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Change by Design: How Design Thinking Transforms Organizations and Inspires Innovation

3.88  ·  Rating details ·  9,909 ratings  ·  371 reviews
The myth of innovation is that brilliant ideas leap fully formed from the minds of geniuses. The reality is that most innovations come from a process of rigorous examination through which great ideas are identified and developed before being realized as new offerings and capabilities.

This book introduces the idea of design thinking‚ the collaborative process by which the d
Hardcover, 272 pages
Published September 29th 2009 by HarperBusiness (first published 2009)
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Tim Chang
Dec 29, 2012 rated it really liked it
Met Tim Brown at IDEO for the book launch party of this title, and was inspired to read it after listening to his talk about the subject. Some good high level frameworks and ideas, and it makes me wish that I could experience this process in action as part of an IDEO project team sometime!

Notes and key takeaways:
1) Design thinking starts with divergence (expand range of options).
2) Take a human-centered approach (vs existing business constraints or tech-based approach): observe real user behavio
Feb 02, 2010 rated it it was ok
This was easy to read and on occasion insightful, but it felt like a really long advertisement/infomercial for IDEO. It would have been much better if he concentrated on just a few clients/ideas rather than trying to say everything in one book. Felt like I was at a party stuck in a corner with someone doing a lot of name dropping!

His very brief chapter on sustainable design was pathetic and not worth his effort. What is the point in telling a story about finding a discarded toothbrush you desig
Wendy Yu
Jan 26, 2011 rated it it was ok
Sorry sir, you are an amazing designer, philanthropist and inspiration to us all, but you are not a good writer. The book attempts to introduce the philosophies that propelled IDEO to the top of the world in design strategies and innovations, not at the level of making something look pretty, but at radical shifts in perception and usage. Brown equally emphasizes the importance of market success and global povery-reduction, successfully arguing that design problems should encompass childhood obes ...more
Sebastian Gebski
Jul 05, 2015 rated it liked it
A bit disappointing.

My expectations may have been set too high due to recommendation I've got but the honest truth is that if you're aware of modern practices in software development, you won't find anything new here. Even if this book is filled with plenty of real-life cases, I just couldn't help myself missing the 'substance'.

All of them seemed so ... obvious: Experiments? Yes! Prototyping? Yes! Get out of the ivory tower and touch the real life? Yes! Cooperate with users? Yes! Service instead
Jul 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
Tim Brown's seminal paper on Design Thinking is almost a holy text to me. So when the author talks of transformation change by design, it is a must read on my shelf!

There's a lot right with the book. As a practitioner, you are able to relate to the very real challenges of applying design thinking to transformation and the real life case stories are rewarding. The different chapters are thought through and explains the critical tenets of design thinking of human-centered approach, prototyping, d
Jul 01, 2011 rated it did not like it
Tim Brown preaches the virtue of the designer and asks people and businesses responsible for hiring them to give them more time, money, and resources to do their job while at the same time claiming that operating within tight, unforgiving constraints is the realm in which the designer thrives.

Although there were a few valuable insights regarding the design process here, it wasn't anything that couldn't have fit in a one hour lecture and written on a standard square yellow sticky note.

Many busine
Sep 26, 2019 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mar 19, 2016 rated it liked it
This is a good book if what you're looking for is an introduction to design thinking. If you're a bit familiar with the concept, though, or have been using it to some extent, it's mostly a series of quick examples by Tim Brown of IDEO, none of which are highly illustrative. Also, given that this book came out in 2009, some of the examples are no longer current. (E.g., Nokia a leader in mobile devices?)

Still, it's useful to hear about design thinking from one of its originators.
Michael Austin
Jan 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2019
A few years ago, I attended a "design thinking" workshop at an administrator's conference. The presenter began by stating that a person who goes into a hardware store looking for a quarter-inch drill bit doesn't really want a quarter-inch drill bit. They want a quarter-inch hole. A design thinker is someone who starts with the question "how do we produce a quarter-inch hole" instead of "where do we find a quarter-inch drill bit." At the time, this struck me as an important observation.

