Grand Designs

Few organizations, Tim Brown says, are set up to allow much creative collaboration, and even those are often afflicted by a culture that mishandles the results. “Too many ideas that get through to the market make it there because somebody senior is the one sponsoring them,” he says, “not because they’re necessarily the best ideas.”

Brown, president and CEO of Palo Alto-based IDEO, looks to “design … [ Read more ]

Tim Brown

We have to rely both on analysis and synthesis. Analysis—taking complex things and studying and understanding them—is very useful for knowing how well something is going to work and how you might improve it or make it more efficient. It’s not very good for coming up with major new ideas. There we have to be able to synthesize many competing ideas or competing insights—even if … [ Read more ]

Tim Brown

In most organizations, there’s an incredible amount of talent everywhere, and often that talent is more connected to the marketplace and the world. There’s a clear and real role for senior leadership, but it’s not to have the ideas—it’s to create the framework for the ideas to exist.

Tim Brown

We’ve got to have both predictability and unpredictability in organizations, where we’re measuring and tracking but where experimentation is still possible. The great organizations learn how to do both those things.

Tim Brown

There’s another thing that organizations often miss: They assume that the things you go out and study should be the things that are right in the middle of the market, so they talk to customers who are in the middle of the bell curve about the products that the company already makes. That’s usually the least useful form of observation. The most useful is to … [ Read more ]

The Thought Leader Interview: Tim Brown

The CEO of Silicon Valley-based design firm IDEO contends that elegant, customer-centric design stems from a simple set of thinking practices.

Tim Brown

There are essentially two economic models for a company today. The first is a conventional consumerist approach, offering goods and services with no engagement other than producing and marketing. This consumerist model has encouraged a passive relationship with consumers; people expect products and services to be delivered, purely in exchange for money, with no effort or engagement on the individual’s part.

But the most attractive products … [ Read more ]