Quote by IDEO General Manager, Tom Kelley

The world must think designers are just a bunch of failures

The nice thing about being a designer is that we can come in to a project with wide eyes and open arms and really embrace the problem at hand. Something that is tough for an organization to do is to let go of the misgivings and just try something new. Test an assumption. If you find that it doesn’t work then tweak it and try again. The act of iteration itself goes through a metamorphosis over time to suit the needs of the changing project, audience, marketplace, audience and context.

The important thing here is not the failure. It’s that you’re actively engaged in making the product/service/design better for people. You’re learning from the failures and, much like a scientist, you’re testing hypotheses, tweaking variables and comparing against a control.


Fail often so you can learn more and succeed sooner.

Many of today’s mainstream approaches to product or service design borrow from the “new” and “innovative” ideas that originate from a peripheral edge of the design world. Terms like collaboration, iteration, and innovation are all now commonly used buzzwords that can often be thrown around bordering on jargon and, in some cases, just plain silliness.

This series on Buzzwords will shed light on what certain terms and phrases mean from a designer’s point of view and aims to help build stronger designer-client relationships everywhere.

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