Design Rule #005—Follow the Specifications

Years ago, when I was the Technical editor of CADENCE magazine, reviewing the latest hardware and software products every month, I came to the conclusion that engineers don’t read specs. The conclusion was not based […]

Innovation Inspiration #024—Read 10-Year-Old Books

I had planned on not writing this post until I had finished reading Seth Godin’s Purple Cow, but the remarkableness of it dictated not waiting. The concept is simple—the most successful products have stood out from the […]

Innovation Inspiration #024—Soak Until You Wrinkle

I can’t emphasize the benefits of a nice soak in the tub enough. As I described in I² #023, it has become one of my key tools for creativity. (On a side note, I have […]

Design Rule #004—Obsess Over Tiny Corners

After a number of half-hearted attempts over the years, I’ve started running, hoping I get to the point of at least jogging through the Bay to Breakers. Of course, this means I need to find […]

Design Rule #003—Go With the Flow

Whenever you start designing something interactive (and by my definition, a ball is interactive), you should start by designing a flowchart. Especially if you’re building an IVR system. I just spent a frustrating 12 minutes […]

Design Rule #002—Good Enough Isn’t Really Good Enough

Several years ago, one of my geek friends introduced me to the concept of “good enough” when designing software and hardware. This friend’s creations are always interesting, innovative, and reliable. Some of her code is […]

Innovation Inspiration #023—Bathtubs, Beer, and Brainstorming

Want to innovate? Then relax. Continuously. Deep innovation is a lifestyle, not a task. Most, but not all, things you can do to relax will help the process. A soak in a hot tub, however […]

Design Problem Debugging Rule #001: Turn it Upside Down

I’m not expecting this topic to be as frequently covered as my Innovation Inspiration (I²) series, because I have found far fewer good techniques. However, this trick is so fundamental—yet often overlooked—that it deserves the […]

Innovation Inspiration #022—Research Something Old

I just finished watching an incredible documentary on Netflix, about the U. S. Navy’s first submarine, the Alligator. It was commissioned by President Lincoln, and designed and built by a professor of Jules Verne (and […]

Book Review—The CIA’s Greatest Covert Operation

I just finished reading The CIA’s Greatest Covert Operation: Inside the Daring Mission to Recover a Nuclear-armed Soviet Sub. I found it on the new non-fiction rack at the library, and although I had followed the evolving […]