Author Archives: Michael Graber

Spotting Your Organization’s Orthodoxies

Spotting Your Organization's Orthodoxies

Often the very factors of success around which you launch, build, and manage an organization can turn on you like a venomous snake. The framework that worked so well, for so long, now limits the growth of the place. At some points the factors have turned into choke points. But your organization is geared by its way of doing things, ...

Read More »

What I Tell My Team

Ask the hard questions. As a thriving consultancy, our primary vocation is providing insight that adds value to our clients. To meet this objective we have to play enlightened court jester, asking the unaskable questions those inside the company cannot ask. We also have to set the stage, carefully constructing an atmosphere of trust where we can mine issues deeply, ...

Read More »

Ethnography Alone Cannot Generate Transformative Insights

Consumer anthropology offers such refreshing insights into the marketplace, re-humanizing the relationship between people, things and stores in very profound and moving ways. This movement also has helped stores get their noses out of spreadsheet and theories and keep their eye on the customer experience. Whether in-store or online, this ethnographic sensitivity has positively been leveraged to optimize the present ...

Read More »

Culture is the Key Indicator of Innovation

An odd dynamic is taking place among the C-suite of many companies. They demand more innovation from the organization without really knowing what that means and the implications it has for the organization. Innovation requires a change in the organization, but leaders are too often unwilling to do what is required to make the changes. When an organization needs more ...

Read More »

Design Thinking as Worldview

Design Thinking as Worldview

Design thinking is considered a human-centered framework for problem solving, used in formal innovation work in many fields: health care, consumer products, software, medical devices, durable goods, services and city planning. Design thinking has been perhaps the most lauded innovation method. In brief, the phases include empathy, define, ideation, prototyping, testing and storytelling. Here’s the weird factor. The more I practice design ...

Read More »

Six Sets of Eyes for Innovation

Six Sets of Eyes for Innovation

To successfully foster an innovation, you have to look through at least six different sets of eyes. First, you have to unlearn everything you know. Admit it. You are biased, pre-programmed, and your bonus is tied into business results. Apply sincere empathy with people who do not know as much as you. To enter a beginner’s mind and renew how you ...

Read More »

Leadership Lessons from a Design Thinking Pioneer

Max DePree

The former CEO of Herman Miller, Max DePree said, “I’ve got so many MBAs, but what I need is a poet. Poets are the original systems thinkers.” This poetic mode is the critical perspective for a human-factor and design business – and Herman Miller is the most apt precursor in the design thinking revolution, so they knew the value of this ...

Read More »