Tim Brown

c. 1960

American Industrial Designer, CEO and President of IDEO, Chairman of the World Economic Forum Global Agenda Council on the Creative Economy, Author, Writer for the Harvard Business Review and The Economist

Author Quotes

Above all, think of life as a prototype. We can conduct experiments, make discoveries, and change our perspectives. We can look for opportunities to turn processes into projects that have tangible outcomes. We can learn how to take joy in the things we create whether they take the form of a fleeting experience or an heirloom that will last for generations. We can learn that reward comes in creation and re-creation, no just in the consumption of the world around us. Active participation in the process of creation is our right and our privilege. We can learn to measure the success of our ideas not by our bank accounts by their impact on the world.

Design is all about learning from doing, that?s how we evolve to the best solution.

Design Thinking says ?Design is too important to put into the hands of (just) designers.? Everyone needs to participate.

Instead of accepting a given constraint, ask whether this is even the right problem to be solving. ... A willingness to ask "Why?" ... will improve the chances of spending energy on the right problems.

Optimism requires confidence, and confidence is built on trust. And trust, as we know, flows in both directions.

The important thing is to make ideas tangible, to make them real ? say, using storyboards if it?s a narrative idea, using a model if it?s a physical idea, however you want to do it. You can act it out. The quicker you do that, the quicker the ideas start to speak for themselves rather than the person who?s promoting them.

To harvest the power of design thinking, individuals, teams, and whole organizations have to cultivate optimism. People have to believe that it is within their power (or at least the power of their team) to create new ideas, that will serve unmet needs, and that will have a positive impact.

All children draw. Somewhere in the course of becoming logical, verbally oriented adults, they unlearn this elemental skill.

Design is human-centric. It may integrate economics, but it begins with what?s useful and enjoyable.

Design thinking starts with asking the right questions.

Instead of an inflexible, hierarchical process that is designed once and executed many times, we must imagine how we might create highly flexible, constantly evolving systems in which each exchange between participants is an opportunity for empathy, insight, innovation, and implementation. Every interaction is a small opportunity to make that exchange more valuable to and meaningful for all participants.

Our objective, when it comes to the application of design thinking in schools, must be to develop an educational experience that does not eradicate children?s natural inclination to experiment and create but rather encourages and amplifies it. As a society our future capacity for innovation depends on having more people literate in the holistic principles of design thinking, just as our technological prowess depends on having high levels of literacy in math and science.

The Internet, in other words, characterized by dispersed, decentralized, mutually reinforcing networks, is not so much the means as the model of the new forms of organization taking shape. Because it is open-sourced and open-ended, it allows the energy of many small teams to be brought to bear on the same problem.

Today, rather than enlist designers to make an already developed idea more attractive, the most progressive companies are challenging them to create ideas at the outset of the development process. The former role is tactical; it builds on what exists and usually moves it one step further. The latter is strategic; it pulls "design" out of the studio and unleashes its disruptive, game-changing potential.

Although it might seem as though frittering away valuable time on sketches and models and simulations will slow work down, prototyping generates results faster. This seems counterintuitive: surely it takes longer to build an idea than to think one? Perhaps, but only for those gifted few who are able to think the right idea the first time. Most problems worth worrying about are complex, and a series of early experiments is often the best way to decide among competing directions. The faster we make our ideas tangible, the sooner we will be able to evaluate them, refine them, and zero in on the best solution.

Design is: learning by making, building in order to think.

Design thinking starts with divergence, the deliberate attempt to expand the range of options rather than narrow them down.

Instead of primary objective as consumption, explore potential of participation, where everyone actively engaged in experience.

Our real goal ... is helping people to articulate the latent needs they may not even know they have ...

The mission of design thinking is to translate observations into insights and insights into products and services that will improve lives.

Toyota is famous for using essentially a design-based approach to constantly improving the way they do things. If you look at what they do, it?s all design thinking. It?s observing what?s happening, quickly prototyping solutions and then implementing them. And they do this constantly and consistently all the time and create hundreds of improvements in a month or so. And it?s in the hands of the guys on the factory floor to do this. This isn?t a bunch of senior people coming in, seeing something?s wrong and changing it. These tools are in the hands of the shop-floor workers.

As more of our basic needs are met, we increasingly expect sophisticated experiences that are emotionally satisfying and meaningful. These experiences will not be simple products. They will be complex combinations of products, services, spaces, and information. They will be the ways we get educated, the ways we are entertained, the ways we stay healthy, the ways we share and communicate. Design thinking is a tool for imagining these experiences as well as giving them a desirable form.

Design of participatory systems will be the major theme not only for designers, but for the economy.

Design understands culture and context before beginning to create new ideas.

Invention is not the same as innovation.

Author Picture
First Name
Last Name
Birth Date
c. 1960

American Industrial Designer, CEO and President of IDEO, Chairman of the World Economic Forum Global Agenda Council on the Creative Economy, Author, Writer for the Harvard Business Review and The Economist