car design sketch
car design sketch
High school car design sketch, circa 1980's

How much of one’s success is from talent, how much from help along the way, and how much from pure luck?

I just passed the 3 year anniversary of starting up my own consulting business, The Enigma Bureau. Things have been going very well, and I’m truly thankful to the clients and people I’ve had the opportunity to collaborate with in that time, and who have entrusted me with some of their toughest problems to solve. I’ve now been in the design field for 25+ years, and I’m also currently teaching students who are just at the beginnings of their careers, in a graduate Design Leadership program.

This all got me in a reflective mood; in the words of the Talking…


The question of ethics in design has become of growing importance and urgency in the last few years — what does ethical design mean? How accountable are designers (or how accountable should they be)? How do we introduce ethical concerns into our practice? What tools and methods can we use to illuminate and assess potential issues?

As part of the Baltimore UX Meetup series, I recently helped put together a panel discussion on ethics and user experience design, along with co-organizers Yao Adantor and Jake Dibattista. We had a great panel of speakers who touched on a wide range of…


Photo by Marcus dePaula on Unsplash

(This is a sneak peak of the presentation that I, Johannes Gutenberg, will be giving at this year’s SXSW. Please vote for my session on the PanelPicker! — KRs, JG)

We are all too familiar with the problem: knowledge is locked up in silos, and the millions of regular people who could leverage this knowledge are shut out from it by three overwhelming barriers:

  1. Costs of media creation and distribution are astronomical, far out of reach of regular people.
  2. The time and effort involved to create each new copy of a book are similarly enormous, slowing to a trickle the…


I recently moved to Baltimore after 20+ years in the San Francisco Bay Area, so I’m experiencing a novel phenomenon: winter. (As SF residents know, winter there occurs in the summer, but we’ll leave that aside for now). Of the many things I’ve learned about prepping for real winter, the trickiest to get consistently right has been how to make a fire in our cast iron wood-burning stove. The other day I was struggling with getting one going, cursing and smothered in soot, and I thought about the parallels with lighting the fire of innovation in a company or organization…


Forget minimalism. Welcome to the era of expression.

Google’s Daydream VR Headset (2017). Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty

Once upon a time, we had products that were colorful, in shapes that were quirky, whimsical, and expressive. Interesting! And then, almost every tech product became white, silver, gray, black, flat, square, round, and minimalist. Boring.

But there are hints that this is changing. And one of the leaders of this change is, somewhat improbably, Google.

Anybody who’s been paying attention knows that Google has been pretty serious about hardware for a while, and at least as serious about doing quality design in hardware, software, and overall experiences. …

Adam Richardson

Founder of The Enigma Bureau / Innovation & UX strategy consulting / workshop leader / frog design alum / HBR contributor / www.enigmabureau.com

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