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The Designful Company: How to Build a Culture of Nonstop Innovation

 By: Marty Neumeier: New Riders, 2009.

Despite its dreadful title, this little book is a gem. Neumeier explains why everyone should care about design (companies that win design awards have 100-200% higher returns, and must-have products are always because of good design). More important, he defines designers as everyone who makes something better, whether it’s an idea, a process or a product.

He also points out the difference between standard business thinking that measures “What is” and design thinking that posits “What could be.”  Without the latter, he says, we’d all be driving the same cars and watching broadcast TV. As for getting these new ideas converted to reality, he has strong ideas about storytelling (good) and PowerPoint (bad).

Why should you care about design? Just substitute the words innovation or organizational change and you’ll see why his insights apply to just about everything you have on your to-do list for the next decade.

Definitely worth an hour of your time, I’d give it a 9.0 on the LL innovation meter. Recommended for managers, MBAs, and anyone interested in changing their organization’s status quo.

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About Lynda Lawrence

Lynda Lawrence is an innovation consultant with Ideaworks Consulting. She teaches Strategic Innovation and Design Management at the Merage School at UCI, and is an advisor to the Beall Center.