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Building a Culture of Experimentation

Fred Dust (IDEO)
Average rating: ****.
(4.78, 9 ratings)

Why IDEO? IDEO has worked behind the walls of Fortune 100 companies and large government agencies as they learn to innovate and embrace experimentalism. From these diverse experiences in the public and private sectors, as well as within our own walls, IDEO can share illustrative stories, lessons learned and best practices for creating a culture of experimentation in any context.

Some themes the talk will address are: Transparency. Collaboration. Participation. These ideas sound great but mean little unless we also ask – “towards what end?” We will share case studies from IDEO and beyond about what makes transparency, collaboration and participation meaningful and valuable (or not) across different scenarios. Technology is just part of the solution. Technology is one enabler of transparency, collaboration and participation, but won’t work unless it’s aligned with people’s behaviors and mindsets. How do you account for, or shift, people’s expectations and actions? IDEO will provide examples where a great technology idea was put in place but failed due to poor execution and lack of empathy around the necessary behavior change as well as an example where technology enabled collaboration and participation by accounting for these human factors. Prototype is a mantra, not a noun. Our motto is “fail often, in order to succeed sooner (and learn faster).” We demand that we constantly learn from our experiments/mistakes and feed that data back into our process and projects. A culture of experimentation requires care and nurturing. IDEO will provide compelling stories around how to cultivate ‘prototype’ as a mantra in your organization. Just do it. Building a culture of experimentation is a great long term goal, but what can I do in the short term? Since IDEO has the unique viewpoint of being inside our client organizations, we will uncover big obstacles that private and public organizations face when trying to move to a place where experimentation plays a more pivotal role. Anecdotes for the “yeah, but’s”. IDEO will address a handful of the most common roadblocks we have heard in the government space around experimentalism and the risk-taking it implies.

We will wrap up the talk with 5 design principles about how attendees can begin meaningful experimentation in their own organizations. These principles will be universally applicable, whether one comes from a start up or a huge government agency. Some examples of design principles are:

- Make change tangible – make changes in work environment to symbolize the organization you want to become and something to point to. - Engage everyone you can in envisioning the future – bring together diagonal, cross-section of the organization to inspire new thinking about challenges. Engage people at all levels, from the janitor to the leaders.

IDEO is a global innovation and design consultancy. We use a human-centered, design-based approach to help business, government, education, and social sector organizations innovate and grow. IDEO’s is known for its product design capability – as seen with the first mouse for Apple and the first soft handle toothbrush for Oral-B. IDEO has greatly expanded from product design and now integrates a variety of disciplines such as human factors, business thinking, and organizational design to benefit spaces, interaction and experiences. IDEO’s award-winning work includes service design for Bank of America (Keep the Change program), concept and strategy design for CDC and experience design for American Red Cross (the donor experience). As a result, IDEO has won more IDEA awards than any other company, and has been ranked as one of the most innovative companies by Fast Company (2009) and Boston Consulting Group (Business Week, 2007).

Some relevant links: From WIRED: “What Obama Is Learning from Facebook, Google and Ideo” http://www.wired.com/epicenter/2009/08/what-the-obama-administration-is-learning-from-facebook-google-and-ideo/

From Fast Company: “Want to Improve Democracy? Try Design Thinking” http://www.fastcompany.com/blog/linda-tischler/design-times/can-design-thinking-improve-democracy

Fred Dust

IDEO

Fred Dust is a Partner and a Practice Lead for IDEO, the global design and innovation firm. At IDEO, Fred leads Systems at Scale, the group responsible for helping clients with large systemic infrastructural questions from governmental shifts, to behavior change, and beyond. During his tenure at IDEO, Fred has helped guide the realization of a future-focused education center at Stanford; taken Nike executives shopping; and worked with patients and staff to help build innovative service models for Mayo Clinic and Kaiser Permanente. Most recently, he helped The American Red Cross redesign the donation experience and the Transportation Security Administration evolve airport security. Fred is a member of the Board of Governors at Parsons The New School, and also acts on the Advisory Board of the Aspen Institute. He has taught classes at California College of the Arts and at the School of Environmental Design at the University of California at Berkeley, as well as holding numerous guests professorships including the Bruce Goff lectureship at the University of Oklahoma. In addition Fred lectures widely on varied topics from design methodology to future experience trends, and has written for numerous publications including his latest article on Designing Systems at Scale for Rotman Magazine. Fred and IDEO have also published a book on the design of spaces titled Extra Spatial (Chronicle Books, 2003), and guide books that define the essence of exceptional experiences through the lens of a city titled Eyes Open: New York and Eyes Open: London (Chronicle Books, 2008). Prior to joining IDEO Fred was a project architect at Fernau and Hartman where he worked on a variety of retail and corporate projects including the Smith & Hawken headquarters, Smith and Hawken retail prototype, and Oxygen Media Networks. Fred also spent 8 years working in the Art world with Hotwire Productions, the SFMOMA, Galeria De la Raza and other organizations, and also worked independently with various artists supervising the development of several interactive art installations as well as aiding in the production of numerous film video projects. Fred holds a bachelors degree in art history from Reed College and a masters of architecture from the School of Environmental Design at University of California, Berkeley.

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Picture of Nicholas Gruen
Nicholas Gruen
05/26/2010 4:20pm EDT

Excellent Presentation

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