In 1980, when Hurricane Bob ripped through Martha’s Vineyard, it tore down a big hickory tree alongside Humphrey’s Bakery in West Tisbury. We took the butt log, hauled it to our yard, and milled it into planks. Until a few months ago they sat on stickers somewhere deep in our wood storage building waiting for my son Pinto to make a rocking chair for me and my wife Chris.
I love to buy books and read books. I don’t often use the library. I don’t own a Kindle. I buy books. But I’ve noticed that I end up reading only about two thirds of the books I buy. Not a good percentage. Each of those I don’t read wastes stuff: paper, ink, money, time, and space. I’d like to raise the percentage.
In the autumn issue of Strategy + Business Magazine, editor Art Kleiner interviews Tim Brown, CEO of the legendary design firm IDEO. Kleiner tells about IDEO’s first great protoype, which was created when the company consisted of eight scruffy designers crowded together in an upstairs studio on University Avenue in Palo Alto. Douglas Dayton and Jim Yurchenko affixed the roller ball from a tube of Ban roll-on deodorant to the base of a plastic butter dish. Before long Apple Computer was shipping its first mouse.
Brown is a proponent of Design Thinking – every problem, in his view, is a design issue and can only be solved with Design Thinking. He says, “I want to challenge designers to transform design practice. There will always be a place for the artist, the craftsman, and the lone inventor, but the astonishing pace of change in the world demand new approaches to design: collaborative, in a way that amplifies, rather than subdues, the creative powers of individuals; focused but flexible and responsive to unexpected opportunities. . . The next generation of designers will need to begin looking at every problem – from adult literacy to global climate change – as a design problem.”