MIT’s Special Report On Design Thinking

“Hard skills from a soft science” is the tagline that the MIT Sloan Management Review gives to the special design thinking report that is found in the July 2009 issue. Unfortunately only subscribers can access the full-text articles online, but I was able to access all of them through my library’s ProQuest ABI/Inform database. It provides a mix of articles that are either essays or interviews with designers. Of special interest are:

* “Designing Waits That Work” – an article by Don Norman on how to use design to create a better user experience for customers that must wait to receive a service.

* “Problem Solving by Design” – insights into problem solving from John Shook’s new book Managing to Learn that examines the “problem finder” role played by designers.

* “How to Become a Better Manager…By Thinking Like a Designer” – an interview with expert presenters Nancy Duarte and Garr Reynolds in which they discuss how to design presentations that both influence and persuade.

And don’t miss a short essay by Matthew May, “Elegance by Design: The Art of Less” in which he explains how great designers use the skill of subtraction to create elegant solutions.

I found much great reading here with lots of ideas worth contemplating. I regularly follow the blogs of Norman and Reynolds so some of the concepts here were a bit more familiar. But if you are just discovering design thinking this issue is a must read.

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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