“We are at a critical point where rapid change is forcing us to look not just to new ways of solving problems but to new problems to solve.” -Tim Brown
“If you had shown [companies] the iPhone 10 years ago and said, “This will be the future of how civilization works,” they would have said, “No, it won’t.” In fact, some companies looked at this space and elected not to pursue it.
This is because their innovation process doesn’t give their leadership a context for thinking about profound innovation. In a conventional company, an innovation process is often a substitution for creativity and thoughtfulness. Companies have come to us and asked for something like “disruptive innovation.” It is fashionable and they’ve read about it; they don’t know why they need it, but they hope it will help. However, they are seldom prepared to embrace what’s necessary to actually do this.”
Bran Ferren on the Art of Innovation interviewed by Art Kleiner in Strategy+Business magazine.
I’m reading “A Whole New Mind” by Daniel H. Pink and a paragraph popped out at me:
For business, it’s no longer enough to create a product that’s reasonably priced and adequately functional. It must also be beautiful, unique and meaningful, abiding what author Virginia Postrel calls “the aesthetic imperative.”
In other words, we have to look beyond simply functional, appropriately priced products and services towards the creation of an aesthetic that draws in our client. In an article in WIRED magazine, Postrel says that:
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Competition has pushed quality so high and prices so low that few manufacturers can survive on performance and price alone. To produce value, they must give customers something to please their sensory side. Aesthetics is the killer app.
I would argue that functionality and beauty are key factors but they are inextricably linked to designing with empathy. Proponents of design thinking will tell you that products and services must be designed with heart and hand in mind in order to be truly meaningful to our clients and to stand out in a crowded marketplace. Design aesthetic, relevance and empathy shall rule the economy.
Called ontological design, it is a concept that considers how context and environment shape our ideas. Spaces where we work impact our work. Colors make us feel more creative or more restricted in our thinking. Furniture design can impact how we interact with our clients. Spaces with hammocks and green plants can help employees feel playful and encourage new ideas and approaches.Where we do business affects how we do business (and vice versa).
Our experiences are subjective and they can be influenced by our environment. I am reminded of a quote by the famous Canadian philosopher Marshall McLuhan who said:
We often talk about this quote in terms of technology, yet there is so much more to what McLuhan says here. We are natural creators, born to create but also born to become part of the reality we construct and influence with our art, science and business.
It’s your turn…help raise awareness (and solutions!) related to the education crisis – not just in Latin America but in the world at large.
I am a finalist in the Inter American Development Bank (IADB — or BID in Spanish) Graduate XXi competition. It seems they liked my idea about applying design thinking to education!
Voting opened today and continues to the end of February. Please go to this link, read my idea and vote for me if you like it. That’s it. It takes less than a minute.
If you want to “pay it forward”, share my idea with your network and get them to give me their vote if they like my idea. Here is my recent blog post with a bit more explanation of my idea.
Thanks so very much!