Interview: Tom Hulme


7 Responses to “Interview: Tom Hulme”

  1. Anonymous says:

    so what exactly does IDEO do?

    btw: that story he tells about village women in Africa walking to a well etc was used as an example/case study for my university degree … over 10 years ago. it’s like an urban-myth-case-study for anyone studying development.

  2. Arjan Tupan says:

    @Raul, you might be right, but what’s wrong with making money if you are a business? The distinctive factor is that through initiatives like OpenIDEO they actually also use their skills to create change. If you’ve been on that platform, and participated, you actually see how much time is invested in it. It’s always easy to bash companies that go and do something to create a better world by saying that they are mainly focused on making money. But that is actually why they are a business. The questions would be: what are you doing to change the world? One thing you could do is join the OpenIDEO platform. It’s great to have some more smart and critical minds participating there.

    I was rather sceptical about the design focus as well, but being an active OpenIDEO user for a while now, I’ve found out that this has much to do with my lack of understanding of it. I’m not a design fetishist, and might even want to use different terminology, but the approach of trying to design solutions that work for humans is very effective. The process Tom mentions is similar to the things I’ve learned working for a consulting company. And this actually works. Using that to create change for social good is super.

    Avi, nice interview, was a joy to read it.

    • Raul says:

      Arjan, I agree with most of what you’re saying. I’m not bashing IDEO. Well, maybe a little. I don’t like that they (design firms) cultivate this image, at least in the US, of excruciating hipness. Follow the twitter feed of Frog, one would wonder if they actually ever do produce those better toasters.

      It’s much like the ad world here in NYC. You’d think they were collectives of underground avant artistes. And, I understand that those of an artistic, altruistic, bent struggle to find their places in the world (especially from a financial perspective–god knows I did). When they do find a place where their talents are rewarded, they strive to hold on to what their ideal image of themselves was/is. It just gets a bit sad.

      Oh, and I’m not skeptical at all about applying design methodologies to a variety of issues (hell, I do it for a living).

      Oh oh, and OpenIDEO is cool/good/worthy.

  3. Captain Horatio Mindblower says:

    What’s with capitalizing the D in “Design”? I’ve seen that other places. Nothing against design, but if we don’t capitalize “medicine” or “philosophy”, why do we treat design like some kind of high priesthood?

    It’s annoying. Stop it.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Avi, I like how you structured your questions and led the interview with Tom. I enjoyed the read! See you on the OpenIDEO platform

  5. Raul says:

    I don’t want to be a wet blanket, but I’m getting a little tired of the fetishization (that a word?) of the “design” world. In fact, the “design” world is a corporate services world ( Yes, sure, occasionally IDEO, Frog, whomever, does something swell for poor people, but let’s be honest, they are retained 99% of the time to help a corporation make money for its shareholders.

  6. Anonymous says:

    as a caveat: I’m not a product or graphic designer by profession, but i love design and design thinking. there are several reasons for this. (1) ive work in international development and academia and now international security etc and the way people think of programs, interventions, and projects is really suffering from a lack of proper Design (yup, I capitalized design, and I’ll explain in a bit why). The *principles* used by IDEO and discuss by Tom here are not solely applicable to the commercial sector, but rather they drive at a theoretical and technical foundation of the human experience. How we interact with objects is not a superficial enterprise, but rather a very important part of what defines and is defined by our values, beliefs, and physiological evolution. Sure, Frog and IDEO are out to make a buck, but we all need a buck to make things happen–it’s however more than buying something for 1$ and selling it for 2$ (i.e. profiteering).

    Design, particularly human centered design–and especially graphic and industrial design ideas are lacking in traditionally non-design industries, like government, like development, like health care, etc. I think OpenIDEO is a good case study of this very point. They are cultivating a community around the principles that IDEO proper uses for their commercial enterprise. In this case Design becomes a concept, and not just a craft or profession. That’s why in proper academic literature you can have a State and state, or Capitalism and capitalism–often distinguished by function and identity/concept/theory.

    So while, I think this backlash is probably grounded in the commercial side of things, I think we are doing a disservice to other industries potential use of Design by suppressing its role to that of superficial aesthetics and marketing appeal. Having said that, I like well design stuff that just looks cool too.

    The interview got me thinking, and as always reflects why Open IDEO *IS* a cool community to be part of and to explore innovative approaches to helping the world get a little more awesome.

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