The Future of Design Education

Design schools have built up an expectation that they can equip students to tackle complex problems through the power of creativity alone. They can’t. They don’t. And they continue to fool themselves with four big myths about creativity. Myth 1: Creativity and design are inseparable. Here, we have led ourselves down a garden path of…

Aligning People, Processes and Technology

Most leading consumer-facing companies have learned that engaging with consumers in the development of products and services is of critical importance. The problem is that this process of involving consumers takes time – anywhere from months to years – to conduct properly. Delays can be costly; not only is consumer exposure a competitive intelligence risk,…

Living Multi-Locally

We don't stand still anymore. We move our homes regularly, make frequent decisions about our future and are constantly seeking what's next. Today, our lives are lived from one place to the next offering the ground to explore who we are and develop our identities through work, and play. We fall in love in unexpected…

Service Design: Balancing User Needs and Client Requirements

There is an opinion among some in the design world that pure, unadulterated design cannot be done on behalf of clients. The basis of this, generally, is that design must occur through focused interaction between designer and end-user and center around uncovering the end-user’s needs and designing a solution to address them. Introducing a third-party…

In Pursuit of Customer Intimacy and Operational Excellence

In their 1997 book, The Discipline of Market Leaders, Michael Treacy and Fred Wiersema describe three fundamental business strategies: operational excellence, product leadership and customer intimacy. They argue that in strategy formation, focus is critical and therefore companies need to decide which one of these strategic directions to pursue. They can’t do all three. Treacy…

Rethinking University Education

It’s commonplace these days to hear the story of the young, bright, recent liberal arts university graduate who simply cannot find a job – let alone a good job – in her field of study. A 2012 study by Georgetown University found unemployment rates are higher among liberal arts graduates than graduates from business, engineering,…

New Perspectives on Segmentation

I recently developed a hypothesis on why old school behavioral segmentation works as well as a 1978 Lada or a vintage Apple Newton device. Traditional segmentation assumes that consumers behave and purchase consistently (have you ever tried driving a Communist era vehicle?) or that humans can be placed in little squares and be properly and…

Balancing Intuition and Analysis in Business

In business, the stereotype of the entrepreneur is associated with intuition, while the stereotype of the CEO is associated with analysis. The former is the cowboy of commerce, the lone gun who makes decisions quickly, operating on hunches and embracing risk with gusto, not seeming to worry too much about the outcome because if the hunch turns out to…

Work, Life, and the Quest for Balance

It is a testament to the elusive nature – indeed, the absurdity – of ‘work-life balance’ that, for weeks, a Post-it affixed to my desk reading “Write work- life balance piece!” has gone largely ignored. Of course I’ve been meaning to write this piece, even really wanting to. After all, I am deeply interested in…

Detox, Ritual and the Cure for American Life

Indulgence, acceptance, repentance, repeat. The US is a country of sorrowful, masochistic four-steppers. We fight to remain balanced but it would seem that nature has stacked the cards against us. That’s because throughout our existence we have followed our greedy little tongues to the sweet spot, which is quite attuned to lick all that is…