Tuesday, February 3, 2009

what I’m reading: the art of innovation

For a long time, I always thought that if there was one company that I would absolutely love to work for, it would be Pixar. (Lately I’ve been obsessed with watching the behind the scenes footage on all my Pixar DVDs.) But after reading The Art of Innovation by Tom Kelley, I’ve changed my mind. The company I’d most love to work for is IDEO.

Truth is, my goal is actually to run my own company, but fortunately for me, The Art of Innovation gives you insights how you can incorporate the IDEO methodology into your own business.

It’s also wonderfully insightful for anyone who designs objects that are used by people. One of the best chapters was the one on direct observation, which really resonated last week at the gift fair as I watched people interact with my products. Sometimes as designers, we become so familiar with our own products that we forget to consider how newcomers will respond to them. Utilizing IDEO’s observation strategies, its easier to consider the needs of our potential customers.

The chapter on hot teams made me dream of the day when I can afford to hire fabulous employees and surround myself with good people. Which reminds me of one of the concepts in Good to Great – first who, then what – meaning that the people you have in a company are more important than the products you’re making. (Actually, a lot of the ideas in The Art of Innovation paralleled the concepts in Good to Great – which only solidifies IDEO’s ability to understand what it takes to create a great company.)

And after reading the chapter on creating a workplace that facilitates innovation, I can’t wait to go home and reorganize my workspace. Plus, I’ve now got grand plans to steal space in my parents barn to set up a big space to play and test out new ideas.

The book is easy to read and full of inspiring ideas and useful action items. I’d highly recommend it.


Danielle said...

OH i just ordered this book:
I think you might like it! I'm going to check out The Art of Innovation.


Brooke said...

We watched a video on IDEO when I was in graphic design school. It's the holy grail of methodology as far as I'm concerned. How cool that we can all be inspired by them now! Good luck with your biz, I've been following your blog for awhile now, thought I'd end the lurking :).