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Weekly Inspirations: September 11th, 2015

Here are the things that I think are worth reading and checking out this week:

John Maeda: Fall in Love with Technology through Great Design

I really like this 99u talk from John Maeda about what can make us fall in love with tech again? His conclusion: “The new economic climb will be powered by great design.” His new mission is work with both startups and “end-ups”to help best infuse design principles into its leadership and staff. To accomplish this, he urges leaders to elevate the importance of designers while overlooking failure as the worst outcome. Instead, he says, the losing result is staying stagnant. “An institution can gravitate backwards, and as every startup knows, that’s a problem. You have to move forward right now.”
Watch the video here.

The right design at the right time

If you’re a technology entrepreneur or CEO trying to figure out what kind of investment to make in design, you might be tempted to focus on visual design: beautiful products, a sophisticated brand, and indescribably cool style. There are plenty of successful companies with beautiful products. And visual design is the most noticeable kind of design — it’s what we often think of first when we think of design. Many of the successful yet “poorly designed” companies used as examples — e.g. Craigslist, or Google circa 2004 — chose not to focus on making beautiful products. They focused their design efforts elsewhere, in areas that were critical to their business. They were doing the right design at the right time.
Read the article here.

Bored People Quit

Much has been written about employee motivation and retention. You call on the motivation and retention police because you believe they can perform the legendary “diving save”. Whether it’s HR or a well-intentioned manager with a distinguished title, these people scurry impressively. Meetings that go long into the evening are instantly scheduled with the disenfranchised employee. It’s an impressive show of force, and it sometimes works, but even if they stay, the damage has been done. They’ve quit, and when someone quits they are effectively saying, “I no longer believe in this company”. What’s worse is that what they were originally thinking was, “I’m bored”. Boredom is easier to fix than an absence of belief.
Read the article here.


Few companies do design thinking better than IDEO and their new IDEO U looks like a really interesting education center for learning how to think the way they do. Its expressed purpose is that “We believe the world needs more creative leaders. IDEO U is an online school where anyone can unlock their creative potential through design thinking and collaboration.” There are classes for individuals, teams and companies so you can find the class that is right for you.
Read more about IDEO U here.

The Unfair Truth About How Creative People Really Succeed

The other week, I was invited to a dinner hosted by a friend. Those attending included people I’ve admired for years. Halfway through the dinner, I silently asked myself, “How did I get here?” For years, I heard people talk about their influential friendships and subsequent success, and I would seethe with envy. It seemed unfair. Of course those people were successful. They knew the right people. They were in the right place at the right time. They got lucky. Years later, I would discover that success is born of luck (I don’t think any honest person can dispute that). But luck, in many ways, can be created — or at very least, improved. The truth is life is not fair. For creative work to spread, you need more than talent. You have to get exposure to the right networks. And as unfair as that may seem, it’s the way the world has always worked. The good news, though, is you have more control over this than you realize.
Read the article here.

Designers Should Design, Coders Should Code

t’s an old argument: should designers code? And it gets a lot of people up in arms, some in favor while others not so much. Yet everyone wants the Unicorn. You know the type: designers who can craft stunning visuals, plan winning user experiences, handle clients with panache, and code semantic HTML5 with bleeding-edge CSS3. But are those really necessary? Maybe what’s needed is someone who understands code but doesn’t necessarily live in it.
Read the article here.

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