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101 Design Methods: A Structured Approach for Driving Innovation in Your Organization Paperback – October 9, 2012

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101 Design Methods: A Structured Approach for Driving Innovation in Your Organization + Ten Types of Innovation: The Discipline of Building Breakthroughs + Design Thinking for Strategic Innovation: What They Can't Teach You at Business or Design School
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Wiley; 1 edition (October 9, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1118083466
  • ISBN-13: 978-1118083468
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 7.4 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (40 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #15,043 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Amazon Exclusive: Author Vijay Kumar on The Five Basic Insights That Drive Innovation in Organizations

Today we are flooded with the term “innovation” everywhere -- in magazines, journals, conferences, books, blogs, boardrooms, and news. Yes, with this level of attention being paid to “innovation”, it feels like “innovation has arrived!” It has made a splash in the world, especially in the world of business! But, what does this really mean to an organization? How does this energy and enthusiasm impact a person’s daily activities at work?

Innovation wins customers, creates competitive advantage, and increases profit for organizations. But it’s also a notoriously risky venture to enter into, resulting in extremely low success rates and reluctance on the part of investors and decision-makers to support it. Does innovation have to be so risky and unpredictable?

I’m attacking these issues head on by articulating a vision of a reliable, repeatable, and structured approach for driving innovation in organizations.

This vision is shaped by five basic insights about innovation.

1. Innovation is a discipline, not a mystery.

Practicing innovation is not a mystery, contrary to what most people believe. Innovation is a discipline. It can be planned, practiced, improved, and excelled at. It can be formalized as a disciplined process. We can approach the practice of innovation (creating new products, services, and customer experiences) like a science, with a set of practical and rigorous methods, tools, and frameworks.

2. Innovation process needs clear modes, mindsets, and methods.

Modes provide innovators the focus necessary to deal with complex innovation challenges. Mindsets provide them with clear ways of thinking to fully understand challenges and appropriately conceive responses. Methods facilitate step-by-step actions to reach desired outcomes and end goals. This way of framing structured innovation is particularly valuable for innovators to effectively work together as teams.

Design Methods Bonus Content

3. Four primary forces shape innovations.

The primary forces that shape successful innovations are business, technology, design, and society. Business force relates to the question of what is viable in the market -- where are the market gaps and how to fill them. Technology force looks for what is possible with new emerging technologies and how to create new offerings. Design force asks the question of what is desirable for people and how to create humanized solutions. Society force is focused on what is sustainable for the community and the environment. Integrating these forces produce innovations that deliver higher user and economic value.

4. Innovations need collaboration and teamwork.

Innovations use structured and disciplined processes in which all stakeholders participate. For example, engineers, technologists, business analysts, strategists, researchers, designers, social scientists, community members, and even end-users participate in the process. Collaborative thinking at many levels of the organization is needed to conceive reliable solutions.

5. The same generic process benefits many diverse projects.

A generalized innovation process -- comprehensively conceived for observing, reframing, ideating, prototyping, and planning -- can be used to develop a wide variety of concepts like products, services, experiences, messages, channels, business models, or strategies. It can also support the needs of various types of organizations -- corporate businesses, social organizations, governments, entrepreneurs, or networked organizations.


"Design thinking is a method that can be applied to nearly any endeavor, business scenario, or social reform. In his book, 101 Design Methods, author Vijay Kumar describes how design methods can be applied as a science, rather than through art, through practical steps of observation, reframing, ideation, prototyping, and planning." (Contract Magazine, May 2013)

More About the Author

With over 30 years of experience on design innovation, Vijay Kumar is a methodologist, planner, teacher, and advisor. He is currently a professor at the Institute of Design, Illinois Institute of Technology, Chicago. Kumar is focused on developing and using structured methods to uncover unexplored innovation opportunities, conceive reliable human-centered innovations, and turn them into strategic plans for organizations. Kumar is a frequent speaker and is widely published. He regularly conducts executive workshops for transforming the innovation culture in organizations. He has consulted to numerous global organizations such as Autodesk, Bose, Daishinsha, Hallmark, Kraft Foods, Liberty Mutual, McDonald's, Motorola, Pfizer, Procter & Gamble, SC Johnson, Shell, SAS Airlines, Steelcase, T-Mobile, Target, Texas Instruments, Wells Fargo, and Zurich Financials among others.

