Marty Neumeier Scrambles Up Business Books and Agile Strategy

August 27, 2018

marty neumeier on brand podcast

“A story lets you address problems in a very human way.” While traditional business books, textbooks, and case studies help us learn key concepts, they often miss what’s going on behind the scenes. The story arc or narrative. This week, author, designer, and brand advisor Marty Neumeier returned to the On Brand podcast (listen to his first episode here) to discuss his latest book Scramble — a business thriller about agile strategy!

Enjoy This Episode Now

About Marty Neumeier

Marty Neumeier is an author, designer, and brand adviser whose mission is to bring the principles and processes of design to business. His series of “whiteboard” books includes Zag, named one of the “top hundred business books of all time,” and The Designful Company, a bestselling guide to nonstop innovation. An online presentation of his first book, The Brand Gap, has been viewed more than 22 million times since 2003. A sequel, The Brand Flip, lays out a new process for building brands in the age of social media and customer dominance. His most recent book, Scramble, is a “business thriller” about how to build a brand quickly using “agile strategy.”

In 1996, Neumeier founded Critique magazine, the first journal about design thinking. He has worked closely with innovative companies such as Apple, Netscape, Sun Microsystems, HP, Adobe, Google, and Microsoft to help advance their brands and cultures.

Today he serves as Director of Transformation for Liquid Agency in Silicon Valley, and travels extensively as a workshop leader and speaker on the topics of design, brand, and innovation. He and his wife divide their time between California and southwest France.

Episode Highlights

A business thriller about agile strategy? “Well, ‘thriller’ might be a bit much,” admits Marty. “Nobody dies and nobody shoots anyone! Scramble is the story of a CEO who used to be an architect so he’s a designer. He faces a headwind and agile strategy comes to the rescue.”

So, what is the story arc of agile strategy? “Agile has been made into an orthodoxy by some — I’m not one of them. It’s about making prototypes, working fast, and elaborating later.”

Watch your Ps and Qs. Marty’s latest work is all about multiplying the Qs of strategy with the Ps of design thinking — problemizing, pinballing, probing, prototyping, and proofing. “If you follow this path, you’re going to come out with something very different.”

Designing vs deciding. “Design is the way forward. We have to redefine designing. If you’re changing a situation into a better one, if you’re planning a change — it’s design.”

What brand has made Marty smile recently? Marty is a huge fan of the MINI brand. So much so that he actually went out and bought a MINI after singing its praises so often.

To learn more, go to for special extras just for listeners of the On Brand podcast.

As We Wrap …

Did you hear something you liked on this episode or another? Pia Silva gave us a shout on Twitter for our episode that featured — her! Thanks for joining us and for listening, Pia!

On Brand is sponsored by my new book Brand NowDiscover the seven dynamics to help your brand stand out in our crowded, distracted world. Order now and get special digital extras. Learn more.

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Until next week, I’ll see you on the Internet!

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is a strategist, speaker, educator, and author of Brand Now: How to Stand Out in a Crowded, Distracted World and Get Scrappy: Smarter Digital Marketing for Businesses Big and Small. He is the Chief Brand Strategist at Brand Driven Digital, an educator at the University of Iowa, and host of the On Brand podcast. More about Nick.