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March 27, 2008

News & Opinion: EyesOpen

By: 800-CEO-READ @ 2:47 PM – Filed under: Management & Workplace Culture

Who doesn't love IDEO and the work they do. Fast Company recently listed them at number 5 on its "Fast 50" list of the world's most innovative companies, and they have been hired in the past year by such stalwart and venerable organizations as the CDC, the Acumen Fund, the Red Cross and HBO (hey, HBO heals too).
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I write today to tell you of a great new project they've embarked on... and of course, we being who we are, it revolves around books. They are not quite business books, but when I got word of them, I knew I needed to place an order and see what IDEO is up to this time. Well, they came in the mail today, and they are great. It is a series of travel guides--or "field guides for the curious" as they put it--and they are really unique. Entitled EyesOpen, the series starts with New York and London, and step off of the typical tourist route to take you around the cities in the way a good friend who lives there and knows the city well might. As they state on their website:

Eyes Open guides shift the attention of the traveler and everyday observer away from sightseeing toward looking--really looking--at their surroundings. This series is an intimate exploration (starting with London and New York) that celebrates finding inspiration at every turn. These guide books step away from the proverbial sense of "place" toward experience, reminding us all to keep our eyes open in the world to gain a better sense of how we fit in.

You'll find places such as Hackney City Farm in London, an organic community farm in the middle of the city...
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...and the Chelsea Flea Market in NYC, which takes leftover urban space and turns it into a vibrant community of vintage thrift culture.
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You've just got to give it up to IDEO (author and experience designer Fred Dust in particular) and Chronicle Books for this series. The books will definitely slow productivity a bit as they pass around our office today. They're really fascinating, and additionally, this isn't just a series of books. You can go to the EyesOpen website and read stories of other unique places and even contribute your own. These people are unstoppable.