk with design…. Judgment and routine behaviour is low risk so it is the preferred method of thought… You can analyse the past, but the future has to be designed.“
Here’s a wonderful little diagram from Central Office of Design…
I know a lot of designers in the New York area, so frequently people ask me for references. But lately it’s very hard to find freelancers or anyone between jobs. The industry is booming, but the traditional place-an-ad, receive-a-million-resumes (or not), and interview-a-dozen-people way of finding someone is fairly inefficient.
The globalization of the programming industry has resulted in oDesk, a website that allows employers to post a contract description which applicants from around the world then bid on. The site also facilitates payment transfers and tracking the work by taking screen shots of the programmers computer every 10 minutes.
It would be trickier to hire designers and field researchers this way, but I’m betting it will happen eventually.
About every third or fourth design student I meet has a concept for helping the elderly call for help from their homes. I just saw another one last night at the Parsons show. One might wonder why such devices aren’t widespread by now.
I ran into my friend Bill recently who works as a CTO for a company that sells such a system. He says the challenge isn’t at the device level, it’s downstream of the device: having a widespread network of installers who understand the system and who have an incentive to sell the system, maintenance, infrastructure, and so on. The device is the easy part.
Reinventing this wheel isn’t all bad, it probably helps students learn a lot about device design. But solving this problem (which is what design is all about) won’t happen until one considers the whole system and also designs a business model within which the device operates.
To quote John Thackara, “…connectivity is at least as much about [the design of clever business models] as it is about the private ownership of technological devices. The Doors crowd learned this lesson ten years ago when the extraordinary Sam Pitroda spoke at Doors 4, in 1996. Pitroda enabled hundreds of millons of people to gain access to telephony in India by designing the Public Call Office (PCO) concept – a low-tech, high-smarts system based on the clever sharing of devices and infrastructure.“
A completely nascent idea: are big companies more successful when they are organized as collections of small units, as opposed to bigger, less personal, hard-to-manage large units?
I asked this question while commiserating with a friend whose medium company was swallowed up by their giant competitor last year after a prolonged and contentious aquisition period. What is the future for this smaller business unit? As a thought experiment I conjured up Wal-Mart. While not the poster child of PR these days, they are extremely good at many things. And we could think of them as a collection of many small units, each store being one unit.
And then I looked at the rest of the Fortune 10…
1 Exxon Mobil
2 Wal-Mart Stores
3 General Motors
5 Ford Motor
7 General Electric
9 American International Group
10 Intl. Business Machines
Let’s disregard the oil companies since they sell an expensive commodity we’re addicted to. Let’s also disregard the auto companies who have decades of growth on which to coast and aren’t doing well lately. That leaves us with Wal-Mart, GE, Citigroup, AIG, and IBM. Each of these is broken into many smaller units. In fact, in AIG’s case there are so many units working autonomously from the corporate hand they actively compete with one another. These companies seem to go beyond the modern corporation structure to become cluster corporations.
The Spring/Summer 2006 Rotman Magazine (.pdf, 5.3MB) is out with design-happy articles by Richard Florida, Jeanne Liedtka, Roger Martin, and more.
Lance Carlson, president and CEO of the Alberta College of Art and Design, is — somewhat ironically — one of the only art and design colleges incorporating design thinking into the curriculum in a comprehensive way…
“Our new Institute will explore and foster work in these areas, and provoke internal dialogue at the college as well. The reaction from the corporate community has been encouraging. We have been in discussions with several companies exploring pilot projects and the provincial government and community-based groups have been supportive. Who doesn’t want to nurture innovation and creative action?“
The Scoot-n-Swiff (patent pending)
This idea came to me while visiting my sister this weekend. A lot of kids were over for a party, and I saw how the toddlers loved these ride-on toys. I also noticed my sister needing to swiff a few times per day to de-crumb after the kids. Clearly today’s parents need a ride-on toy that accepts Swiffer attachments on the bottom so the kids naturally clean up after themselves.
On a related note, PlayPumps are a brilliant way to harness the raw energy of kids.
You know, I think the phrase design thinking is an oxymoron. The design mindset is synonomous with making and doing; it’s more action-oriented than merely talking and thinking. This is yet another reason to reframe design thinking.
A friend of mine studying psychology says many in that field have physics envy: they want the capability of massively sophisticated quantitative methods. I think that however I end up reframing design thinking should still inspire design envy.
The Onion’s 2056 issue.
The expansion of CAD designs with motion, time, and plot.
(Image is Edward Burtynsky’s Oxford Tire Pile No. 7)
I had no idea until a friend of mine, an adult, just caught chickenpox (she actually knew about the vaccine but her doctor told her she’d been ‘exposed’ and didn’t need it). Apparently the vaccine was approved in the U.S. in 1995. If you have never had chickenpox and haven’t been vaccinated, you can no longer say no one told you.
In 1995 I had my first New York City apartment and whatever I was doing, it wasn’t reading Prevention magazine. But this is the case with many people: it’s impossible to keep up with all the things we should know. And with all the hoopla over bottom-up information organization these days, my natural inclination is to go the other way and ask, how about a radically top-down, people-centric approach? What does that look like? Maybe something like this…
Need To Know
Our educational system has failed to adapt to the changing information needs of the 21st century. The typical education lacks crucial information on such issues as managing our health, finances, and careers. Need To Know is a radically top-down approach to education. A massive research project is collecting data on millions of Americans to determine what most people do most of the time, and therefore what information they need to fruitfully live their lives. We will use this information to produce a one-hour television program composed of 360 ten-second video tutorials.
Ten seconds may not sound like a lot, but it’s enough to say, A vaccine for chickenpox was released in 1995. If you were born before 1977 and have never had chickenpox, go to a doctor and get the vaccine.