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Design Thinking and Innovation January 23, 2008

Posted by Will in libraries, technology.
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Everyone should read the article titled “Design Thinking” by Steven J. Bell in this month’s American Libraries (January/February, 2008, pp. 44-49). You can find the article online in ProQuest: here’s a direct link, but you have to authenticate

The article focuses on applying the design process (understand, observe, visualize, evaluate, refine, implement) in libraries, and in developing new library services. The article is based at least partly on a book, The Art of Innovation, by Tom Kelley and Jonathan Littman, who write about the experience at IDEO, one of the leading design firms in the country.

Why is this a trend for libraries to watch? On the first page of the book, the authors write that “The biggest single trend we’ve observed [in the past decade or so] is the growing acknowledgment of innovation as a centerpiece of corporate strategies and initiatives. What’s more, we’ve noticed that the more senior the executives, the more likely they are to frame their companies’ needs in the context of innovation.”

On pages 6 and 7, they outline the process that Bell lists in his article, the “method to their madness,” which is the “understand, observe, visualize, evaluate, refine, implement” process I listed earlier.

I’ll be reading this book to see what ideas I can adapt as I work on the brand new statewide downloadable audiobooks project, and I’ll post any especially significant insights here on the Trendspotting Blog.

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