23 September 2010

Edward de Bono

I read a talk today on design thinking in which the writer - summarizing "the basic steps" that designer's take - mentions lateral thinking. Seeing that term reminded me that Edward de Bono deserves much more credit than he's been getting for this whole phenomenon. Back in the 1960s and '70s, de Bono wrote prolifically about breaking through to new ideas. He even developed a self-taught course on how to think outside the box. I have most of his books. They're really useful - more so, I would say, than the current ones I've read on design thinking. What de Bono particularly understood was how organizations with a thoughtless group process murdered new ideas in their cradle. One observation he made to which I often return is that the bridge to a new idea is frequently a half-baked one. Rather than rejecting it out of hand, de Bono encouraged people to say "Po" - as opposed to "No!" His "Po" meant "I don't see it yet, but let's keep going and see where it gets us." It's an encouragement to explore - an open-ended positive, not a turn-off.

06 September 2010

The iPad (2)

My colleague Dave Keller noted that slipping a case on it makes the iPad a different proposition from the product on its own. I agree. It feels more like a notebook that you'd naturally tote along - more resilient, less "precious," and perhaps less vulnerable to theft. I thought of getting one to take to Europe, but ruled it out, thinking it would just get stolen. In this configuration, it might survive. It's also easier to use, provided you keep it in horizontal mode. That may be a drawback of the case. The keyboard is idiosyncratic for a touch-typist like me, split vertically in a way that feels odd, although i got used to it fairly quickly. I wasn't able to touch-type. There are keyboards that pair with it, although none fold up quite as elegantly and compactly as the Palm accessory. I'd have to do a field test to see what it would be like to navigate a city with an iPad. The iPhone or iPod Touch may be the better choice, as you can keep it in a pocket.

05 September 2010

The iPad

I borrowed my team's iPad for a second weekend. The screen is amazing - very high definition and vivid colors. It loads files fast, lends itself to reading text, and shows real promise as a medium for design-focused content. As I write this, Apple's competitors are moving at lightning speed to get "answering" products on the market. Cost to value will surely become an issue very quickly. Then there's the question of Flash - e.g., some Youtube posts won't run on the iPad. That's a calculated gamble - one that competing products are already exploiting. Don't count on Apple standing still! Meanwhile, the iPad is on our map. It's a natural for design-firm business development.