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Customer Reviews

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Very easy to read and easy to understand.
Julie S.
Honestly, I thought this book was really good and it had a great layout which made it a pleasure to go through.
Harry Singh
What I particularly like about the author's approach is his strategic focus on mindset and method.
Freudian Slips

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

29 of 31 people found the following review helpful By Jackal on June 29, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a book I wanted to like, but it is so superficially written that I can only give it two stars. On a generous day, I might have given it three stars, but not any more.

101 design methods turns out to be 101 tools for the innovation process (from initial stage all the way through to commercialization). The whole process is covered but it is fair to say that the focus in around the prototype stage. If you have read a book about design consultancy IDEO you know pretty much the type of work described in this book (anthropological methods, Post-it notes, etc.)

Each method gets two pages, which are identically structured:
* 10% description of method. Unfortunately this section is far too short. Sadly the author provides absolutely no references. Instead he takes credit as if these methods were novel. You might think that in a book for practitioners, references are not so important. Fair response, but at the very least there should have been some references for further readings.
* 35% picture. This is generally an illustrative picture. Good.
* 20% case study. It is nice with case studies even though they are written up in a too sanitized way. In fact, the section is often a repetition of the description of the method. The most typical case study is a not-for-profit service.
* 25% practical steps. The steps are always almost identical: identity, analyze, report. This section is extremely tedious and repetitive. Totally useless material.
* 10% filler material. Also not useful.

I seriously question the author's judgement when describing the methods in this manner. Personally, I don't like the very mechanical approach of presenting the tools. Still, there will definitely be some methods that you would like to look further into.
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By J. Aceti on November 7, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
As a consultant helping teams through innovation processes I found this book to be a wonderful compendium of frameworks and techniques to help focus ideas and processes. For a consultant or trainer in business or technology innovation this book provides a ready resource of methods that can be used to help uncover, unclutter or focus thinking. For teams on their own the book can be a ready resource to guide the innovation process; what to do next in innovating new products or services. The book proposes a seven step framework that helps you walk through the innovation modes: Sense intent, Know Context, Know People, Frame Insights, Explore concepts, Frame Solutions and Realize offerings. It goes into great depth for each mode providing method and technique that will help inspire new ways of thinking about how to approach an innovation challenge.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Richard Staats VINE VOICE on November 30, 2012
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I give this book my highest recommendation!

Design has become a very popular concept in management over the past several years. Unfortunately, design has been like quantum physics in its application. It was hard to explain and the concepts often seemed to be both contradictory and useful at the same time.

In 101 Design Methods: A Structured Approach for Driving Innovation in Your Organization, Professor Kumar leverages his wealth of experience in practical design to provide a very approachable, consistent, and understandable methodology for design. The chapters are laid out in a logical sequence, and the author is ruthlessly consistent in applying the methodology. The entire book is structured, and the subsections are numbered in a way that constantly brings you back to the underlying process.

Each step is described in detail with the inputs, techniques, outputs, and information flows clearly articulated. There are examples with pictures sprinkled through every chapter.

The book is lavishly illustrated and brightly colored. (When I read the book on the commute to work, I routinely had people on the DC metro asking me to let them page through it.) It is fun to read, and I bought five copies of the book the day after I read it to immediately apply Professor Kumar's techniques to a real world, strategic issue my group was wrestling with.

The results have been phenomenal.

Bravo Professor Kumar!

Now, if you would just write a book on quantum mechanics!

In service,

The Original Dr. Games since 1993
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Freudian Slips VINE VOICE on November 21, 2012
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
This is an intelligent and excellent book for anyone who needs to direct projects, lead a team, or develop innovative programming. It takes a creative, yet systematic approach to innovation and scenario planning. It is comprehensive-- in fact a little overwhelming at first. But the graphics and design of the book make it interesting to read. What I particularly like about the author's approach is his strategic focus on mindset and method.

He presents the innovation process in seven modes: Intent, Context, People, Insights, Concepts, Solutions and Offerings. In each of these modes he covers the mindsets needed to succeed as well as suggesting techniques for capturing that mode. For instance, in the "frame" mode, he explains that the way we frame a situation can influence our perception and help us gain a clearer perspective. He then offers a variety of ways to re-frame a subject from sorting and clusters to Venn diagrams. All of these steps allow you to test out and strengthen your ideas.

This is not a quick read-- you will want to spend some time digesting the information, but I found it to be very helpful in working through a new idea at work. Not only was I able to clarify and improve my idea-- the strategic approach helped me write a proposal which was well-received by my supervisor.

I think it would be as useful to the lone entrepreneur trying to map out a plan as to a large corporation seeking to innovate.
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