Updated on: Wednesday, May 29, 2019, 04:22 AM IST

TEDxGateway 2018: Technologist and design thinker Tom Wujec on making ideas visible

Tom Wujec is a technologist and design thinker who assists companies in the upcoming field of ‘business visualisation’ where various methods and visual techniques such as infographics, sketches and images are used to help teams solve difficult problems together

Wujec talks about how simple exercises in business visualisation, for example, the exercise of making employees draw how to make toast, reveal how employees think. A former fellow at Autodesk (makers of design software for engineers, filmmakers and designers), and also a founding professor at Singularity University, Wujec has authored six books on design, technology, business and creative collaboration including a book called Five Star Mind: Games and Puzzles to Stimulate your Creativity and Imagination. Some have been translated into 16 languages.

Better problem-solving


“Individuals, teams, and organisations become much better problem solvers when they make ideas visible. Making ideas visible involves using visual thinking to build a shared understanding, exploring more creative options, and aligning on bold choices.”

Key breakthroughs

“There are breakthrough innovations in virtually every domain of technology, in sensor technology, computation, robotics, display tools, and material science. The combination of digital capture, compute, create, and compose technologies are making industries computable, creating new value in manufacturing, construction, finance, transportation and healthcare among others. If I were to choose one, it would be machine learning, of course.”


New design

“Firstly, you must understand the job the product needs to do for the person using it. The jobs-to-be-done approach forces designers to be empathetic and understanding, and to identify the moment-to-moment use of the product. Secondly, you must build prototypes and use them to better understand how products are actually used — not how you think they are, or should be used.”

Unnecessary invention


“The iPotty”

Success mantras

“Have clear design aesthetic, focus on simplicity and clarity, employ technology to keep the products connected to the larger platform.”


Tom Wujec has built applications like Maya, which won an Oscar for its contribution to the film industry. He has also developed SketchBook Pro which is used by around 40 million designers and consumers. He has designed the XPRIZE Visioneering program for six years. He has taught design innovation at Singularity University. Founder of the Wujec Group, a boutique consultancy that works with organisations to create major ‘positive impact’ on society and business, he helps create customised workshops and offers its expertise to Fortune 200 leaders to develop revolutionary digital strategies.

(This 10th edition of the TEDxGateway sees over 20+ speakers from different walks of life sharing unique ideas that make them an inspiration the world over. Over 5500 attendees are slated to attend this feast of ideas and inspiration on December 2 at DOME @ NSCI Mumbai.)

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Published on: Friday, November 30, 2018, 04:38 PM IST