Change by Design Book Summary By Tim Brown

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Change by Design (2009) is a comprehensive book that provides an interdisciplinary approach for developing solutions for any kind of innovation challenge.

In this step-by-step guide, you'll be able to create the stories and inspirations which will help you come up with the innovations of tomorrow.

The book helps you learn how to design in an effective way by providing guidelines on how to understand customers' needs, brainstorm possible solutions and ultimately test and refine the best ideas.

You'll also gain insight on how to use design tools like sketching, prototyping, and visualization to streamline your innovative process.

Lastly, it encourages readers to become more collaborative in their design processes by exploring potential opportunities with stakeholders outside of the organization.

Change by Design

Book Name: Change by Design (How Design Thinking Transforms Organizations and Inspires Innovation)

Author(s): Tim Brown

Rating: 4.2/5

Reading Time: 17 Minutes

Categories: Corporate Culture

Author Bio

Tim Brown is an exceptionally talented leader in the design and innovation industry.

He is the CEO of IDEO, a worldwide firm that offers consulting services for design and invention.

Through his utilization of “design thinking”, he has achieved vast acclaim and various awards in recognition for his work with companies, governments, and other institutions around the globe.

More impressively, he authored a book called Change by Design which sums up all of his knowledge, experience, and wisdom on the power of design-thinking for problem solving and progress.

Learn How Design Thinking Can Lead To Thoughtful Innovation And Better Living


In today’s world, simply innovating something is not enough to ensure that the products and services we create are truly beneficial.

It requires something more – a special way of thinking called design thinking.

In Change by Design, you can explore what it takes to become a design thinker.

This book focuses on how to be “thoughtless” in order to produce thoughtful innovation and how thinking with your hands can be more effective than just using your head.

You’ll also learn why sharing stories is a powerful tool when it comes to creating meaningful change.

Design thinking is an important skill that enables us to solve problems creatively, empathize with users and think outside the box – all skills necessary for creating great solutions in the modern world.

Discover what it takes to become a design thinker through this insightful book, Change by Design!

Design Thinking: An Integrative Approach To Innovation For Maximum Results

To be a successful design thinker, taking an integrative approach to projects is of the utmost importance.

It’s all about combining three distinct but overlapping “spaces”: inspiration, ideation and implementation.

In each of these spaces, you have different steps to take in order to reach a successful outcome.

The inspiration space is the first step–it’s where you consider what problems or opportunities exist, and think about how you’ll use your creativity to solve them.

The ideation space is where you develop your ideas and theories and put them to the test.

And finally there’s the implementation space — once you’re happy with your idea, it’s time to introduce it into the market.

In between each space are moments where design thinkers must make sure they balance feasibility, viability and desirability.

You don’t want any one element outweighing another — rather the goal should be for all elements to work harmoniously together in order for a successful solution.

The Nintendo Wii Game Console provides us with an example that nicely balances these three qualities.

The Power Of Design Thinking: From Observation To Meaningful User Experiences

Revolutionary design solutions often come about when designers observe and allow consumers to take the lead.

This was evident in economist Peter Drucker’s belief that a designer’s job is to convert need into demand.

To do that, design thinking suggests observing people’s real-life behavior and taking advantage of the “thoughtless acts” they may not even be aware of.

Psychologist Jane Fulton Suri emphasizes how good we are at adapting our behaviors to existing circumstances which can spur creative ideas for designers who know how to look closely.

For example, an office worker trying to install cables may not have come up with the idea of labeling them had he been asked directly about his problem-solving solution, demonstrating how powerful observation can be and how it has enabled innovative breakthroughs among designers.

Design thinking goes beyond observation by encouraging customer participation in creating their own solutions to everyday needs.

As psychologist Abraham Maslow illustrated, once basic needs are met customers often appreciate experiences that fulfill higher-order needs like emotional satisfaction and meaningful engagement.

Whole Foods Market, for one, successfully uses hands-on approaches like free product samples and cooking inside the store so that customers can play a more active part in their shopping experience.

The Power Of Prototyping: Thinking With Your Hands To Generate Better Results Faster


Many of us start new projects by forming ideas in our heads, but true innovators know the power of thinking with their hands by creating prototypes.

A prototype is a powerful tool to test out an idea at the beginning of the process and quickly see how it works and how people are likely to interact with it.

For example, Apple started prototyping their first mouse with just a ball from a roll-on deodorist and a plastic butter dish!

When T-Mobile put its first product prototypes into the real world, they were able to observe how quickly users interacted with them in order to make improvements.

Prototyping not only gives birth to new ideas and potential improvements but demonstrates your idea’s viability in the marketplace.

If you want your idea to get out there faster, think with your hands and create a prototype!

How Storytelling Helps Design Thinking And Connects Customers To Products

Design thinking is a powerful tool that uses storytelling to make ideas and products more relatable to consumers.

