Design Management – Related Readings

Readings I have assigned come from the Design Management Institute and other sources, including readings that have been assigned by visiting lecturers.



“My best interview question is ‘Tell me how you’re going to make a big impact on our organization.’ There is no room in the boat for somebody who can’t pull their oar, because everybody else would have to pull that oar… I tell new college grads to find a job where you love what you’re doing – even if you have to create the job yourself – not the job with the highest salary. I also tell them to start learning. New grads think they’re ready for their career, and they’re not. They need to start reading more, not less. You’ve got all this stuff to learn, and you’ve go to learn it in a dozen fields, not just the one you’re working in, because it’s all about cross-pollination. It’s all about taking good ideas in other areas and bringing them into your area… It’s all about adding value above your job description, not just doing the job. You’ve go to exceed that by a substantial margin if you really want to get ahead.” – Jay Walker, Chairman of Walker Digital, founder of Priceline and Upside

BELOW A useful tool to guide user-centered value and business value.cds-1-user-business-case


BELOW E.S.G. stands for “environmental, social, and governance… a company’s commitment to ecological sustainability, to its community and to corporate governance.” Note that this article is specifically about investing in companies that follow E.S.G., not whether E.S.G. itself produces larger profits.nyt-esg-vertical


“Nobody builds anything cool for the love of a bunch of cash. It’s never happened.” – Bryan Davis, inventor of the Rum Accelerator


BELOW Copyright protection and intellectual property from BBC News


Management is the art of accomplishing objectives through others, and that’s different from leadership, which is the art of inspiring others and getting them to want to do things. A manager’s job is to develop the people they work with. It’s about process.  I’ve always hired managers to do the job of management, which is no insult at all. It’s not beneath me in any way. It’s just not my strength. Create things? I’m your guy. Solve unusual problems? Maybe. Dream up whole new ways to approach things? I’m your guy. Manage? Not so much.” – Jay Walker, Chairman of Walker Digital, founder of Priceline and Upside

BELOW How do ideas happen?eurekayeseureka-sm

“The people who become leaders are not just creative themselves, but they create circumstances for others to be creative. The leader’s role is to make people comfortable enough to share their ideas, however crazy they may be. You have to constantly communicate the importance of creativity, which can be tough with professionals. They have to feel they will be rewarded by appropriately challenging you. And as a leader, you have to be willing to try things that might fail.” – Joe Andrew, Global Chairman of Dentons, the world’s largest law firm

BELOW Making collaboration workcollaboration-companies-1.jpg

“My style is not to perpetuate a false illusion that you work for me. You work for you. You get up every day and come in here because you want to be here. I’m highly collaborative and interested in the best thinking. If you can express yourself well, that’s good. If you can’t that’s a big problem… Like any entrepreneur, I’m highly adaptable. You work with what you’ve got, not with what you want. And what you’ve got is often an incomplete set of facts, an insufficient amount of capital, insufficient knowledge about the key things you need and insufficient people to do that job… When hiring, I’m looking for people who are thoughtful, passionate, adaptable, and who have failed, preferably two or three times. If you haven’t failed, that’s a big problem.” – Jay Walker, Chairman of Walker Digital, founder of Priceline and Upside


Written by Greg Larkin. Copied and pasted in full from LinkedIn for those who are not yet on LinkedIn. Mr Larkin posits things to think about and agree with or refute based on your own experience.

Those Post-It Notes Cost $12mn – Why Design Thinking Is Doomed

My first design thinking bootcamp 7 years ago felt like sun breaking through dark clouds. Years of slow, politically-fraught product launches in big finance had beaten me down. 70% of my job was consumed by politics rather than what I loved doing: solving an entrenched problem in an empathetic and differentiated way. I embraced design thinking with the zeal of the newly converted. Soon after I quit that job and it changed my life.

Since then a lot has changed. Billions of dollars in agency invoices now list “design thinking” as a line item. But the practice has not adopted adequately. For design thinking to stay relevant it must do a better job of recognizing the real-world technical and stakeholder constraints that prevent great ideas from becoming great products.

