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Weekly Inspirations: March 17th, 2017

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

Mark Zuckerberg and Steve Jobs Would’ve Failed Without This

In their book, The Knowledge Illusion: Why We Never Think Alone, researchers Steven Sloman and Philip Fernbach draw on cognitive science and psychology to put forth a theory of the collective nature of intelligence. In this edited excerpt, they discuss the notion of shared knowledge and the advantages of communal wisdom over individual ideas. The notion of intelligence has fostered a deep confusion: We think of intelligent acts as performed by individuals even when communities are really responsible. You can see this confusion in how we think about successful companies. Internet start-up entrepreneurs share a mistaken belief with the rest of us: that ideas matter. It is conventional wisdom that the key to a successful start-up is a good idea that can capture a market and produce millions of dollars. That’s how Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook and Steve Jobs of Apple did it. Because we assign intelligence to individuals, we give the heroes all the credit by attributing their ideas to them alone. But that’s not how it works, according to some of the venture capitalists who fund new start-ups. As one of them, Avin Rabheru, puts it: “Venture capitalists back teams, not ideas.”
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Design in Tech Report 2017

  • Design isn’t just about beauty; it’s about market relevance and meaningful results.
  • At top business schools, design thinking is moving into the curriculum — driven by market demand.
  • Both McKinsey & Co and IBM have recently made appointments at their most senior levels for designers.
  • Adopting an inclusive design approach expands a tech product’s total addressable market.
  • Computational designers remain in demand at technology companies of all sizes and maturity levels.

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The Three-Hour Brand Sprint

We use our five-day Design Sprint to help teams tackle product and marketing challenges. We decided to put the brand exercises into a sprint-like process that any team can use. And the best part is: We squeezed it into just three hours. We don’t think more time necessarily yields better results. And because the process is fast, you can involve the people who really need to be there. Now, to be clear, we didn’t invent these ideas or exercises. Instead, the Brand Sprint borrows from great thinkers about branding. Laura’s favorite examples include Steve Jobs’s 1997 internal meeting at Apple, Stewart Butterfield’s essay We Don’t Sell Saddles Here, Simon Sinek’s TED talk How Great Leaders Inspire Action, Phil Knight’s Nike memoir Shoe Dog, and the work of the excellent identity agency Hello Monday. If these materials are the greatest hits, the Brand Sprint is our mix tape.
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Watch ‘High Resolution,’ a video series about design

Ever wonder how design has helped drive success for businesses like Airbnb, Facebook, Slack and IBM? How about how their teams are structured? How they operate? What their processes look like? High Resolution is bringing clarity to these questions, and we’re doing it 25 times. We’re sitting down with 25 masters of the digital design industry to learn how they approach, communicate and deploy design every single day in their businesses. They’ll walk us through their methods for using design as a competitive differentiator to win their space.
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The NYT’s New Look Is A Masterpiece Of Information Design

Readers of the print version of the New York Times opened up their papers yesterday to something new: Pages A2 and A3, located directly inside of the front page, have been completely reimagined. Gone is the corrections section, and the summary of articles within the rest of the paper. In their place is an overview of everything going on in the Times‘ universe, from video content and podcasts to the top stories from the paper’s digital version (on Thursday, it included a fact checking of Trump’s address to Congress, featuring a tweeted endorsement of the story from an MSNBC correspondent). It’s a design overhaul that draws inspiration from the “front of book” concept common to many magazines.
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Using Digital Diaries to Better Understand Users

People love to share. They love writing about their opinions and feelings online and have been doing so for almost 20 years, ever since diary platforms like LiveJournal and Open Diary launched back in the late-nineties. It’s no wonder then that digital diary studies have become an increasingly insightful research practice for user experience designers to tap into and learn more about how their users are engaging with a product or service. “In general it’s a way of getting more direct insight into what people are really doing in their lives with a particular product during those times when we can’t actually be in the field with them or have them in a lab observing their behavior,” said Siri Mehus, principal UX researcher at Blink UX, a Washington-based user experience consulting agency.
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