A good story needs to include the customer’s journey from the beginning of a product’s life cycle, all the way through its use in the present.

For example, outdoor wear company Icebreaker attaches a code to each garment so customers can trace it back to its source – right down to the exact farm where Merino sheep are cared for.

They tell a story about quality and accountability.

Other design thinkers might use stories like sailors navigating from port to port, with each chapter describing a problem they encountered along their journey.

Taken as features of a system, stories encourage customers to be active participants with involvement at every step.

The American Red Cross even invited people to share stories of how donors saved someones life with a blood transfusion – reminding donors of their good deeds thus motivating new donors in support of this ‘common commitment.’

Stories offer an engaging way for consumers to relate and connect with products meaningfully – ultimately creating greater customer satisfaction for both parties.

Create An Innovative Company Culture Without A Beach Hut: Embrace Failure And Assemble Smart Teams To Work Together

Smart teams and an inspiring work environment are the basis for successful innovations.

Google, Pixar, and startups all over the world demonstrate their commitment to an innovative work culture through activities such as building beach huts or adding ping-pong tables.

However, designing a creative environment doesn’t always require exotic amenities – it requires a culture that supports experimentation and allows for failure.

Without the freedom to try something new without judgement or consequence, people won’t take risks or stretch out of their comfort zones – which is essential in order to come up with novel ideas.

Further, assembling a team of diverse background and disciplines helps spark innovation.

Designers, engineers, scientists and marketers all have different insights that create an expansive canvas upon which groundbreaking ideas can be built.

Companies should find ways to bring these folks together in shared physical space where they can collaborate interdisciplinary and optimize their creativity!

In addition to encouraging people to think outside the box at a physical office space, organizations should also explore digital tools like Innocentive – sites where challenges can be posed and answered by professionals around the world in search of innovative solutions.

The Power Of “Why?”: Understanding How Asking Questions Can Spark Lasting Innovation Innovation


A good design thinker is never satisfied with accepting the world as it is and instead challenges existing solutions to a problem.

Always questioning “why?” allows designers to seek out better or unique solutions to common problems, often yielding results that can lead to an even greater innovation.

The way humans have long gathered food, for example, is just one example of how a question of “why?” could revolutionize an entire area or industry.

In this case, the question of why people spend so much time wandering around for food when they know plants grow from and also produce seeds led to the discovery of agriculture and civilization itself.

When designing something, it’s important that a design thinker not only seeks out more innovative solutions but is also willing to share her ideas in the hopes that others will take those ideas and improve upon them further.

By taking her ideas to the masses and being open to constructive criticism she can ensure her idea reaches its maximum potential with other minds helping bring it there.

Design Thinking Empowers Us To Solve Climate Change With Ingenuity And Creativity

Design thinking is a great way to promote change by encouraging consumers to adopt more sustainable behaviors.

By understanding the motivations behind people’s actions, it allows designers to create solutions and products that appeal to current behavior habits while also promoting a more sustainable lifestyle.

This is especially true with energy efficiency: when customers valued style and comfort over energy efficiency, the Department of Energy shifted its focus to persuade Americans into adopting a more eco-friendly lifestyle.

From creating stylish energy-efficient products and catchy informational tools, design thinkers have been able to craft an appealing message that reaches out to more people.

It doesn’t just end there either!

To get the message across effectively and inspire people’s engagement in environmental issues, facts alone are not enough.

Rather, it takes creative approaches such as using “Drivers of Change” decks – cards containing simple facts and images – as well as looking at the entire production process from raw material extraction to disposal so that opportunities for environmentally friendly innovation may be found.

A good example of this is Pangea Organics, whose body care products employ compostable packaging containing wildflower seeds so that anyone can simply toss it in their backyard after watering it, helping create an environment healthier for everyone.

In conclusion, design thinking promotes change by encouraging consumers to adopt more sustainable behaviors through identifying customer behaviors while creating eco-friendly solutions that are sold with values such as style and comfort.

Wrap Up

In Change by Design, authors Tim Brown and Barry Katz provide an insightful look into the design process and how it can be used to produce real-world innovation.

Through the idea of fluidity and bringing different people together in a creative way, the book shows us that meaningful change comes from collaboration with different perspectives in mind.

The authors also offer great advice on how to put this philosophy into practice.

One of their recommendations is to ask “Why?” once a day.

This reflects the importance of being open-minded about second-guessing everything as a way of coming up with unique solutions for problems.

Overall, Change by Design provides a powerful message about the potential for transformation when we employ collaborative design thinking to create meaningful impacts on our lives.

The actionable steps provided are sure to help anyone looking to take their problem solving skills to the next level.

Arturo Miller

Hi, I am Arturo Miller, the Chief Editor of this blog. I'm a passionate reader, learner and blogger. Motivated by the desire to help others reach their fullest potential, I draw from my own experiences and insights to curate blogs.

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