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52 Truths for Winning At Business Without Losing Your Self--New Book by Alan Webber

Posted by: Bruce Nussbaum on June 10, 2009

Alan Webber, co-founder of Fast Company magazine, has a new book out called Rules of Thumb. He has 52 of them. I’m going to start calling what i think are the best rules out during the summer. Food for Provocation:

Rule#24 If you want to change the game, change the economics of how the game is played.

Reader Comments


June 11, 2009 5:13 AM

Bruce: Thanks for the I'm provoked to say:

I'm reminded of those seeking guidance and leadership in addressing our big problems, having climbed the virtual mountain to consult the guru and received the following..."If you want to change the game, change the economics of how the game is played. If you want to know how to change the economics of how the game is played, see the fellow two or, maybe, three mountains that'a way, or is it that'a way."

I hope Alan Webber won't mind the play on his words. His words are precisely what we need to address. BUT this is a big moment, a big opportunity caused by the global economic crisis, and we seem to spend most of this valuable time (slowly/rapidly diminishing) telling ourselves what a huge opportunity it is. Do we really want to change the game? Look around. Is there any hopeful evidence that somewhere the people most visible in creativity, innovation, design thinking, participatory reinvention (pick your fancy of the day) are mobilizing to create a big voice, big enough to insist on being heard? Is the community so arrogant (as you noted recently) that it needs to be invited? Is the problem so big that it lies outside the bounds of new strategic concepts derived from innovation, or is the community so fragmented at present as to be incapable of large-scale effort?

I've commented to Tim Brown, relative to his recent blogs on employing design thinking to conceive a new set of economic values, if the design community is up to the big game, it stands little chance of success in directly confronting the economic powers now in place in a contest to establish a new economic system. We need a concept that obliges the "old school" to participate, if for no other reason than to protect their future interests. In my view, a new distinct voice (a coalition)is badly needed and a strategic concept for evolving a new system. It would entail a design scale heretofore not attempted. But the design community knows how to do this. The newest aspect of this attempt would be in the design of integrative systems for economic exchange; and that is precisely where the new set of economic values will emerge.

The current global crisis will be resolved. And,it doesn't need "design thinking" to emerge. The design community can continue to work around the margins of the problem, having no more effect than it presently is making. In which case it should not be disappointed or surprised to find itself marginalized.


June 11, 2009 5:13 PM

While I haven't seen whether you have allowed my first comment to the Alan Webber "Rules", may I be allowed a second comment as well?

I haven't seen the other 51 rules as yet, and I want to thank you for posting #24 first. If we are aware of the times we live in, it is difficult to think of a "rule" more timely than #24. So, I would like to ask you if you would receive comments from readers on an additional rule:

Rule #53 If you want to change the economics of the game, (your sage advice here).

It will be interesting to see whether there is a semblance of consensus (or even interest) on how to move to center stage and employ innovation/design in a global debate on a strategy for change in the economic game.

I hope the response might give guidance on how or whether the community wants to mobilize an effort.

Thanks, again. DPK

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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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