Media Perspective: Why clients may be having designs on the world of design

Last week, I pointed you to a blog that took you into a world related to ours - that of TV and new media commissioning.

We can all learn a lot from the thinking given away on blogs, especially when it's from very smart people who might be about to eat our lunch.

This week's example is the blog of Diego Rodriguez, a partner at the design company IDEO. And IDEO isn't just any design company. It's incredibly good at industrial design, but it's also increasingly reaching into areas that some us of might have thought of as our exclusive purview.

As it looks more and more at process design and organisational innovation, IDEO gets closer to the world of brands that we like to think of as our own little gravy train.

So while we might be alarmed about how smart the stuff Mr Rodriguez puts on his blog is, we should also be grateful that he lets us all read it. Have a look for yourself at

If you look right now, you will spot that he's halfway through writing an excellent series of 21 principles for doing design and business well. There's some excellent stuff there. My favourite principle is probably number five: "Anything can be prototyped. You can prototype with anything."

By way of illustration, he tells this story: "Before filming Le Mans, Steve McQueen took a film crew to the French race a year earlier, shot an entire movie's worth of stuff, and then threw most of the exposed stock away. He knew that the best way to learn how to shoot a great movie at Le Mans was to first shoot a rough movie there. His camera people gleaned deep insights into camera placements, mounts and techniques, which stood them in good stead when it came time to shoot the real movie. And the value of the tacit knowledge transfer involved cannot be underestimated: rather than try to explain to new camera people what he wanted, McQueen could point to actual film clips and say: 'This is good.' Prototyping leads to speed as a process outcome." (You'll probably realise from this that Mr Rodriguez is also an informed and enthusiastic petrolhead. Essential reading if you work on cars.)

Design businesses are increasingly nabbing a good share of attention from senior clients in large organisations. They can combine the rigour of management consultants with the creativity of agencies, and often manage without the arrogance of either.

Metacool illustrates why the passion and precision of this world is so appealing: to the talent we might want to recruit and the clients we might want to work with. It's well worth adding to your RSS reader.

(You do have an RSS reader, don't you?)