Design – It’s About Creating The Options That Do Not Exist

Since this is the break week for lots of us I thought I’d keep it light with a few quotes that I came across recently that got me thinking. I could have chosen a line from any of these quotes for the title of this post, but the one I did choose, from Roger Martin, I think speaks best to this blog’s first year of existence. In the past, as a librarian, when it came to the word “design” the only option was a discussion of building interiors or exteriors. DBL has created a new option that, for many, did not previously exist. Now design can enter our vocabulary as a way to discuss a process for thinking about ways to improve our workflow, our services, the way we innovate and the overall user experience we deliver. We hope that reading DBL has changed how you think about the word design, and has provided some new ideas for thinking about how you approach problems and develop the solutions. Thanks for your readership.

“It does not take vast resources to create buzzworthy experiences. And the events themselves, like the campus visit experience I described, can be commonplace. All it takes is a willingness to identify and enrich key touchpoints, to equip and engage faculty and staff, to train well, and to continually improve. But first, there must be a willingness to change positions with your students, donors, and other audience groups, and to work at seeing those experiences from their perspective.”

Robert A. Sevier from “Delivering on Your Brand Experience” an article about experience marketing and how it can be used to turn routine experiences into memorable ones.

“I’ve become conviced that many innovative ideas fail to be commercially successful beacuse we haven’t understood the role of design. Design isn’t decor. At Stanford, we teach ‘design thinking’- that is, we put together small, interdisciplinary groups to figure out what the true needs are and then apply the art of engineering to serve them. Only by combining design and technology will we create innovative products and services that can suceed.”

Hasso Plattner, cofounder of SAP, from an article titled “Launching the Next Generation

“And the Big Idea for 2008? Stop competing against your competitors. Your traditional rivals aren’t your biggest worry. Disruptive innovation is hitting corporations from outside their business. Verizon (VZ) was forced to open its cell-phone service because Apple (AAPL) and Google (GOOG) smacked it hard. Verizon’s new business model will probably generate 10 times the demand for service. You just never know. That’s life, in beta.”

Bruce Nussbaum in an article “Innovation Predictions 2008

“I see creativity as central to design strategy. For me, design is centrally about creating options or possibilities that do not currently exist, not choosing between or among options that currently do. So at its heart, it is about the creation of something new. This highlights the difference between business administration and business design. Business administration entails the intelligent selection from among existing known options and the taking of action on the selection in question. Business design entails the creative production of a new option that is superior to the existing options.”

– Roger Martin, Dean of the Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto (From a presentation at the ID Strategy Conference 2007)

Author: StevenB

Steven Bell is currently Associate University Librarian for Research and Instructional Services at Temple University, and was previously Director of the Library at Philadelphia University. Steven is the author of two regular columns published by Library Journal, From the Bell Tower and Leading From the Library. With John Shank he is co-founder of the Blended Librarians Online Learning Community. Bell and Shank are also authors of the book Academic Librarianship by Design. Bell's latest book is Crucible Moments: Inspiring Library Leadership. More information is found at his website.

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