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The New York Times Is Ignorant About Design's Role in Business.

Posted by: Bruce Nussbaum on March 25, 2007

The New York Times covers architecture, interior design, fashion, even landscaping thoroughly and thoughtfully but when it comes to the power of design in business, it is usually ignorant. Ask any of their fine business journalists about design thinking and their eyes glaze over. Ditto for their tech writers. You see hardly any coverage of design in the business pages, except for the bright, shiny “gizmos” that hit the market. Friedman comes at it from an innovation and foreign policy point of view but he’s a columnist. Inside the business page, design is pretty much absent.

So I was happey to see that there is a good piece on Eric von Hippel of MIT and his user-driven open source innovation in Sunday’s Business Section. Of keenest interest to me was mention of a dyi web site called Instructables, spun off from the industrial design firm Squid Labs, which offers software to companies that want to build communities of citizen product developers. The print version of the Times does not give the url and, strangely enough, the online version doesn’t link to it.

Reader Comments


March 26, 2007 3:18 AM


The New York Times also published an article titled "Inside Japan's Puzzle Palace" on Japanese puzzle company Nikoli, which helped popularize the puzzle we now know as Sudoku. (
They quote the company founder as saying that the prolific nature of the company in developing puzzles lies in the democratization of puzzle invention. This syncs up perfectly with your earlier post on democratization of design.
I blogged about the New York Times article here:

With two articles in two days on customer generated innovation I guess the NY Times is catching on to design thinking after all.

- Noel

RD (Parsons)

March 30, 2007 6:44 AM


I talked to you at Parsons-- controls on design thinking.

Speaking of ignorance in the domain of design & society, please see an initiative I have started at Parsons:


April 1, 2007 11:50 AM

In the field of organization development (another poorly understood pursuit), there is a process for building new innovations called appreciative inquiry. One of is its essential phases is design. It uses design thinking in relation to technical and social systems. The thought leader of appreciative inquiry, David Cooperrider, has been working with IDEO to better understand design thinking to enhance this phase.


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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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