There are some problems with design thinking that need to be called out:

Design thinking treats banks like beer commercials – Empathy for a user is mission critical for a brand fighting for recognition during a halftime commercial. But the same techniques that tap into the hearts and minds of consumers cannot be transplanted into a B2B business like investment banking with comparable outcomes. For one thing, in these industries user needs have to be reconciled with the priorities of economic buyers and stakeholders. And for another thing these stakeholders must show investors the money – every quarter, every day.  User empathy only matters when it catalyzes an investor outcome. Otherwise it can become a liability.

Design thinking treats code like crayons – Design thinking often trivializes how hard it is to actually build something. A stunning digital prototype with incredible user validation may be technically impossible, economically stupid, or both. There is a tendency in design thinking to punt on technical and stakeholder risk. This creates a balloon payment, technical mushroom cloud that destroys the whole project. This is more pronounced in enterprise software than it is in B2C software.

Design thinking is an input not an outcome – Design thinking helps align a broad team around user and market needs. To start a project without developing personas or value prop canvases or a storyboard is suicidal. But too often this powerful tool is treated as a business outcome rather than a business input. And too often business outcomes – like functioning software, customer acquisition, and efficient, accelerated growth remain unchanged.

Stakeholders – the 300 lb. gorillas in the design studio – I’ve launched about 20 enterprise products in my life and my batting average is about 65%. The reasons that 35% failed were primarily because I’m flawed and make mistakes. And secondarily because stakeholders will kill any product that isn’t ‘theirs.’ I honestly can’t point to single product failure that stemmed from user invalidation.

Design thinking must extend beyond design – Design thinking must evaluate the real-life constraints that a product must navigate to change lives and make lots of money. To stay relevant it must incorporate stakeholder and technical validation into the process.



“The multiplicand of habits times the multiplier of laziness, divided by the remainder of good manners.” — from The Devil’s Business Dictionary (©2000, Jiminez, Johnson, and White)



“Swimming with the tide more vigorously than the others.” — from The Devil’s Business Dictionary (©2000, Jiminez, Johnson, and White)


A Five-Step Guide to Not Being Stupid

“Even the smartest people can be fools. David Robson explains how to avoid the most common traps of sloppy thinking.” – BBC News

“What can be done? Sternberg and others are now campaigning for a new kind of education that teaches people how to think more effectively, alongside more traditional academic tasks. Their insights could help all of us – whatever our intelligence – to be a little less stupid…”

  1. Recognise your blind spots
  2. Be ready to eat humble pie
  3. Argue with yourself – and don’t pull the punches
  4. Imagine “what if…”
  5. Don’t underestimate the checklist


What a leader needs now Excerpted from Inc magazine June 2013

Labeling traits as masculine or feminine reflects popular perception rather than evidence-based fact. But it’s a handy way to think about what works in organizations today. The following qualities, traditionally identified with women, produce results four leaders of both genders.

  1. Empathy Being sensitive to the thoughts and feelings of others
  2. Vulnerability Owning up to one’s limitations and asking for help
  3. Humility Seeking to serve others and to share credit
  4. Inclusiveness Soliciting and listening to many voices
  5. Generosity Being liberal with time, contacts, advice, and support
  6. Balance Giving life, as well as work, its due
  7. Patience Taking a long-term view


Brian Guttman’s tips for keeping clients close Excerpted from Inc magazine June 2013

  1. Know your true customers Wholesalers, distributors, retailers, e-commerce partners – you may sell to them,, but don’t forget the end user is your true customer.
  2. Go where they live Spend time every day on the floor, on the phone, or on your website, you can’t respond to what you don’t hear.
  3. Embrace the vertical Check in often with everyone else who is a key link in the customer chain: designers, suppliers, logistics crews, etc.
  4. Plant your flag then adapt Your core concept should be a base for constant improvement. Make use of customer feedback, and keep refining.
  5. Make customer satisfaction your vision Design, especially self-indulgent design, isn’t the ultimate destination. Usability and customer satisfaction is.

