Saturday, July 12, 2008

Make to think and think to make - Design thinking helps a start-up radio show compete with NPR's Morning Edition

The upstart radio show Takeaway's producers worked with the at Stanford to apply design thinking approach to their show that competes with NPR's Morning Edition. It is quite an interesting story about how a legacy media industry can discard a traditional approach and embrace design thinking to rapidly iterate on the design of a radio show.

"A three-day crash course taught the producers the basic steps of innovation: observe, brainstorm, prototype, and implement; repeat as necessary."

"The program's central idea is a daily question that audiences are asked to riff upon, either by calling in or by emailing. Their responses are then woven into the rest of the show's programming."

Not spelled out in so many words in the story but this is a good example of user-centered and participatory design with a crowdsourcing twist to it.

"But recognizing shortcomings and criticism and iterating quickly is one of the design process's core principles. The students in a course called Design + Media, who are using the show as a class project, are helping producers generate ideas and track online response. For example, they're following Twitter streams to find out which questions and other parts of the broadcast are producing the strongest reactions."

Once again this story reinforces that design is an ongoing process and design thinking is not about talking but making and generating more ideas while making to change what you just made.

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