When a book is published by one of the most prominent thought leaders on design thinking, you can be sure it’s going to be a classic before even reading it. When that someone is also leading IDEO, the worlds biggest innovation company, you can except a great mix of theory and practice. This is exactly what Tim Brown managed to do in his book Change by Design.
Looking back in a few years, Change by Design will definitely be seen as a milestone for the design community. It’s the first book that combines all the key aspects of design thinking in a well written bundle that is enjoyable to read.
The book is spilt into 2 parts: 1) what is design thinking 2) where do we go from here. The first part is very much about how design thinking translates itself into the real world. It’s not enough to just think in a certain way. You need to translate that thinking into doing in order to make a change. In some way you could say that Tim has reversed engineered the work “people who change the world” have been doing and translated that into the fundamental principles. Along with that he reveals the connections between the principles.
The second part could be described as “all the things you run into when you want to put design thinking into practice“. Running a service design agency I can very well relate to all the things Tim describes in this section. From convincing clients that they should embrace the uncertainty in design the design process to the fact that it’s often not about finding the right answer by about the right question. The answer to a lot of these challenges is often pretty simple, you need to work with people that have a certain mindset. Right away thats also the biggest challenge of them all.
Design thinking is a mindset that manifests itself in many characteristic -and practical- actions.
Along with Subject to Change, Change by Design is the book I would recommend to anyone who wants to get into service design.
If you are already into design thinking and have been following everything that is going on in service design then don’t except to find a lot of new things in this book. This book will be more of an overview for you and not so much an exploration of something new. You’ll probably enjoy watching Tim’s talk at Google.