-CDS Readings

Four ways to be a better networker Excerpted from Inc magazine June 2013

  1. Expand your comfort zone At work, meet people in other departments and ask about their jobs. Introduce yourself to strangers at industry events, workshops, and luncheons.
  2. Remember every relationship matters Thatincludes customers, employees, and the people who are trying to sell to you. You never know who will become a key decision maker at another company.
  3. Develop a thick skin Not everyone you contact is going to respond. Don’t take it personally. Let rejection remind you to be more responsive to people who reach out to you.
  4. Be resistant If you don’t follow up after your first contact attempt goes unanswered, you’re not being persistent enough. Never assume that one message is enough.


30 Creative, Design, and Marketing Quotes

  1. Try not to become a man of success but rather a man of value. Albert Einstein
  2. If you want to understand how a lion hunts don’t go to the zoo. Go to the jungle. Jim Stengel CMO of P&G
  3. Customers can’t always tell you what they want, but they can always tell you what’s wrong. Carly Fiorina
  4. It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor themost intelligent, but the one most responsive to changeCharles Darwin
  5. Don’t find customers for your products, find products for your customers. Seth Godin
  6. Design is the fundamental soul of a human-made creation that ends up expressing itself in successiveouter layers of the product or service. Steve Jobs
  7. Your culture is your brand. Tony Hsieh
  8. Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing about. Benjamin Franklin
  9. Everything is designed. Few things are designed well. Brian Reed
  10. People ignore design that ignores people. Frank Chimero
  11. Design trends change more often than the wind, and slightly less often than my socks. Suleiman Leadbitter
  12. Man’s mind, once stretched by a new idea, never regains its original dimensions. Oliver Wendell Holmes
  13. What really decides consumers to buy or not to buy is the content of your advertising, not its form. David Ogilvy
  14. Design is intelligence made visible. Alina Wheeler
  15. If plan “A” fails remember you have 25 letters left. Chris Guillebeau
  16. Nine out of ten businesses fail so I came up with a foolproof plan: create ten businesses. Robert Kiyosaki
  17. If everything seems under control, you’re just not going fast enough. Mario Andretti
  18. No one ever succeeds without the help of others. Jay Abraham
  19. Content is king, but marketing is queen and runs the household. Gary Vaynerchuk
  20. When you try to do something big it’s hard to fail completely. Timothy Ferriss
  21. Nothing influences people more than a recommendation from a trusted friend. Mark Zuckerberg
  22. Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere. Albert Einstein
  23. What makes content engaging is relevancy. Gail Goodman
  24. Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning. Bill Gates
  25. Create something people want to share. John Jantsch
  26. When it gets difficult it is often right before you succeed. Chris Garrett
  27. Do not be embarrassed by your failures, learn from them and start again. Richard Branson
  28. Think like a customer. Paul Gillin
  29. If Thomas Edison had used a focus grouphe would have just invented a bigger candle. From The Brand Show episode “The Science of Branding”
  30. Good design is obvious. Great design is transparent. Joe Sparano



fastco-wired-inc3 magazines that will change the way you think

In addition to the myriad readings assigned for Design Management and Collaborative Design Studio courses, MPS students are required to subscribe to the print editions and spend at least 60 minutes per issue on each of these three monthly magazines.

These particular magazines complement each other by describing creativity in business from different perspectives. You will be able to harvest several good ideas from every issue. In addition to weighing the editorial content, consider the advertising in these three magazines: advertisers try to position their ads as a mirror to the specific audience they want to reach. How do the advertisers differ? Therefore, how do the audiences differ?



“Comprehensively purposive intention, most easily explained after the fighting is over.” — from The Devil’s Business Dictionary (©2000, Jiminez, Johnson, and White)



“The serious version of money.” — from The Devil’s Business Dictionary (©2000, Jiminez, Johnson, and White)


Morality vs Profit