Summary of Make It New

Looking for the book?
We have the summary! Get the key insights in just 10 minutes.

Make It New book summary
Start getting smarter:
or see our plans




  • Applicable
  • Eye Opening
  • Engaging


Stanford professor Barry M. Katz’s impressive, primary-sourced and research-backed analysis of the important yet often disregarded role that designers played in shaping Silicon Valley offers a true insider perspective on the development of design in the 20th and 21st centuries. Katz’s nonlinear style, at times, obscures his thorough account of the way various designers and their innovations fit into the timeline of Silicon Valley’s history. Sometimes his entertaining narrative devolves into recitations of lists of names and achievements. Ultimately, however, Katz makes a compelling case for how and why design’s role in Silicon Valley – and beyond – shifted from a backbench support function to a front-line position in product development. He also explores the advent of “Design Thinking” and its impact on design’s future. getAbstract recommends his treatise to design professionals and lay enthusiasts who wish to know more about design history and philosophy.

About the Author

Barry M. Katz is professor of industrial and interaction design at the California College of the Arts, consulting professor in the design group at Stanford University as well as a fellow at IDEO, Inc. He co-wrote Change by Design and Nonobject.



A Seat at the Table

Today, design and designers are synonymous with Silicon Valley and its innovations. But for much of technology manufacturing’s history since the 1950s, tech companies viewed the role of design in product development with skepticism. The few professional designers who came to Silicon Valley in the early 1950s had to fight to prove that design could do more than create packaging for the engineers’ beloved electronics.

In 1951, Carl Clement became Hewlett-Packard’s first professional designer. The approach HP took to design at the time was emblematic of the era. Design was an add-on. Clement and the nine-person design team he assembled during his first decade at HP had to prove to management and engineering that design could add quantifiable worth to products’ safety and function. An “integrated modular system” that improved the appearance and performance of HP’s instruments was an early design victory. Design also helped HP manufacture equipment more quickly, conserve storage space and save on shipping.

Designers remained low in the product development hierarchy throughout the 1950s, ’60s and early ’70s. The customers who purchased most Silicon...

More on this topic

Customers who read this summary also read

Women, Minorities, & Other Extraordinary People
Future Politics
The Experience-Centric Organization
Social Startup Success
Move Fast and Break Things
Design Thinking at Work

Related Channels

Comment on this summary

  • Avatar
  • Avatar
    V. M. 3 years ago
    The book for design professionals in general is not for a wide audience
  • Avatar
    J. J. 3 years ago
    Good, Thank you
  • Avatar
    B. G. 3 years ago
    Good read. Thank you!
  • Avatar
    S. K. 3 years ago
    Nice read... Thank you