Flash forw
Rachel Bayles
Jun 14, 2016 rated it liked it
Nice overview of design thinking and how it can be applied to all facets of life. Fun and informative stories by one of the industry leaders. Shows how everyone can (and probably should) be a design thinker in whatever their life's endeavors are. Good summer read and organized to be able to review, when actually trying to use the ideas in your own life. ...more
Mar 25, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: management
One of my reference books for integrity and simplicity of the processes that I will be creating.
Petr Augustin
Sep 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Lovely book on design thinking, optimism, changing what it means to be human and enviromentalism.
Mar 17, 2019 rated it liked it
I think IDEO may be one of the coolest companies around today and was hoping that reading Tim Brown's "Change by Design" would provide a technicolor version of not only numerous specific projects IDEO has undertaken, but how they do what they do. Unfortunately this book was disappointing which may be due to several things.
- First, seems that Brown provided enough detail describing several projects, but then he'd stop short before one could glean the details of what they accomplished and how the
Henry Davis IV
Jul 21, 2021 rated it it was ok
While this book provides some great examples of how to apply design in a broad-based manner in business settings, I would have liked to see a bit more detail in the case studies presented, not to mention maybe a case study covering an unsuccessful design attempt that helped to place design in the context of other forms of planning, executing, etc. (i.e. not every task is a design task, although a lot of tasks can benefit from design). This underlies this book's biggest fault. With the author's e ...more
Mar 26, 2019 rated it liked it
I got this book as a gift from OpenIDEO at their Gather seminar in California and it's got handwritten messages from my global Chapter friends in it so I'm tempted to give it a four out of sentimentality but...

I can't.

While this book contains many underline-worthy statements, questions and case studies it falls short of showing you "the how".

What's irritating about it is the seemingly infinite amount of organisation names you have to read which creates a kind of stop-start-y reading experience.
Good introduction to design thinking

Had no idea about ideo or this kind of design but this book was a kind introduction. The first half had much more meat on the bone - for me - than the second. If you find yourself reading it and notice you're bored, you're probably done with this book.
Ahmad Badghaish
Good book. The story of IDEO’s Tim Brown and how design thinking would shape our industrial future.
Boni Aditya
Jul 03, 2020 rated it it was ok
If you are a designer, you would have heard most of the content of the book already and you would have experienced it in your work too!

Essentially each chapter of the book is about a discipline in design, for example one chapter is dedicated to UX Research, another chapter to Prototyping, another one to Interaction Design/Experience Design, another to Service Design, finally a chapter dedicated to Visual Story Telling, without actually taking their names. Each of these chapters serve only as an
João P
Mar 10, 2019 rated it liked it
Interesting read, but seemed to be more targeted at Corporates than Startups.
Soumya Tejam
Feb 20, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: non-fiction, business
Tim Brown is an inspiring design thinker, but perhaps not the best writer. You get the core themes about design thinking—a human-centered approach, divergent thinking, rapid prototyping, extreme users, etc. But the examples fall short of intuitive because they aren't well developed in the writing. Still a worthwhile read for an introduction to space, but a miss if you're looking for depth and detail. ...more
Dmitry Kholodov
Oct 03, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: entrepreneurship
A good collection of business cases how different entrepreneurs and companies innovated, but lack in describing the methodology well. Apart from more or less obvious advices like collaborate with the consumer, sketch, brainstorm and converge etc I didn’t learn much new.
Mar 22, 2017 rated it it was ok
Incredibly self-serving, overlong, rambling, vague buzzy nonsense, and 90% filler. It often reads like it was computer generated - the sentences are grammatically correct, but they don't mean anything.
I will now flip to a random page and random sentence for an example: "Insights lead to insights as seemingly insignificant physical details accumulate. A second layer of understanding is less physical than cognitive...."

