When my colleague and co-host Aarron Walter first recommended I read Christian Madsbjerg’s books The Moment of Clarity and Sensemaking, I should admit I was initially skeptical. Not that Aarron has steered me wrong in the past. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed his other recommendations—but could someone with a background in political science, philosophy, and cultural studies really offer many insights about how to create successful products?
As it turns out, Madsbjerg absolutely can. I don’t agree with all his perspectives (I’m sure we could have a spirited debate about the merits of design thinking). But I was very compelled by his core arguments on the value of a deep cultural understanding when trying to understand why certain products fail where others succeed.
Given the product-driven theme of this season of our podcast, this perspective shouldn’t have come as such a surprise. Being product-driven really means being people-driven: using human-centered design to create great products, with a balance between design, engineering, and business imperatives.
“Being product-driven really means being people-driven: using human-centered design to create great products, with a balance between design, engineering, and business imperatives.”
And the more deeply you understand the humans that you’re designing for, (their language, their art, their music) the more likely you are to succeed in your efforts.
Here are some other interesting things to listen for in our interview:
- How applying the human sciences to product development is one of the most effective ways to reduce costs and cut complexity in a business
- Why training in the liberal arts may be one of the few ways to avoid obsolescence in an AI-driven economy
- The problems that “Silicon Valley thinking” creates for companies
Dust off your philosophy textbooks, put on your critical-thinking cap, and get ready for a compelling conversation with Christian Madsbjerg, author, co-founder, and Senior Partner at ReD Associates.
If you like what we’re doing, and want to hear the stories of more deep thinkers like Christian, it would help us out a lot if you subscribe to the podcast on iTunes or Google Play and leave us a review.
Thanks for listening!
by Eli Woolery
Eli is the Director of Design Education at InVision. His design career spans both physical and digital products, and he is a lecturer in the Product Design program at Stanford University. You can find Eli on Medium or on Twitter.