Thought You Should See This, June 1st, 2012

This week’s update from the innovation/design-themed blog I write. Pretty flimsy this week (short week and I’m just back from England and walloped by jetlag. Well, that’s my excuse and I’m sticking with it.)

Above is a great TED talk by Sebastian Deterding, who discusses the morality and ethical choices embedded in every design decision. Definitely worth taking the 12 minutes to watch.

Design collective Pentagram turned 40
, and created a geniusly clever video featuring much of their work to celebrate. 

Security technologist Bruce Schneier has a new book out. In Liars & Outliers, he takes on the all-important topic of trust, in all its many manifestations. I can safely say his is the most entertaining opening to a non-fiction book I’ve read in forever. 

Who says finance can’t be funny? This animation by political cartoonist Mark Fiore works perfectly as a parody of both the ongoing insanity of the financial industry—and the wincingly twee aphorisms of so much modern advertising. “Just because it’s your fault doesn’t mean others can’t suffer for you.” Ouch. 

File under hard to believe: The Nook version of War and Peace changed every instance of the words “kindle” and kindled” into “Nook” and “Nookd.” Both a funny story of the perils of the find-and-replace function–and an unnerving reminder of the silent power wielded by our digital overlords.

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Thought You Should See This, April 20th, 2012

This week’s posts on my innovation/design themed blog, Thought You Should See This:

Of course, top billing this week goes to Monitor/Doblin’s own Bansi Nagji and Geoff Tuff, proud authors of the lead feature story in May’s Harvard Business Review. Managing Your Innovation Portfolio describes the practice of “total innovation.”

I loved this story of crowdsourcing for the ages. Car blog Jalopnik posted a call for its readers to help the Waynesboro, VA Police Department in identifying a part that came off the car of a driver involved in a fatal hit-and-run accident. The commenters came good–and two suspects are now being held in custody. Small comfort for the victim’s family, of course, but a heartwarming tale of the power of crowdsourcing.

Gary T DiCamillo, former chief executive at Polaroid, gave an insight into why the former innovation giant stumbled in a New York Times piece, Innovation Isn’t Easy, Especially Midstream.

MFA student Rachel Lehrer spent seven months tracking handwashing compliance in hospitals. This piece is a fascinating insight into the many contradictory pressures faced by those looking to implement design principles in both their broadest sense–and in contexts unused to the influence or potential of design.

“Soccer is a metaphor for creative collaboration in a team, and coaching soccer can likewise be a metaphor for effective leadership.” Goal Play!: Leadership Lessons From The Soccer Field, by Paul Levy, sounds like a good read.

Head of Google X, Sebastian Thrun, describes Udacity, his extracurricular efforts to create the higher education institution of the future.

Lots of approving buzz for the launch of the Innovator’s Patent Agreement by Twitter. Patents are a hotly contested tool of innovation, with patent trolls and high-dollar lawsuits stifling and impeding the flow of ideas necessary for a thriving economy and its flourishing businesses. This aims to act as a counter force.

The Times has a good breakdown of Sony’s strategy, and some great insights into how once unassailable-seeming giants can fall from grace–including that all-important factor, company culture.

And finally, for anyone excitedly awaiting Ridley Scott’s upcoming movie, Prometheus, here’s a terrifying trailer made by my dear friend, Johnny Hardstaff (top). Very cool, and very totally and utterly terrifying.

11 Best Innovation Design Books of 2010

I came up with a list of my books of the year for Core77. As with all these things, it’s totally subjective, reflective of many of my current interests and missing out many worthy and useful books. However, I still think it’s a worthy exercise, mainly for allowing me to look back and take stock of themes that have bubbled up through the year and that might be worth keeping an eye on in the next.

I won’t doublepost here, so do check out the full piece on Core77 for commentary on why I chose these books in particular. But here, for the sake of it, is the list itself. Do let me know what you think–and which titles I should be hung, drawn and quartered for omitting.

Cognitive Surplus: Creativity and Generosity in a Connected Age
by Clay Shirky
Penguin Press

Where Good Ideas Come From: The Natural History of Innovation
by Steven Johnson
Riverhead

The Power of Pull: How Small Moves, Smartly Made, Can Set Big Things in Motion
by John Hagel, John Seely Brown, Lang Davison
Basic Books

The Mesh: Why The Future of Business is Sharing
by Lisa Gansky
Portfolio/Penguin

Macrowikinomics: Rebooting Business and the World
by Don Tapscott and Anthony D. Williams
Portfolio/Penguin

The Other Side of Innovation: Solving the Execution Challenge
by Vijay Govindarajan, Chris Trimble
Harvard Business Review Press

Different: Escaping the Competitive Herd
by Youngme Moon
Crown Business

Living with Complexity
by Don Norman
The MIT Press

Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard
by Chip Heath, Dan Heath
Crown Business

Business Model Generation: A Handbook for Visionaries, Game Changers, and Challengers
by Alexander Osterwalder, Yves Pigneur
Wiley

Nonobject
by Branko Lukic with text by Barry M Katz
The MIT Press