Alchemy: The Dark Art and Curious Science of Creating Magic in Brands, Business, and Life

Alchemy: The Dark Art and Curious Science of Creating Magic in Brands, Business, and Life

by Rory Sutherland

In Alchemy—published simultaneously in the U.K. with a punchier subtitle: The Surprising Power of Ideas that Don’t Make Sense—Sutherland writes with a humorous style filled with wisdom about consumer behavior, innovation, branding, hiring, the weakness of market research, and more. Continue reading “Alchemy: The Dark Art and Curious Science of Creating Magic in Brands, Business, and Life”

The Non-Designer’s Guide to Design Thinking

The Non-Designer’s Guide to Design Thinking: What a Marketer Learned in Design School

by Kunitake Saso

“The design thinking process is not a collection of steps… [It] is characterized by switching between four different modes as needed, and advancing work through short cycles… You go back and forth between the phases again and again, slowly raising the quality of your output; therefore, it is better to think of it as a compass than as a map.”

The Four Modes of Design Thinking:

  1. Research
  2. Analysis
  3. Synthesis
  4. Prototyping

The author says that 80% of the value is created in the synthesis and prototyping stages.

RESEARCH. The subjects of design research interviews are often “extreme users with strong preferences, or experts in the field and very familiar with the trends” rather than average users. Continue reading “The Non-Designer’s Guide to Design Thinking”

A Technique for Producing Ideas

a-technique-for-producing-ideas

A Technique for Producing Ideas

by James Webb Young

This concise booklet was first published in the 1940s by James Webb Young, who became vice president of the advertising firm J. Walter Thompson and the first chairman of The Advertising Council. He wrote it in response to the question, “How do you get ideas?”

Before explaining the process, Young presents two principles. Continue reading “A Technique for Producing Ideas”

The Myths of Creativity

the-myths-of-creativity

The Myths of Creativity: The Truth About How Innovative Companies and People Generate Great Ideas

by David Burkus

“Creativity is the starting point for all innovation, and most organizations rely on innovation to create a competitive advantage.” In this interesting book, management professor David Burkus debunks 10 myths of creativity, citing academic research and examples from business. Continue reading “The Myths of Creativity”

Six Thinking Hats

six-thinking-hats-edward-de-bono

Six Thinking Hats

by Edward de Bono, M.D.

The Six Thinking Hats offers “an alternative to the argument system, which was never intended to be constructive or creative.” The emphasis is on “how we design a way forward—not on who is right and who is wrong.”

A major benefit is time savings. De Bono claims that ABB reduced their multinational project team discussions from 21 days to two days using the Six Hats method. “In the United States, managers spend nearly 40 percent of their time in meetings… Instead of rambling, ego-driven meetings, meetings are now constructive, productive, and much faster.” Continue reading “Six Thinking Hats”

The Innovator’s Dilemma

the-innovators-dilemma-2

The Innovator’s Dilemma

by Clayton Christensen

Why have many once market-leading companies failed to stay relevant?  It would be easy to assume that they had stagnant engineers or complacent management, but Clayton Christensen concludes otherwise: “Because they carefully studied market trends and systematically allocated investment capital to innovations that promised the best returns, they lost their positions of leadership.”

How is that possible? The key is to understand the distinction between sustaining and disruptive innovation.  Large companies are good are sustaining innovation—product improvements demanded by existing customers. Continue reading “The Innovator’s Dilemma”