Ulrich News – April 2014

1. Launch of Fourth Session of my Free Course Design: Creation of Artifacts in Society (via Coursera)

Tomorrow my free on-line course Design: Creation of Artifacts in Society begins for the fourth time. If you’ve always been interested in design, particularly product design, this is a great opportunity to learn a lot about the subject while pursuing a project of your own choosing. Register here http://www.coursera.org/course/design

If you’ve already taken the course, spread the word, and tell your friends. I’d love to have them join us.

2. Innovation Diagnostic

I recently developed a workshop for a large US company based on needs we identified through a set of executive interviews and a follow-up survey. If you are interested in a diagnostic of innovation performance in your organization, the survey may be helpful. Here is an Excel spreadsheet showing the survey questions. Each question was posed as an agree-disagree statement. For instance, to what extent do you agree or disagree with the statement “MyCompany invests sufficient resources in opportunities that are likely to pay off on a 2-5 year time horizon.” If you’d like to use the diagnostic, just substitute your company name for “MyCompany” and import into your favorite survey tool. The Excel document may be used to report the results — calculating average scores.

3. Creation of the Aeropress Coffee System

I read a fascinating story about the creation of the Aeropress coffee system. It made me want to tackle some simple, almost universal, design challenge and create something great. It’s so inspiring to see this kind of success. (Incidentally, that blog is a clever way to build backlinks on the web. Kudos to Priceonomics.)

aeropress coffee system

Aeropress Coffee System from Priceonomics Blog

4. The Fleeting Lifespan of Product Categories

This is a compelling video of middle-school-aged children trying to figure out what a Sony Walkman is and how it works. There are two lessons: (1) damn, I’m old and (2) an industry-changing blockbuster product like the Walkman may only persist in the minds of the public for 20-30 years.


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