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Meghan Lyden

Over a year ago, Cecil Bethea, 84, watched nursing home attendants hold back his longtime partner, Carl Shepherd, 72, as Cecil turned to go home, where the couple lived together for nearly 39 years. The two talked about getting married three decades ago, but as gay marriage wasn’t an option, they concluded they were content [...]

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The 25th annual National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest is under way, and entries will be accepted for another six weeks, until June 30, 2013. First prize winner will receive a 10-day Galapagos expedition for two. National Geographic was once more kind enough to allow me to share some of the early entries with you here, gathered from four categories: Travel Portraits, Outdoor Scenes, Sense of Place, and Spontaneous Moments. Photos and captions by the photographers. [42 photos]

A fennec fox walks against the wind in Morocco. The fennec, or desert fox, is a small nocturnal fox found in the Sahara Desert in North Africa. (© Francisco Mingorance/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest)    

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The Smithsonian magazine's 10th annual photo contest's 50 finalists have been chosen, but there's still time for you to vote for the Readers Choice winner! This year's competition has drawn over 37,600 entries from photographers in 112 countries around the world. Editors will choose a Grand Prize Winner and the winners in each of five categories which include The Natural World, Americana, People, Travel and Altered Images. Voting will be open through March 29, 2013. -- Paula Nelson ( 22 photos total)
THE NATURAL WORLD - An Onlooker Witnesses the Annular Solar Eclipse as the Sun Sets on May 20, 2012. Albuquerque, New Mexico, May 2012. (Colleen Pinski/Peyton, Colorado/

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1. Ideas don’t come from watching television

2. Ideas sometimes come from listening to a lecture

3. Ideas often come while reading a book

4. Good ideas come from bad ideas, but only if there are enough of them

5. Ideas hate conference rooms, particularly conference rooms where there is a history of criticism, personal attacks or boredom

6. Ideas occur when dissimilar universes collide

7. Ideas often strive to meet expectations. If people expect them to appear, they do

8. Ideas fear experts, but they adore beginner’s mind. A little awareness is a good thing

9. Ideas come in spurts, until you get frightened. Willie Nelson wrote three of his biggest hits in one week

10. Ideas come from trouble

11. Ideas come from our ego, and they do their best when they’re generous and selfless

12. Ideas come from nature

13. Sometimes ideas come from fear (usually in movies) but often they come from confidence

14. Useful ideas come from being awake, alert enough to actually notice

15. Though sometimes ideas sneak in when we’re asleep and too numb to be afraid

16. Ideas come out of the corner of the eye, or in the shower, when we’re not trying

17. Mediocre ideas enjoy copying what happens to be working right this minute

18. Bigger ideas leapfrog the mediocre ones

19. Ideas don’t need a passport, and often cross borders (of all kinds) with impunity

20. An idea must come from somewhere, because if it merely stays where it is and doesn’t join us here, it’s hidden. And hidden ideas don’t ship, have no influence, no intersection with the market. They die, alone.

What an awesome list, much of which are about the best conditions for creativity. Occasionally some of the points are a ramble, but fun all the same. Enjoy!

Shamelessly stolen from Seth Godin’s blog.

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The Law of Universal Flow: Nancy Brook at TEDxCrestmoorParkWomen

Nancy Brook is a dynamic, award-winning speaker, best-selling author and business woman. She has spent her entire life learning how to "let it go and watch it flow." Nancy has survived divorce, single parenthood, a business failure, financial struggles and even five days of mistaken jail time. And maybe it's because of her challenges and setbacks that she's become a successful writer, speaker and business woman. Nancy's first book, "Cycling, Wine, and Men: A Midlife Tour de France," was not only an Amazon bestseller but also was named a finalist in two categories for the Next Generation Indie Book Awards. The book, which has been compared to "Eat, Pray, Love," chronicles an introspective journey through post-divorce dating, single parenthood, and finding happiness and independence as an unattached woman in her prime. As an award-winning speaker, Nancy inspires audiences to move beyond challenges and reach for their dreams. She is a member of the National Speakers Association and a fifteen-year member of Toastmasters International. She has competed as a regional finalist for the Toastmasters World Champion of Public Speaking. Nancy works as a business development executive consulting with financial institutions throughout the Northwest. She also serves as faculty for an international bank training organization. She holds an MBA from the University of Montana and has more than twenty-five years experience in marketing. Her favorite activities are jogging, cycling, and <b>...</b>

