Review of Marty Neumeier, The Designful Company: How to Build a Culture of Nonstop Innovation

The Designful Company: How to Build a Culture of Nonstop InnovationThe Designful Company: How to Build a Culture of Nonstop Innovation by Marty Neumeier
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Mr. Neumeier writes from the position of somebody: + who knows how to write, and + who has experience with what design and innovation is.

The most important claim in this book for me was a clear confidence that design management is never to be outsourced. But at the same time many of the design skills should always be outsourced. For me, very useful point.

The second important thing for me was that companies that are growing or if they want to grow, would need a Chief Design Officer or Chief Brand Officer, Chief Innovation Officer, VP of Creativity – you name it. I really couldn’t agree more. I even made a presentation on the subject, it’s in Slovene, if you understand some, here you’ll find it: Design Strategies and Economy.

Then there are some other things I’m glad I found out.

  • In the 1990s Samsung paid employees in Innovation Design Lab to study their new building design six days a week for a year long. !!! Now they have 380 company-trained designers that are helping to launch 100 products per year. In Slovenia, some academics have proposed that a former textile giant Mura should have around 500 designers but I doubt that the managers are listening.
  • In the book, there is an interesting approach presented to the innovation process, called stage-gate innovation. In four stages it goes from seed money to develop a concept to small bet to develop a strategy to medium bet to model and test, and to large bet to launch in the market.
  • One question with a pretty good answer. How do you get a bunch of independent-minded professionals to play nice together? By establishing sensible rules of engagement. Easy to say, harder to put in real life in my opinion.
  • And then there is a fascinating scheme of what should actually CEO-s do. If they want to be visionary leaders they need to become managers of stories. The scheme goes into six categories. Really fascinating.
  • To me even more fascinating scheme in the book. About deep design. It goes from Ideology, Resonance, Emotion, Reason, Perception to Vision, Identity, Culture, Products, Brands. Wow!

Last but not least, three things to remember:

  1. What is third brain thinking? Thinking with logic and inspiration. Design thinking. Simple. Design thinkers tend to be: empathetic, intuitive, imaginative, idealistic. This is why the future should be designed, not decided. Because difference and design bring together delight.
  2. Design is moving from “toasters and posters” to include processes, systems, and organisations.
  3. The design will force Wall Street to change the rules of investing. Yes, I toast to that.

Is there something funny about this book? Yes. If we want to describe the creative process this is something deeper as a wedding is describing sex. Was that understood? I guess not.

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