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Samples of my work

Much of my earlier work resides within IDEO's intranet and contains confidential material. Any nonpublic snapshots below are included with kind permission of IDEO.

Books

I worked on nearly every book IDEO published, including copyediting, proofreading, verifying stories within the organization, performing research, and more. Tom Kelley thanks me in both of his books; in the acknowledgments of the second, he wrote:

Scott Underwood applied his encyclopedic knowledge of words in giving me advice on syntax, grammar, and elements of style. I have learned more about the nuances of language from Scott than I have from any professor.

The Art of Innovation by Tom Kelley and Jon Littman (2001, Doubleday). This was the first book to emerge from IDEO, and was a business bestseller. I also helped design and maintain its website.

The Ten Faces of Innovation by Tom Kelley and Jon Littman (2006, Doubleday)

Change By Design by Tim Brown (2009, HarperCollins)

I Miss My Pencil by Kara Johnson and Martin Bone (2009, Chronicle)

IDEO Method Cards (2002, IDEO)

IDEO: Masters of Innovation by Jeremy Myerson (2001, te Neues)

Other media

The History of IDEO's Logos This is one of a series of wiki pages created on the Tube, IDEO's intranet, meant to inform new employees and remind the others about the firm's history. (Original article is on IDEO's intranet; link loads a static image of the page.)

IDEO Careers page A link to the most frequently asked questions from people interested in employment and internships, striking a balance between friendliness and firmness. This grew out of my work answering each and every extremely random, humorous, and provocative email IDEO started receiving after 1999. (Original page is live here; link loads a static image of the page.)

Kraft Foods case study One of a few hundred stories written to convey the company's breadth and expertise concisely and without jargon or boastfulness. Written in a "just-the-facts" tone, many of these articles were informed by competition entry forms, which tell a deeper story meant for a different audience.

30 Years of IDEO This website communicated the 30th anniversary of the founding of David Kelley Design (IDEO's predecessor), and showcased much of the company's surprising new work in strategy, food, nonprofit, and other nontraditional design projects. I worked on concepts with founder David Kelley, then collaborated with a graphic artist and a web programmer to create the finished site.

Events

1998-2009: I have also given many talks, presentations, and workshops, most recently:

  • 2009: with Lawrence Shubert, a two-day workshop for Cold Lake High School in Cold Lake, Alberta, Canada, including presentations to 680 students and design challenge with 150 science students. (Sponsored by Osum Oil Sands in Calgary, who acted as assistant facilitators)
  • 2009: Visual Communication class, Academy of Art University, San Francisco: Writing for Designers talk given to third-year graphic design students
  • 2008: BIZCamp, Jewish Family and Children's Services, San Rafael: Design for Entrepreneurs talk given to elective summer high school-age class
  • 2007: Freestyle Academy of Communication Arts and Technology, Mountain View: Design Thinking talk to combined classes of junior and senior high schoolers in a multimedia arts program located on the Mtn View High School campus
  • 2007: Department of Design, Otago Polytechnic, Dunedin, New Zealand: a two-day introduction to human-centered design given to undergrad and graduate design students, including a wallet design workshop, analogous behavior talk, student work review, and IDEO & Design Thinking public talk.

2006: Working with curator Signe Mayfield at the Palo Alto Art Center, I drew together IDEO Prototypes the Future, the first exhibition devoted to IDEO's work. Podcasts and photos are available on the website of Ross Mayfield (founder of SocialText and also a speaker at IDEO's Know How Talks). I also worked with the Palo Alto Art Center Foundation on the communications materials for a major fundraising effort.

Other writing work

These are samples of writing I've done outside the constraints of my normal work, whether for money or amusement.

Housing Works An article on Patrimonio Hoy, the micro-lending arm of the multinational cement corporation CEMEX, written for (and substantially edited by) Design 21.

A Friend in Need A sestina written for the McSweeney's website. (A sestina is an old, unrhymed poetry form with an interesting structure.)

Ideas for New Yorker Cartoons A humor piece written for McSweeney's.

Drifting Along... An article on language, written for my blog.

The 10,000 hours of Steve Martin A book review, written for my blog.