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An article at The Verge discusses a new exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art which traces the history of photo manipulation, starting in the mid-1800s. Early photographers used simple techniques like painting on their negatives or simply forming a composite image from many painstakingly framed shots. That period of time even had its own approximation of modern memes: "A large number of prints from that era — featuring decapitated subjects holding, juggling, or otherwise posing with their own heads — might be seen as the lolcats of their day, owing to an alluringly macabre and widespread fascination with parlour tricks and stage magic." However, lying with pictures really took off when business and government figured out how effective it could be as a tool for propaganda. The exhibit has many examples, such as President Ulysses S. Grant's head superimposed onto a soldier's body and a different background, or another of Joseph Goebbels removed from a photo of a party. The article likens these manipulations to more recent situations like the faked pictures of Osama Bin Laden's corpse, and often-hilarious altered ads featured on Photoshop Disasters. The article ends with a quote from photographer Jerry Uelsmann: "Let us not delude ourselves by the seemingly scientific nature of the darkroom ritual. It has been and always will be a form of alchemy."

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Expanding on some of my ideas covered in my first post: Implementing Design Thinking 1: Focus on the Outcome not the Process, my next most frequent observation is that Design Thinkers tend to silo themselves by classifying the type of Design Thinker they are.

So let me ask you do you consider yourself a:

A Business Design Thinker?
A Visionary Thinker?
A Service Design Thinker?
A Sustainable Design Thinker?
An Experience Design Thinker?
An Environmental Design Thinker?
An Innovation Design Thinker?
A D.School Design Thinker?
A Rotman Design Thinker?
An Industrial Design Thinker?
A Strategic Design Thinker?
A Communications Design Thinker?
A Design Design Thinker?

Does it even matter?

I’m sure you could come up with a bunch more. But the reality is that it does not matter what kind of Design Thinker (or just Thinker for that matter) you are or the type of process you use.

Arne van Oosterom says it best at the closing roundtable at the D.Confestival. “I hope we don’t get religious about this [design thinking]“. This statement was a result of the entire service design community not turning up to this conference. Though before you jump to conclusions, much of it was their own decision not to come. Unfortunately as Design Thinking searches for a place to anchor itself, especially to familiar business terms, the activity of Design Thinking is fragmenting into camps with many planting a flag in the ground and taking sides.

This is an often-misunderstood conception of what design, especially strategic design, can do and occasionally found with people that do not have a design background. The trick is when you just view design (thinking) as just design, the processes and disciplines all fall away and distills down to quality content, output and results. In other words, great design content delivers awesome results and meaningful solutions for your customers.

Do designers stick to a fixed process? Of course not!

Tired of research? Not a problem. Lets work with the tacit knowledge of the people around the table, and then validate it the ideas. Want to jump into a solution or love to work with your hands? No problem, make a prototype out of chairs and paper plates and then learn from it. Knowing when to break away from process AND being comfortable with doing so is where the boys are separated from the men.

Implementing Design Thinking is a regular series of posts, where I share my thoughts and experiences in helping companies implement Design as a tool for business success and achieving Design Leadership. Check out the rest of my articles here.

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The photographer Tim Greyhavens has documented the modern sites of historic anti-Chinese violence in the United States long ago, challenging his audience to draw the connections from past to present.

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The western United States continues to battle a ferocious wildfire season that has seen record-breaking fires in several states. The worst of the blazes is the Waldo Canyon fire in Colorado, blamed for two deaths, for forcing 35,000 residents to evacuate, and for the destruction of at lest 346 homes. The area around Colorado Springs has been declared a federal disaster area after the most destructive fire in state history. Wildfires have also destroyed property and forced evacuations in California, Wyoming, Idaho, Montana, and New Mexico. [Editors' note: There will be no Big Picture on the Wednesday, July 4 holiday.] -- Lane Turner (38 photos total)
The Waldo Canyon fire burns an entire neighborhood near the foothills of Colorado Springs, Colo. on June 26, 2012. Colorado endured nearly a week of 100-plus-degree days and low humidity, sapping moisture from timber and grass, creating a devastating formula for volatile wildfires across the state and punishing conditions for firefighters. (Helen H. Richardson/The Denver Post/Associated Press)

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