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Best Books In Design & Innovation

It’s that time of the year. Many publications and websites are issuing their “best” of the year lists. I always check BusinessWeek’s best business books list to see if our library has acquired them all. But I made a new discovery this year. I found that BusinessWeek also produces a separate listing of their picks for the top ten books on design and innovation. I thought I’d share that list here.

I can’t quite say these books are ranked, but the first book listed is one I’m reading right now (well, sort of, I started reading Subject to Change about half way through). That’s Back of the Napkin: Solving Problems and Selling Ideas with Pictures by Dan Roam. This book has attracted a great deal of attention and deservedly so. The idea of communicating through doodling is big right now – you’ve no doubt seen those popular UPS whiteboard commercials – although I don’t think that guy is actually doing the drawing. I’m enjoying the book although I’m not sure I’ll be drawing my way through presentations. But I am learning much more about the power of visual communication, and how to reach people with visual messages. In addition, even if you never use drawings in communicating with others, there is value in using drawing to work through challenges or to simplify complicated ideas. Visual thinking through drawing can provide an alternate and creative approach to problem solving – and it fits in well with a design approach.

Unfortunately I have not had time to get to most of the other books on BusinessWeek’s list, but I plan to get to a few of these in 2009:

Closing the Innovation Gap: Reigniting the Spark of Creativity in a Global Economy by Judy Estrin

Disrupting Class: How Disruptive Innovation Will Change the Way the World Learns
by Clayton Christensen, Curtis W. Johnson, Michael B. Horn
If you don’t have time to read Christensen’s latest or it seems of only marginal interest, you can grasp the book’s core ideas by reading this IdeaConnection interview with Christensen in which he discusses the book.

The Endless City by Ricky Burdett and Deyan Sudjic

The Game-Changer: How You Can Drive Revenue and Profit Growth with Innovation by A.G. Lafley and Ram Charan
This one also showed up on BW’s best business books list. I try to pay attention to any article or ideas coming from Ram Charan, one of the most interesting consultants in modern business.

Groundswell: Winning in a World Transformed by Social Technologies byCharlene Li and Josh Bernoff
This one should be of particular interest to the library community because it focuses on using social networks to create and share ideas, and explains how companies are using it to reach new customers.

Here Comes Everybody: The Power of Organizing Without Organizations by Clay Shirky
Here’s a title well known to the library community as it was mentioned in more than a few librarian blogs. Not surprising given the interest in the social communication tools that Shirky discusses. Personally, I just didn’t get into this one, but the ideas may really resonate with you.

The New Age of Innovation: Driving Co-Created Value Through Global Networks by C.K. Prahalad and M.S. Krishnan
One reason I may try to take a look at this one is because the authors discuss the importance of creating unique experiences for customers. Note that there is a link to a video interview with the authors – another good way to get the gist of the book if you don’t have time to read it.

The Numerati by Stephen Baker

The Venturesome Economy: How Innovation Sustains Prosperity in a More Connected World by Amar Bhidé

Here’s to better reading for new ideas in 2009. The bloggers of Designing Better Libraries appreciate your support and readership, and we look forward to continuing our mission to share with the library community the best ideas in design thinking, user experience, innovation and creativity. We continue to believe that by integrating these ideas into our practice we can design better libraries with the end goal of giving our user communities the best possible library experience.

Comments

Comment from Nicole Hennig
Posted: January 14, 2009 at 7:57 pm

Enjoyed this post! Here is one more book that’s great and that libraries could use for building great services: Subject to Change: Creating Great Products & Services for an Uncertain World. http://tinyurl.com/7voj6h .

Comment from StevenB
Posted: January 14, 2009 at 10:30 pm

Thanks for suggesting “Subject to Change” Nicole – a great book on designing user experiences. In a previous DBL post I pointed to a video presentation by the authors – also well worth watching, especially if you are short on time for reading the book.

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