Diego Rodriguez

Partner at IDEO. I love creating new things and helping others do the same.

THIS CHAT HAPPENED ON December 03, 2015

Discussion

Diego Rodriguez@metacool · Partner, IDEO
Howdy! I'm Diego Rodriguez, Stanford d.school founding faculty, author of Metacool, MIT Media Lab Visiting Scientist, partner at IDEO, and EiR Emeritus at Harvard Business School. I'm obsessed with the art and science of bringing cool stuff to life, so let's talk everything from creating new ventures to the aesthetics of quality. Go ahead - ask me anything!
Avi Bitton@ajbitton
@metacool Hi Diego, thank you for being here. Recently I've been looking into Design Thinking and Product Management and I wanted to know what your suggestions are in taking the first steps towards that. I have a hard time figuring out what I really want to do. Another thing is I feel a little intimidated starting studies again since I'm 26.
Diego Rodriguez@metacool · Partner, IDEO
@ajbitton First of all, there's no better time to plant a tree than yesterday, so go for it! In a year you'll be 27 whether or not you've started studying. I went back to business school when I was 29, and it was one of the best decisions in my life.
Diego Rodriguez@metacool · Partner, IDEO
@ajbitton in terms of embracing design thinking and product management, just embrace it. As Buckaroo Banzai once said, "No matter where you go, there you are". If you want to have a career building stuff, go build a bunch of stuff. Find like-minded people and hang out with them, follow them on Twitter, read the books they recommend, go hack some code, mess around with Arduino, etc... don't get ready, get started! Good luck, Avi!
Avi Bitton@ajbitton
@metacool @ajbitton Awesome advice! Thank you very much 😃
Bridget McGraw@mcgrawbridget · Thingfully thing = physical + digital
@ajbitton I started graduate studies (first Fine Art then Interactive Telecommunications) at 29. I didn't start a business until I turned 50-something! Sorry to eavesdrop... but follow your passion!
Diego Rodriguez@metacool · Partner, IDEO
Many thanks to everyone for hanging out here and asking me some great questions! Here's a bit of inspiration for the rest of your week: http://metacool.com/alex-zanardi...
Emily Hodgins@ems_hodge · Community and Marketing, Product Hunt
@metacool Thanks for joining us today. During your career to date, what is the best piece of advice you've ever been given? Flip side - what's the worst?
Diego Rodriguez@metacool · Partner, IDEO
@ems_hodge One of the best pieces of advice I ever received was from the great designer Jim Yurchenco, who said “Don’t accept done for good. And don’t accept good for excellent". I was really lucky to have him as a mentor early in my career, and he taught me how to help a group of people keep their standards high. Bad advice? Oh my goodness... there's so much bad advice out there. I would recommend ignoring just about every business book written. If there's not rigorous research behind the ideas being promoted, skip it and read a good piece of fiction (like Don Quixote) instead. You'll learn a lot more.
Tom Charde@tomcharde · Brand + UX + Web Strategist
@metacool Hi Diego. (I'm a T-shaped, longtime fan of IDEO, design thinking, and "Change by Design".) Your question is... NASA is sending you on a one-way trip to Mars, and you get to bring a book, a CD, and a DVD. (Yes, it's an older spaceship.) Which do you bring?
Diego Rodriguez@metacool · Partner, IDEO
@tomcharde Book: Don Quixote CD: Tower of Power - Live in Living Color DVD: The Big Lebowski
Diego Rodriguez@metacool · Partner, IDEO
@tomcharde I would smuggle a Moon Hooch CD on board, too
Tom Charde@tomcharde · Brand + UX + Web Strategist
@metacool I checked with NASA; they'll allow it.
Pénélope Romand-Monnier@penelope_rm · Associate @Hardware Club
Hello Diego! Thanks for being here :) What's the last consumer product or service that caught your attention and why?
Diego Rodriguez@metacool · Partner, IDEO
@penelope_rm I really like the 21 Bitcoin Computer. I'd like to get one and start hacking around with it. It's the tip of the iceberg.
Vikas Malhotra@vikasmalhotra08 · Grad Student, Prod Innovator
Howdy Diego. Thanks for answering our questions :) In your opinion, what is the most radical product present today that can potentially change the lives of million of people across Asia & Africa.
