John Langrish challenged the analysis of Norman & Verganti on Incremental and Radical Innovation, arguing that we had ignored the evidence from Darwinian evolution. He called us "creationists." We find John Langrish's argument to be puzzling. We wrote a paper on product evolution and he chides us for failure to cite the literature in evolutionary biology. Similar issues have been faced in many disciplines. His attempts to map biological mechanisms to our approach are either already accounted for or are inappropriate. We are accused of being creationists. We plead guilty. That's what the field of design is all about: all-seeing, overarching designers who look over their creations and go in and change them. Designers have that luxury. Release a product and call it back for revision. Or completely change the next release, keeping the stuff that worked and deleting the stuff that didn't. Or completely repurpose it for some other usage that had not been considered at first. Radical innovation within the field of design does not come from hill-climbing. It comes from putting together things that never before were thought to belong together. It comes from the heart and mind of the designer. Yes, as designers we are creationists. We teach it, practice it, and take delight in it.
Other Recent Essays
- Verganti & Norman: Having a vision is not enough--it must be implemented
- Error Messages Are Evil
- Design at UCSD: Think Observe Make
- Human Error? No, Bad Design
- Predicting too early is as bad as not predicting at all
- State of Design: How Design Education Must Change
Large projects tend to fail: Software, construction, new aircraft, it doesn't matter -- they fail. Dan Ward offers a simple solution: don't do them. With the time and money allocated for one large project, do numerous small ones. Do them Fast and Inexpensive, with Restraint and Elegance: FIRE. It's a well-known principle, but it goes against the nature of organizations who wish to solve all their problems with one project. In consumer markets, it the disease I call featuritis. In industry, it's bloat. What's the alternative? FIRE. For anyone even remotely associated with large projects, this eminently sensible, highly readable book is required reading.
Recent recommended readings
- The cult of the peacock (Brendan Vance)
- Designing with the Mind in Mind, 2nd edition. (Jeff Johnson)
- Cool Tools (Kevin Kelly)
- Sleights of mind : what the neuroscience of magic reveals about our everyday deceptions (Macknik, Martinez-Conde & Blakeslee)
- Smarter thank you think: How technology is changing our minds for the better (Clive Thompson)
- Foreword: Computers as Theater (Brenda Laurel)
Keynote Addresses and Schedule
Contact information, bios, press photos, ...
Examples of talks
- July 16, 2014. Keynote: The Human Side of Automation. Automated Vehicles Symposium 2014. San Francisco Airport.
- July 30, 2014. San Diego Industrial design talk (SDID is a LinkedIn group). MindFlow Design studio, Carlsbad, CA
- September 14, 2014. PricewaterhouseCoopers "The Exchange: How's that customer-centric thing working for you?" The Cloister, Sea Island, GA
- October 12, 2014. Advisory Committee meeting, Tongji University College of Design & Innovation. Shanghai, China.
- October 13, 2014. Design Research and Education conference, Tongji University, Shanghai.
- October 26-30, 2014. NordiCHI Keynote, Helsinki, Finland.
- April 25 - 30, 2015. CHI 2015. Seoul, S. Korea.