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Posts from the ‘Reviews’ Category


Digital Books that Unlock the Imagination

Cover of "Kindle Wireless Reading Device,...

Cover via Amazon

Until recently I considered the Kindle, iPad and Nook as nice to haves. When I think about carrying around another electronic device, it makes me cringe. However, after speaking with friends who swear by digital books and seeing the richness of digital books, I’m starting to rethink ebook readers. Here are a few digital books that unlock the imagination (and may cause me to unlock my wallet).

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How Google Boosts the Innovation Quotient by Failing Quickly

Image representing Google as depicted in Crunc...
Image via CrunchBase

Google is renowned for encouraging creativity. Consistently ranked as one of the most innovative companies, Google has managed to create a culture of risk taking, which by the way, is positively correlated to both the level and frequency of creativity. As a rule, the company does not aim for 100% perfection at launch. Whether the product is GoogleMaps, GoogleEarth or others within their innovation stable, Google’s mantra is to innovate quickly, design iteratively and to improve continuously.

According to Marissa Mayer, Vice-President of Search Product and User Experience at Google, the question is, “Can you learn enough from the mistakes that you’ve made and the users to iterate very quickly?” Mayer followed this question with an example.

With the launch of GoogleNews, engineers and product managers were “locked in a dead heat” in terms of which final web site feature to complete before launch. Half the team wanted to sort news by date and the other half wanted to sort news by location. In the end, Google chose not to perfect the product in lieu of getting GoogleNews to market quickly. Once launched, users became the tie breaker. Within hours Google received 305 messages from users with 300 asking for sort by date. Though Google launched with a less than perfect product, the company was able to rely on users to tell them where to spend their time and iterated their way to the best solution. To view the video of Marissa Mayer’s full presentation see Marissa Mayer at Stanford University.


Book Review: The Toy and Game Inventor’s Handbook

Dealer display of antique toys for sale at Ant...

Image via Wikipedia

An older book, but invaluable nonetheless! Written by two industry insiders, The Toy and Game Inventor’s Handbook is a step-by-step guide through toy design and game licensing. In this nonfiction work, the authors provide background on the toy industry, discuss blockbuster toys, look at how to get started in the toy industry, review legalities of toy design, and list opportunities for toy inventors. Sidebars and callouts are used to highlight pertinent information and advice from the professionals. The appendix contains profiles of toy inventors, as well as, lists of companies seeking toy ideas and a glossary to toy terminology.

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Book Review: Creating Products in the Age of Design

Poul Henningsens PH-Lampe von 1925

Image via Wikipedia

Book reviews are typically created for new books. However, I own a number of great books on creativity, innovation and design that are lesser known. This is one of them – it takes a scientific look at the role of “style” in product design.

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Book Review: A Whole New Mind, Daniel Pink

A Whole New Mind: Why Right Brainers Will Rule the Future

In this nonfiction work geared towards a business audience, Pink argues the age of “left-brain” dominance is giving way to “right-brain” thinkers whose minds are more akin to designers, inventors, teachers and storytellers than lawyers and MBA’s. With the coming of what Pink refers to as the Conceptual Age, the future is in the hands of creators and empathizers, pattern recognizers, and Read more »