Thoughtless acts for inspiration

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About two years ago I was recommended a book, The Art of Innovation, by Tom Kelley. It was my first introduction to IDEO, one of America’s foremost design firms.

Recently, while looking for follow-on IDEO work, I stumbled upon Thoughtless Acts? and I wanted it for the experience it might impart – it is not your average book.

At a street price of ~20 USD, there is probably no other like it. At first, it appears to be a hard cover book and then you notice how comfortable it is to open and hold – the spine is similar to tape binding, this one reminiscent of duct tape. It is hard to miss the die cut semi-circle in the cover. Regardless of which side of the book opened the reader is greeted with text in the right orientation. The book does away with all the extra pages (extra blanks, lengthy copyright, oversized ISBN barcodes etc.) – everything is designed.

The content of the book is presented in a series of photographs followed by some text explaining the intention of the book and an index with some concise descriptions of the images. There are seven sections organizing the photos: reacting, responding, co-opting, exploiting, adapting, conforming and signaling.

The intention of the images are to help the reader get out of their box and see everyday behavior as an opportunity for innovation. Every photo offers a social landscape for critical review of things we often discard as noise. The number of inspired questions and ideas that follow seem endless.

Images of the book, Thoughtless Acts?