On the plus side, the book has a sprinkling of ideas about how businesses can
Oct 22, 2016 rated it it was ok
My professional development group at work read this, and in the interest of a speedy review for a book that is unmercifully long for what little insight it provides, I just wish to say three things:

(1) Tim Brown's own table of contents that he provides in the inside cover of the book (don't worry, the classic format is still there in the usual place) fails the test of design thinking. It's visual, yes, and it maps the book. But it is not functional because the damn thing doesn't even include pag
Gene Babon
Oct 08, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: strategy
Change by Design is an insightful look at all sorts of organizations and how they solved challenges by working with IDEO, a global consultancy focused on helping companies innovate.

If you are new to design concepts, the following tools are discussed:
brainstorming, scenarios, storyboards, story telling, mind mapping and prototyping. Since these are right-brain tools and my brain seems to prefer functioning in left-brain mode, this book provided an adequate mind meld to get both sides to recogniz
Oksana Hoshva
May 05, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Probably one of the best books to start learning about the Design Thinking method. Very well written, easy to follow, captures your attention, so you just keep reading. It contains many examples of the method being applied across industries and tackling all kids of business challenges. You should not expect that you will learn how to apply Design Thinking after you finish the book though since it does not provide 'how to' frameworks or worksheets. But, I am sure you'll be inspired to learn more. ...more
Fred Darbonne
Feb 12, 2014 rated it really liked it
Tim Brown, CEO of IDEO, an innovation and design firm ranked among the ten most innovative companies in the world, debunks the myth that brilliant ideas, creativity, and innovation are the sole province of geniuses and specially gifted people, but are more often the result of disciplined thinking and careful observation, skills the rest of us can develop and apply. He argues that traditional organizational structures are designed for efficiency, which causes new ideas to be incremental, predicta ...more
Oct 03, 2009 marked it as to-read
Off this review:

Change By Design: How Design Thinking Transforms Organizations and Inspires Innovation
By Tim Brown (HarperBusiness)
Design is not just about making things. It’s a tool for building better organizations, communities, and governments. It’s an approach, unbound to a specific discipline—a way to organize information; to problem-solve; to synthesize new ideas. This is the crux of design thinking, a concept introduced by IDEO’s Tim Brown in Change by Design. In this “blueprint for creat
Creatingalan Black
Aug 19, 2011 is currently reading it
bought this over a year ago along with a few other books devoted to DESIGN THINKING in order to learn about what DESIGN THINKING is.

Interesting read
a little too much a memoir of IDEO
limited in its coverage of the fields of Design from where the author's principles of what he calls DESIGN THINKING come from.

Wish he had used a more linear structure to organize the development of DESIGN THINKING

Having worked in various design fields for over 20 years from licensed architect to interiors to graphics
Feb 22, 2011 rated it it was amazing
This book is being a career changer for me.

It tells us about the importance of thinking with the hands (prototyping), communicating visually and with empathy, applying in the business world the tools that were typically used by design people. Those are the Design Thinkers.

In our connected world focus on the consumer experience is a must-have capability. To be able to create this consumer-focused culture people inside the company should first have their own experience, as collaborators, to be des
Jao Bautista
Jul 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
So, I’m trying out this new thing for my #1bookamonth project. For six months now, I was able to consistently read two books a month—maybe because I’m bored—but whereas before, I read a second book for the month as a ‘palette cleanser’, now, starting this month, I’ve decided that the two books I’ll give myself time to learn from every month are books that are related to each other.

(Maybe I should now call my project #1SetOfBooksAmonth - perhaps as a way of broadening my perspective on the subje
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Tim Brown is CEO and president of IDEO. He frequently speaks about the value of design thinking and innovation to business people and designers around the world. He participates in the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, and his talks Serious Play and Change by Design appear on

An industrial designer by training, Tim has earned numerous design awards and has exhibited work at the A

News & Interviews

When author Amor Towles published his second novel, A Gentleman in Moscow, in 2016, everything changed.   Towles’ first novel, Rules of...
33 likes · 4 comments
“At IDEO we have dedicated rooms for our brainstorming sessions, and the rules are literally written on the walls: Defer judgment. Encourage wild ideas. Stay focused on the topic. The most important of them, I would argue, is "Build on the ideas of others.” 9 likes
“Optimism requires confidence, and confidence is built on trust. And trust, as we know, flows in both directions.” 7 likes
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