Justine Mcfarlane

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Teams Can’t Innovate If They’re Too Comfortable

On a warm afternoon in June, a few dozen people gathered on a sun-dappled spot of lawn in Cambridge to discuss the very broad topic of modern leadership.<p>The head of a famous museum debated a senior exec from Google about what constitutes great design. A Broadway choreographer shared his hiring …

Challenging the Wisdom of Crowds

A new paper by a Princeton evolutionary biologist suggests that small groups make the best decisions.<p>If you've always been a skeptic about the so-called wisdom of crowds, you've got some great new ammunition.<p>A recent paper in the journal <i>Proceedings of the Royal Society</i> (I'm not making up that …

This Weekly Meeting Took Up 300,000 Hours a Year

How much time does your organization squander? My colleagues and I gathered data about time use at one large company and found that people there spent <i>300,000 hours a year</i> just supporting the weekly executive committee meeting. Click the arrow below to find out where all those hours went:<p></p> …

National Guard Soldier Brings Back Artistic Photos from His Time in Afghanistan

Sean Huolihan isn’t the first soldier to spend some of his time overseas looking through a viewfinder instead of a rifle scope, but there’s a certain …

Stop Listening to Your Customers

<i>What will persuade you?</i><p>Every business is interested in what influences and persuades their customers and consumers, and one of the more common strategies to eliciting this information is to simply ask them. There are various ways that this can be done: You can ask customers directly during a face …

Integrating Lean Startup and Design Thinking

by Ralph Ohr<p>Two approaches that can complement and benefit<p><b>Lean Startup and Design Thinking are both promising approaches to target innovation</b><p>The Lean …

MIT’s FingerReader Helps The Blind Read With A Swipe Of A Digit

At MIT’s Media Labs, researchers Roy Shilkrot, Jochen Huber and others are working on the “FingerReader,” a ring-like device that straps itself around your finger and reads printed text out loud with a synthesized voice, thanks to a mounted camera and heavily modified open source software.<p>The …

Creativity and the Brain: What We Can Learn From Jazz Musicians

In recent years many schools have cut their art programs as non-essential subjects. At the same time, leaders are crying for more creative thinking …

Transforming Apartment Maximizes Small Space

With 60 square meters (approximately 645 square feet) to work with, Russian designer Vlad Mishin designed the Transformer Apartment which contains …

Millennials Don’t Care About Owning Cars, And Car Makers Can’t Figure Out Why

Driving numbers are down for younger people and the auto industry hasn’t found a way to respond. It’s because they don’t understand why millennials could possibly not want to drive.<p>Auto manufacturers today are scratching their heads, trying to figure out why the millennial generation has …

To Advance Education, We Must First Reimagine Society

This approach — a product of the Industrial Age, which relied on compliant factory workers and mass consumption — promotes weakness rather than …

Empathy and Why I Am So Jazzed About Design Thinking

The Future of Prototyping Is Now Live

Those tasked with developing new products and experiences have long valued prototyping as a way to fuel creativity, explore options, and test assumptions. By making concepts real, we can more intimately understand the underlying mechanics and make informed judgments. There are two main ways that …

SUPERBAMBI: A Chair with Many Functions

It’s a chair! It’s a step stool! It’s SUPERBAMBI! (I couldn’t resist) What’s SUPERBAMBI, you ask? It’s the aforementioned and then some. It’s a smart …

How to boost your Innovation and stand out from the competition

Before we start to talk about design thinking it’s important to understand what design is. Design is not just about aesthetics, form, typography, …

The Other Factor that Makes an Idea Spread

How do ideas spread? Previous research has focused on what happens to the sharers of an idea: what emotions they feel, what types of content inspire them to share (practical, funny, “sticky” and so on). And it is true that from memetics to mirror neurons to social contagion, it is likely that for …

How Khan Academy is using design to pave the way for the future of education

Every morning Khan Academy’s lead designer, Jason Rosoff, spends the first 15 minutes of his day reading over the constant flow of new feedback from …

Eight Essentials for Scaling Up Without Screwing Up

Back in 2006, my colleague Huggy Rao and I launched an executive education program at Stanford called “Customer-focused Innovation.” Mornings consisted of lectures and case studies in a traditional classroom in the Stanford Business School; this was the “clean models” part of the program. In the …

Announcing the First White House Maker Faire

In years past, firing a marshmallow cannon might have landed you in the principal’s office. On Tuesday, it landed 16-year-old Joey Hudy in the First Lady’s box at the 2014 State of the Union Address.<p>At the 2012 White House Science Fair, Joey wowed the President by using a homemade cannon to send a …

How to Come Up With a Breakthrough Idea

Feeling stuck? Here's a tried-and-true method to jump-start the creative process.<p>You're stuck. Really stuck.<p><i>Scenario 1:</i> You've encountered a problem at work, but all your usual tactics can't solve it. You sense you need a more creative approach, but your imagination isn't delivering the goods. What …

3-D Printed Candy Makes Me Love The Future

3-D printing evangelists are cooking up more and more ways for you to print food. Pizza and pancakes are all meals that you can (dubiously) print. Even Google’s cafeteria has a 3-D printer for pasta.<p>The ChefJet and the ChefJet Pro are the latest from 3D Systems (the company that won Best Emerging …

Social innovation labs: Top tips and common pitfalls - MaRS

Social innovation labs (also called design labs and change labs) are an approach to tackling complex societal challenges that require systems change. …

Beautifully Accurate Glass Sculptures of Deadly Viruses

<b>H5N1</b><p>In 2004, artist Luke Jerram began a visually scientific sculpture series entitled <i>Glass Microbiology</i>. With help from both expert virologists and talented glassblowers, Jerram has created a collection of glass sculptures accurately depicting some of the most prevalent viruses out there, including …

This is not the year of wearables but the year the hype dies, says Evernote CEO

This has been a big week for smartwatches, especially here on Quartz. So far we’ve already published four pieces on the putative next big thing. Much of that was linked to the Consumer Electronics Show (CES), the industry’s annual jamboree for new products, during which smartwatch pioneers Pebble …

Wearable Tech

10 Pinterest tips from a user with 1.2 million followers

Last time I discussed Pinterest in-depth was in March 2012, when I wrote "Six things I learned from six days on Pinterest."<p>I've since joked that I should have added, "...as the only man on Pinterest," considering how much of the platform is dominated by women.<p>It turns out there are men having …

Disruptive Innovation: A Prescription For Better Health Care

<i>If we want a more affordable and convenient health care system, we must demand it—and embrace disruptive innovation.</i><p>The smell of perfectly browned onions teases your tastebuds as you hound over the cutting board, trying to stay on schedule. Then you slice your finger open—hey, it happens to the …

Video game kindness may make kids nicer

When children are exposed to helpful and caring behaviors through video games, television shows, and movies, they are more likely to act that way in …

Why Companies Are Terrible At Spotting Creative Ideas

Cognitive biases can keep us from assessing creativity with a clear mind. Here’s how to get around them.<p>Editor’s Note<p>01/01/14<p>Happy New Year! We’re saying good-bye to 2013 by revisiting some of our favorite stories of the year. Enjoy.<p>In business, a creative idea is only worth as much as the manager …