Diego Rodriguez@metacool · Partner, IDEO
@vikasmalhotra08 For Asia and Africa specifically. Well, they are different (and very big) places, but individuals who are unbanked and off the grid, I would have to say internet, blockchain, and solar.
George Goh@ge0rgeg0h · Industrial Design Intern, NONOBJECT
@metacool Thanks for putting in the effort to try and answer our questions! What are some of the hardest types of clients you've had to work with (eg. clients who already have a solution in hand when approaching you), and how do you work things out on all fronts?
Diego Rodriguez@metacool · Partner, IDEO
@ge0rgeg0h That's a great question. What I try is to do is to not think of people being hard or easy, but to look at their situation and try and build empathy for what they're dealing with, and then try to help from there. That really helps get things moving in the right direction.
Bridget McGraw@mcgrawbridget · Thingfully thing = physical + digital
@metacool @ge0rgeg0h That's walking the talk! Empathy comes first in design thinking AND good product development.
George Goh@ge0rgeg0h · Industrial Design Intern, NONOBJECT
@metacool @ge0rgeg0h That is a brilliant perspective that is as easy to grasp as it is to forget! I will keep your words in mind :)
Brett Watson@brettewatson · Learner
@metacool Thank you for being here, we all really appreciate your time and insight! How do you organize your day, both in and out of work? To go off of that, do you think planning and rules help or hurt creativity?
Diego Rodriguez@metacool · Partner, IDEO
@brettewatson The paradox of creativity is that it loves structure and constraints, this I believe. Having a plan (even a bad one) is much better than no plan at all, because it forces you to start keeping a list of everything that could potentially bite your endeavor in the ass. I find that if I have a list of those things, then I can sleep well at night. I've been in environments where people assume that they must perpetually "defer judgment" in order to be creative, but the key is to know your key milestones, and then try to jam in as many cycles of experimentation as you possibly can in there. As we say at IDEO Futures, "Don't get ready, get started!"
Bridget McGraw@mcgrawbridget · Thingfully thing = physical + digital
Yesterday during the littleBits Electronics community call, Sugata Mitra was online answering questions. When asked about the IoT and education, he said that we have a long way to go with basic connectivity issues first. What do you think stands between smart connected devices and the education ecosystem?
Diego Rodriguez@metacool · Partner, IDEO
@mcgrawbridget Computers are still too hard to use. We have a long way to go in that respect. I have issues getting my Apple wifi router to work at home, you know?
Bridget McGraw@mcgrawbridget · Thingfully thing = physical + digital
@metacool @mcgrawbridget Yes. I have a Bose speaker that occasionally works with my laptop, rarely with my iPad, and always with my iPhone. sigh. Enjoy is onto something with their service I reckon. HBR has a nice paper on the "long tail of service" by Paul Weichselbaum. http://www.plumchoice.com/wp-con...
Joshua Lavra@joshmitro · Design for Change, IDEO
@metacool Hi Diego! Big fan of the IDEO Futures podcast. How did you go about pitching and growing the idea within IDEO? Also, what's your most mind blowing VDTBOM?
Diego Rodriguez@metacool · Partner, IDEO
@joshmitro Hi Josh, thanks for being our only listener! 8-) Seriously, we really like doing the podcast and are going to try and commit to creating two a month going forward. To your question, we didn't pitch it, we just did it. I bought a microphone for $100 and we started recording... as a result the first few are spectacularly crappy, but they are there, and just jumping in allowed us to learn and grow. I did a similar thing in 2004 when I created the first marketing blog at Intuit. I just started doing it.
Brett Watson@brettewatson · Learner
@metacool I have been in a number of 'creativity' classes at college with some being (exponentially) better than others but, all being very different. How do you think one best teach (and learn) creativity?
Diego Rodriguez@metacool · Partner, IDEO
@brettewatson I've found that the best approach is an experiential one. It's a lot like learning to play the piano: you can read books about it, you can watch videos, you can listen to other people do it, but there's no substitute for putting your hands on the keyboard while having a good teacher there to help. Whenever I teach about the design process, I try to get people doing stuff within the first ten minutes of class. It's about mileage and cycles and breaking through your own personal barriers.
