It's Tough to be a Follower


The news is out. Sales of the much-ballyhood Palm Pre are…a disappointment. The new smartphone, launched to compete head-on with Apple’s groundbreaking iPhone, has lost its momentum. The Pre, which was launched June 6, got off to a good start but has faded in recent weeks. According to the Wall Street Journal, analysts projected lower sales in the current period ...

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Cooking Up Some Innovation


I’ve been thinking for a while about the perfect physical space for innovation. When we work with our clients we often are asked to help design a physical space for the team to work in. This should be a space that is open, colorful, inviting and really different from the regular work environment. The space needs to remind the people ...

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The Art of Whitespace


Being a sometime pencil sketcher, I’ve been a fan of the Wall Street Journal pen and ink stipple portraits, also known as a hedcut (that’s not a typo) since I started reading the journal in 1982. I love the fact that the portraits are most whitespace with artfully placed dots and dashes — pure black and white — and the ...

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Design Thinking For Your Writing

Pen on White

William Bostick over at Core77 wrote a terrific post called “How (Not) To Write Like a Designer.” Design thinking is how I prefer to think about my style of problem solving. I’m not alone…IDEO and Stanford’s D School coined the term, and Tim Brown’s blog is all about it. But what I liked about this particular post was that it ...

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The Elegance of My Father


by Matthew E May My father’s 78th birthday would have been this year, had he lived to see the day. It’s been ten years since his passing from complications arising from a rather rare blood disorder called polycythemia…too much blood. In honor of the decade without him, I thought I’d post part of my book that did not make the ...

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Design Driven Innovation


I was pondering recently why it can be so hard for a large firm to innovate successfully. Too often it seems we are trying to graft an innovation capability or process on top of existing teams and workflows. While these grafted processes can work effectively for a short time, while the white hot focus of management is felt, often these ...

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The Art of Seduction


by Matthew E May Just a quick weekend note. The idea behind the elegance element of seduction is very simple: limiting information creates intrigue and engagement. Why? Because not having the whole story leaves us without the symmetry we naturally seek. So our curiosity is piqued and our imaginations sparked, and off we go to chase closure. My friend Iain ...

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Toyota and Innovation by Design


Scion Exile Concept Sketch by Matthew E May I’m fortunate enough to count car designer Kevin Hunter, president of Toyota’s CALTY Design Research, among my board of muses. CALTY (California+Toyota) is one of Toyota’s most influential design centers, located in Newport Beach, CA. CALTY is involved in nearly all of Toyota’s major vehicle design programs. According to Kevin, Toyota wants ...

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Part 1 – The Power of the Question (Shanghai)

Lots of bad stuff happening in China right now. So let’s talk about some good stuff. Like the design coming out of Shanghai. Innovation, no matter where it occurs, always begins with a burning question (or questions), centered around “Is there a better way?” Artist-turned-designer Lu Kun has almost single-handedly put Shanghai on the international fashion map by pursuing three ...

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