Want innovation? Get designers, not inventors

Richard W. DeVaul
The Startup
Published in
8 min readNov 22, 2019

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This essay is part of the “Managing Innovation” essay series that starts with “Innovation isn’t what you think it is.”

For years, my Alphabet business card said “Director of Rapid Evaluation and Mad Science.” With my name on over 70 issued US patents and titles like Engineering Director and CTO under my belt, you might expect that I would center my “bubbling test tube and sparking Jacob’s ladder” inventive contributions to the innovation process. I don’t. In fact, I credit my skills as a designer — communications design, product design, solutions…

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Richard W. DeVaul
The Startup

Founder, mad scientist, moonshot launcher. Writes on innovation, entrepreneurship, and social/queer issues. ex-CTO of Google X. @rdevaul on twitter