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28 OCTOBER 2014

Fredrick Winslow Taylor and the Myth of Efficiency

"[Fredrick Winslow] Taylor sought to precisely measure the movements of factory workers and their timings to make them as efficient as humanly possible. This made him beloved by executives and detested on the factory floor, and it also made him one of the world's first management consultants. In a recent article in The New Yorker, 'Not So Fast,' the historian Jill Lepore takes a hard look at Taylor and his claims for scientific management. According to new research, he was a better salesman than consultant. Many of his facts were made up, and most of his results never materialized. We now know that Lillian Gilbreth, an early proponent of scientific management, had serious doubts about the movement she helped proselytize.

All this is important because Taylor, with his system of scientific management, was the father of efficiency. From scientific management we get the lust for efficiency in business. It became part of the dogma of business schools, almost none of which existed before his time. Business schools from their earliest days have promoted efficiency and the handling of business as something like industrial engineering. From operations to finance, from marketing to sales, business school education has focused on narrowing problems, identifying resources and working to get the most out of the least."

(Adam Hartung, 16 October 2009, Forbes)

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TAGS

20th century • Adam Hartung • business education • business efficiency • business growth • business inertia • business leaders • business leadership • business management • business school education • business schools • Clayton Christensencompetitive advantagecost-cutting • cultural myth • customer demand • customer satisfactiondehumanisationdisruptive innovationdogmaefficiency • efficiency in business • factory floor • factory workerForbesFordismFrederick TaylorGary Hamel • history of technology • ideationincremental improvementsincremental innovationindustrial engineering • innovation resources • Jill Lepore • legacy businesses • Lillian Gilbrethman machine • management consultant • manufacturingmanufacturing industries • measuring movement • order and control • organisation leadership • organisational problems • price wars • products and services • Rakesh Khurana • scientific management • taylorism • The New Yorkerwaste prevention • what organisations do

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
26 OCTOBER 2014

Donald Norman: The Research-Practice Gulf

"There is a great gulf between the research community and practice. Moreover, there is often a great gull between what designers do and what industry needs. We believe we know how to do design, but this belief is based more on faith than on data, and this belief reinforces the gulf between the research community and practice.

I find that the things we take most for granted are seldom examined or questioned. As a result, it is often our most fundamental beliefs that are apt to be wrong.

In this talk, deliberately intended to be controversial. I examine some of our most cherished beliefs. Examples: design research helps create breakthrough products; complexity is bad and simplicity good; there is a natural chain from research to product."

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TAGS

2010abstract models • applied social science • appropriately complex representationbreakthrough innovation • breakthrough products • call to actionChicagocomplexitydesign and innovationdesign communitydesign conferencedesign practicedesign research • design research conference • designer-centred designdisruptive innovationdogmaDonald Normanethnographic design approach • existing product categories • failure of design research • fundamental beliefs • generalised modelsHCDhuman-centred designideation • IIT Institute of Design (ID) • Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT) • incremental innovationinnovation process • innovative breakthroughs • keynote address • product developmentradical innovationrapid prototypingreal-world designreal-world projectsresearch communityresearch-practice gulf • results-driven • simplicitytesting perpetuates mediocrity • translational engineering • translational sciencewhat designers do • what industry needs

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
24 MARCH 2013

Copenhagen Institute of Interaction Design: Prototyping

"As design–led and practice–based research institution, CIID has expertise in directly engaging with design and technological materials to produce prototypes. Prototyping is at the center of CIID's design culture; it provides us with the methods and means to probe future scenarios, situate design discourses and test design and technical implementations in real world contexts. Our prototyping methods range from simple paper based co–creation props to functional physical prototypes of complex systems. In addition, video scenarios and various experience prototyping methods are employed, in the early stages of our research, in order to bring forward surprisingly foundational insights about the 'role' a technological object or system may have in the real world. Overall, insights derived from all prototypes feed back into our research process to re–iterate over its concepts or focus. With clear probing or prompting goals, we can better use sketches in materials, hardware and software to think and communicate about research, technologies and their societal impacts."

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CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
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