Piper Loyd@ohheypipes · IDEO
What are some of the tools or products IDEO is working on to help spread creative confidence throughout organizations?
Diego Rodriguez@metacool · Partner, IDEO
@ohheypipes Hi Piper! For everyone here, Piper is the producer/mastermind behind our podcast, which I would nominate as a great way that we're working to spread creative confidence!
Diego Rodriguez@metacool · Partner, IDEO
@metacool I haven't typed this much in front of other people since my junior high typing class! Of course, that was on a manual typewriter...
Emily Hodgins@ems_hodge · Community and Marketing, Product Hunt
@metacool thanks so much for getting through all our varied questions! We've really appreciated your time and insight today. Thank you! 🙌✨
Diego Rodriguez@metacool · Partner, IDEO
That was fun. Have a great rest of 2015!
Jacqueline von Tesmar@jacqvon · Community at Product Hunt ⚡️
Hi Diego, Great to have you here! When you say aesthetics of quality, what do you mean? Please elaborate.
Diego Rodriguez@metacool · Partner, IDEO
@jacqvon It's really important for us to learn to appreciate beauty in things like the structure of an organization, the way the door of a car closes, or how a package is wrapped. It's too easy to reduce quality to a discussion of statistics and the like... this is what I mean by the aesthetics of quality. When I was an engineering student I took an awesome class from legendary Stanford Professor Jim Adams called "Quality". We did things like hammer forge iron (by hand), crawl around on tanks, and blow up a watermelon. That was the best class on quality that I ever took.
Hugo Filipe Ribeiro@hugofiliper · Founder and CEO | Magikbook
Hi Diego! When you look back to what you've done, which one of your ideas, that you had low expectations, became much more successful? Do you know why it happen? Thanks!
Diego Rodriguez@metacool · Partner, IDEO
@hugofiliper I try to practice "strong ideas weakly held", a notion I learned from Bob Sutton. Sometimes the worst ideas end up working the best -- you only understand things really well if you build them and break them, as it turns out. So I try and have an open mind about early ideas but be really rigorous about getting them tested.
Hugo Filipe Ribeiro@hugofiliper · Founder and CEO | Magikbook
@metacool @hugofiliper thanks Diego for your great insights!
Andrew Ettinger@andrewett · PMM @Twitter // Previously @ProductHunt
Obviously learning science and math are here to stay, but how important do you think the arts are to today's young minds? Would they be better off learning things like Chinese and coding?
Diego Rodriguez@metacool · Partner, IDEO
@andrewmettinger Well, speaking to my own experience in life, I learned a lot about my own design process from playing saxophone in a lot of jazz and rock bands: how to improvise, how to be creative no matter how freaked out you were, how to collaborate with others and bring the best out of them, too. I also studied a lot of math and science (and eventually engineering). All of these things help you learn how to think, and they help you understand how you think, which is probably the most important lesson of all.
@metacool How would you handle the Volkswagen emissions debacle? The solution is part design, part marketing, part corporate governance...
Diego Rodriguez@metacool · Partner, IDEO
@bwjones So much of it seems tied up in their corporate culture and organizational structure. A little transparency here would go a long way. As I've written about, as a society I think we would do well to ask the companies we rely on for public safety to publish their code bases so that we assess and verify that things are as they should be. Otherwise, given the ever increasing complexity of the products and services we use, this type of thing will keep on happening.
George Goh@ge0rgeg0h · Industrial Design Intern, NONOBJECT
@metacool The Silicon Valley is unique for it's risk-enabling infrastructure. Is it about spreading this culture of enabling innovation to the other parts of the world like Asia and Europe, or is it about working within their own contexts?
Diego Rodriguez@metacool · Partner, IDEO
@ge0rgeg0h Both. When we started the Stanford d.school, we wanted to create a movement around design thinking. The key to that is treating it as a world view which can spawn myriad different processes, rather than trying to push one specific way of being. In this way we can help more people realize their creative confidence no matter where they may live, while respecting the nuances that make things work within a specific culture.