Exposing the Magic of Design

A Practitioner's Guide to the Methods and Theory of Synthesis


About the author
Jon Kolko is the Vice President of Design at MyEdu, in Austin, Texas. Jon is also the Founder and Director of Austin Center for Design, an educational institution teaching interaction design and social entrepreneurship. He has worked extensively in the professional world of interaction design, solving the problems of Fortune 500 clients. His work has extended into the genres of consumer electronics, mobile, web, supply chain management, demand planning, and customer-relationship management, and he has worked with clients such as AT&T, HP, Nielsen, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Ford, IBM, Palm and other leaders of the Global 2000.

Prior to joining MyEdu, Jon has held leadership positions at Thinktiv, a venture accelerator in Austin, and at frog design, a global innovation firm. He was also a Professor of Interaction and Industrial Design at the Savannah College of Art and Design, where he was instrumental in shaping the Interaction and Industrial Design undergraduate and graduate programs. Jon has also held the role of Director for the Interaction Design Association (IxDA), and Editor-in-Chief of interactions magazine, published by the ACM.

About Exposing the Magic of Design
As the world deals with increasing complexity — in issues of sustainability, finance, culture and technology — business and governments are searching for a form of problem solving that can deal with the unprecedented levels of ambiguity and chaos. Traditional "linear thinking" has been disparaged by the popular media as being inadequate for dealing with the global economic crisis. Standard forms of marketing and product development have been rejected by businesses who need to find a way to stay competitive in a global economy. Yet little has been offered as an alternative. It is not enough to demand that someone "be more innovative" without giving him the tools to succeed.

Design synthesis is a way of thinking about complicated, multifaceted problems of this scale with a repeatable degree of success. Design synthesis methods can be applied in business, with the goal of producing new and compelling products and services, and they can be applied in government, with the goal of changing culture and bettering society. In both contexts, however, there is a need for speed and for aggressive action. This text is immediately relevant, and is more relevant than ever, as we acknowledge and continually reference a feeling of an impending and massive change. Simply, this text is intended to act as a practitioner's guide to exposing the magic of design.

The text includes contributions from:
Rachel Hinman, Nokia; Beth Johnson, Design Continuum; Paul Gould, MAYA; Hugh Dubberly, Dubberly Design Office; Lauren Serota, frog design; Colleen Murray, Jump Associates.

What Others Are Saying
"Structured in three logical parts-theory, business value, and practical guidelines-Kolko's book is a must-read for those looking for a clear explanation of how to move from design research to design solutions." Mark Vanderbeeken, Senior Partner, Experientia

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