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July, 2012

The Business Model Canvas (by Alexander Osterwalder)

The goal of the Business Model Generation canvas, and accompanying book, was to simplify the business language. Alexander Osterwalder and a huge team of people created a beautifully designed book and model that has become the handbook for everyone from entrepreneurs to executives to designers. Use their business model canvas to help build out ideas and establish the business fundamentals. Going through this process will strengthen your idea and make it more defensible from a business perspective. It will also help you question your idea innew ways (what partners to include, what type of value, what are the costs, etc…).

Design Thinking Won’t Save you (by Helen Walters)

 

This is essential reading from Helen Walters, a design researcher at Doblin and well-known writer on the topic. In it she discusses some of the misconceptions of design thinking and why some people discourage it. She explains what design thinking is, but even more importantly explains what it is not. When organizations misuse design thinking or set false expectations, it can be a recipe for disaster. Use it instead as a strategic tool in specific situations. This is a great article to read before trying to explain the topic to people in your organization or team.

 

Launch: The Design Gym

How do you solve real world prob­lems with a human-centered lens? How do cre­ate a prod­uct that is effec­tive and beautiful? Where can you find a com­mu­nity of thinkers that have the skills and process to solve wicked prob­lems? Where do you find an acces­si­ble avenue to learn design think­ing that is prag­matic and  affordable?

A few months ago, myself and a group of strate­gists and design­ers set out to solve this chal­lenges and emerged with a really excit­ing concept:

The Design Gym, a com­mu­nity of skilled prob­lem solvers through a workshop-driven design think­ing cur­ricu­lum. We part­ner with orga­ni­za­tions to help them approach their prob­lems in a new way by con­nect­ing their chal­lenges with our community.

Our inau­gural project is a week­end long inten­sive at the Brook­lyn Brain­ery from July 27th — 29th, 2012. We’re kick­ing the week­end off on Fri­day night with beers, net­work­ing and an intro to design think­ing. Sat­ur­day will be a deep dive into the design process, meth­ods and best prac­tices, and fin­ish­ing off on Sun­day with a hands on appli­ca­tion of skills solv­ing a real-world prob­lem. Don’t worry if you don’t have a design or strat­egy back­ground. We’re all here to learn, and see a prob­lem from a dif­fer­ent per­spec­tive. Sounds like you want to know more? Sign up here, spread the word (we’re on twit­ter too!) and bring a friend!

 

If you’re an organization/company/non-profit and are inter­ested in part­ner­ing with us, please feel free to email. We would love to chat with you. If you have any ques­tions, please email. If you would like to trade sto­ries about the space or learn more about the project or even just to say hi, please email. Well…I think you get the pic­ture! We will reply! Seriously.

 

Here’s to the start of something exciting!

 

July 2012 Weekend Workout with miLES

July 27 – 29 | Inaugural Weekend Intensive | Brooklyn Brainery

A weekend intensive on the design process: Fri­day night with beers, net­work­ing and an intro to design think­ing. Sat­ur­day was a deep dive into the design process, meth­ods and best prac­tices, and the workshop finished off on Sun­day with a hands on appli­ca­tion of skills solv­ing a real-world prob­lem.

For Sunday’s practice day, The Design Gym was thrilled to partner with Kristina Drury, of TYTHEdesign, who helped present the miLES projectmiLES is a real life project aimed to facilitate the transformation of 212 vacant lots and stores in the Lower East Side of Manhattan. Without attention, the vacant lots simply await gentrification, and with it a loss of much local history and cultural richness.

By listening, co-creating, prototyping and operating with residents of the LES, the ultimate goal is to build a movement for open and bottom-up urban planning. Representatives for the project joined us on Sunday night to hear the final presentations.

To view pictures from the weekend, check them out here.