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On My Terrible Spelling. Sorry.

Posted by: Bruce Nussbaum on March 28, 2007

I want to apologize for my poor spelling. I know it’s really, truly bad. For some, such as Robin Galguera, poor spelling suggests poor thinking. I hope not.

The truth of the matter is that I’ve never been a good speller. I blame that on skipping the grade where we were taught grammar (but I know that’s just a kid’s story). My spelling, if not my actual words and sentences, have never been able to keep up to my idea flow. I talk with my hands shaping my thoughts and they seem able to keep up.

I can’t read maps either. I can map out a neighborhood or an area by walking or driving it and memorizing the journey. But I can’t get the spatial stuff right on paper. What does that mean? Map dyslexia (is that spelled correctly?)

So what about spell-check? Well, when I write “formally” for BW, IN or books, I use spell-check. There is a certain formality to this kind of writing that requires it. But blogs are funny—they are conversational. And conversations are ungrammatical. Tape them and any journalist knows you have to clean up the Q & A. In this tone, I don’t clean up my spelling. I keep it within a conversational frame. If I stopped to check on my terrible spelling, it would slow me down and end that conversational flow.

So I don’t. And I’m sorry for the grimaces that many of you have from time to time when reading this blog.

Also, I haven’t figured out if Moveable Type even has Spell-Check. Does it?

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Reader Comments

Ben Arent

March 29, 2007 12:00 AM

Good to know I'm not the only one! I have always had problems with spelling, and i blame it on bad hands. I have learnt to be lazy and have setup MS word to autocorrect words that I always spell wrong. Not becuase i don't know how to spell them, just because my fingers type the letters wrong.

I get pretty embrassed when i go back and read some of work. I think this is because i think as i type, and its as fluent as speach.

Think in drawings, they say a 1,000 words anyway.

! (i left the spelling errors in for you bruce!)

Douglass Turner

March 29, 2007 02:14 PM

Sorry, I couldn't resist: that's "spatial" not spacial.

Bruce Nussbaum

March 29, 2007 02:42 PM

Thanks Douglas. That one is so bad, I have to change it.

Ralf Beuker

March 29, 2007 08:06 PM

Bruce, given that you use Firefox either version 1.5 or the latest 2.XX you will find the following list of dictionaries helpful:

they are all compatible with the default built-in spell check of Firefox and the spell check is active in every window/frame of any page you've opened in Firefox.

Hope you find it useful.


March 31, 2007 08:17 AM


Don't fix your poor spelling. You can use softwares to fix it for you and thats fine but Please don't be careful while you write.

As you may be well aware of being creative and innovative uses different parts of your brain.

Being organized and doing things square right is obviously the opposite part.

The business inertia that forces you to do this is exactly what kills innovation. I teach innovation in a business school (in Japan) but thats why my main theme is unlearning.

Getting lost on maps is also typical. Same as me by the way :-)
Thanks god we got GPS on cars and even on mobiles these days.


March 31, 2007 04:06 PM

I think we are all in the same boat on this one.

Auto-correct is the biggest killer! It doesn't even give you a chance to fix an error, you just go on assuming that you always spell words correctly!

Bart Huthwaite

April 1, 2007 07:07 PM

Bruce: Your Parson's talk is write on. (And your spelling is ok by me.) I would like to share with you answers to the questions of how to measure design and innovation in real time and how to make innovation systematic, disciplined and repeatable where it counts most--at the front line of project leadership. Innovation will never become a corporate reality until it is a management process. Clients of ours who are quietly doing this include Microsoft where systematic corporate innovation is being applied to developing emerging markets, General Dynamics Bath Iron Works where it is being used to design the new stealth Navy destroyer, the DDG-1000, and a number of others. The "how to" of front line systematic corporate innovation is now being offered as the core of the University of Michigan College of Engineering Center for Professional Development. Please see for some background. I have been a fan of your writing and would appreciate sharing some thoughts with you, and perhaps your readers. I have been in the game of "hands on" coaching design/innovation teams for almost thirty years at the ground level. Is there a time/number I may reach you by phone? You can always reach me at my cell, 941-258-8281 or through Emily at my office, 906-847-6094. Many thanks. Bart Huthwaite, Sr. or

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Want to stop talking about innovation and learn how to make it work for you? Bruce Nussbaum takes you deep into the latest thinking about innovation and design with daily scoops, provocative perspectives and case studies. Nussbaum is at the center of a global conversation on the growing discipline of innovation and the deepening field of design thinking. Read him to discover what social networking works—and what doesn’t. Discover where service innovation is going and how experience design is shaping up. Learn which schools are graduating the most creative talent and which consulting firms are the hottest. And get his take on what the smartest companies are doing in the U.S., Asia and Europe, far ahead of the pack.

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