The Consumer Matters is the blog of Leslie Grandy, aka Gearhead Gal.  My passion is creating and delivering compelling products that delight customers through simple and elegant user experience design.

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Entries in Design Thinking (7)


More On Creativity - John Cleese And The "Tortoise Mind"

It is easy for a professional comedy writer to advocate making definitive time and space boundaries in your day to enable creative thinking, but before you completely dismiss the possibility that John Cleese is actually a voice of corporate reason, take a listen to this video excerpt from a several years old lecture that he gave.  


In the full lecture, Cleese references a British psychologist's study of the "tortoise mind, [which is] a slower, less focused, less articulate, much more playful, almost dreamy" side of ourselves that must be allowed time to roam in order to be creative.  

And what does Cleese really think is the enemy of creativity?  "The widely held, but misguided, beliefs that being decisive means making decisions quickly, that fast is always better and that we should think of our minds as being like computers...The pressure on managers at all levels to act quickly is enormous." Cleese acknowledges that while we need to be able to multi-task, and let our "hare brain" dominate, we have to carve out time to balance our thinking with our tortoise mind. The book, and Cleese's application to business, are  detailed more in this New York Times article.




Have You Created a "Golden Rule" Culture?

Whether or not you believe in the Net Promoter Score methodology of measuring customer satisfaction, or some other metric that gives you a sense of your customer's propensity to be an evangelist for your brand, if you are the steward of your company's customer relationship, you need to ask yourself, "Have you created a golden rule culture?"

What is a golden rule culture? It is where your employees treat your prospects and customers as they would like to be treated themselves. (I mean, really, do the people who work at call centers ever want to hear someone tell them when they have a problem, "I am sorry, but that is not a choice in my drop down menu" or "my screen won't let me do that"?) 

In a recent post on, entitled "The Value in Wowing Your Customers," the author, Fred Reichheld, discusses the value of "intelligent" acts of surprise and delight, those moments of "wow" that individual employees feel empowered to administer and which enable brands to connect with customers on a personal level. The notion is simple to understand, but not always elegantly executed - recognize that your employees are the embodiment of how important your customers are to your business.

Then ask yourself if your employees are in the best position - empowered mentally, technically, and physically - to reflect the level of kindness and empathy your customers should expect? 



The Creative Process Is Just A Matter of Time

Check out this preview of an interesting video I discovered on the Ideas & Art Frequency. So, tell me, what do you do to come up with a good idea?


Objectified - Worth Pocketing This Film

"Bad design is where the customer thinks it’s their fault that something doesn’t work. So if you can’t make your GPS device work in your car — I mean, there should be a riot because they’re so poorly designed! Instead, the user thinks, ‘Oh, I’m not very smart, I can’t make this GPS thing work.’ People should demand more from the things they own, they need to demand that things work." - David Kelly, IDEO

"Objectified", a documentary from filmmaker Gary Hustwit, about our complex relationship with manufactured objects is now available on DVD, Blu Ray, and for download on iTunes. But it is also available through one of the most innovative delivery mechanisms for commercialized digital media that I have seen, the Limited Edition USB drive. I can't wait to see how the packaging contributes to my experience of enjoying this film again, but I guess I'll have to, since the site tells me "please note that shipping times can be between 1 and 4 weeks, depending on how far you are from New York City." I guess I'm likely to be 4 weeks far, up here in the Emerald City...

Check out the film trailer and read some other great quotes from a sample of the innovative minds explored within this entertaining documentary about consumers and our interactions with the products we love and hate.



What is Design Thinking? 10 Ideas to Consider  

What is Design Thinking? 10 Ideas to Consider Browsing on the Design Thinking Exchange, I found a list of 7 explanations of Design Thinking. I took the liberty of adjusting them with my editorial red marker (shown in CAPS for visual speed in identifying my own thoughts). I also added 3 more for an even 10. Please get out your best copy editing tools, and comment or re-word my "clarifications" below. I'll follow up with a post amending these with your best ideas. Design Thinking...

Click to read more ...



Business Week's Review - Why Design Thinking Matters  

Thanks to @matthewemay for bringing this to our attention.  Business Week posted a pre-sales driving review of Roger Martin's soon to be published book. You can be sure it will be added to our Kindle list, but will it make my Favorite Reads box?


You Have Two Brains

My mother always told me I'd never make a living as an artist. I know she wasn't criticizing my talent, as much as my ability to live comfortably through selling art.  The creative itch is one I continuously try to scratch, even though I've moved from a career in the visual arts to one in technology product development.

Sketching is an activity we most typically associate with artists. Most of us believe artists have a more developed "right brain" that lets them visualize things better and improves their ability to illustrate those thoughts through better control of their hand-eye coordination.

"You have two brains: a left and a right. Modern brain scientists now know that your left brain is your verbal and rational brain; it thinks serially and reduces its thoughts to numbers, letters and words… Your right brain is your nonverbal and intuitive brain; it thinks in patterns, or pictures, composed of ‘whole things,’ and does not comprehend reductions, either numbers, letters, or words."

From The Fabric of Mind, by the eminent scientist and neurosurgeon, Richard Bergland. Viking Penguin, Inc., New York 1985

However, an enduring work by Dr. Betty Edwards, a professor at Cal State, has proven that it is possible to re-train your brain. Drawing On The Right Side Of Your Brain, which has been in print since 1979, aims to teach the average person how to see things differently, and visualize and process information you see.

Click here to see how a re-trained brain can help create deisgn thinkers of business leaders.