Posts Tagged ‘design’

Design was made to be “beautiful”. But Design is often taken with high-class skill, upper income matter and modern life. What we call Design in industrial tracks seems particularly the crafting, building and a whole process to “define a creation environment that makes life and goods and services more smart, useful and profitable for the end-user”. Now some kinds of use are so simple that we think they don’t “need” Design at all, like something complicated and expensive.

Any doubt?

Check out at all these awesome initiatives done with the poor and above all, from the bottom roots…of desperate lands. No you can’t stop initiatives and control the path that guides to innovation. No wealth can replace the willingness and local solutions, facing misery, fell apart when you have no resources to use, but brain and collaboration. Simple ideas can sometimes burst poor’s destiny to help them, but especially when they have no other choice to cope with it, alone. And yes what we call “Design” can change their world. Using wastes to make in function local and shared open-air ovens, text messaging to prevent from disease, explain sanity or water use or like in Bangkok to replace old crap houses, they used recycled wood to build stronger and safer habitations.

But also facing a huge need for mobile work, the ability to build “mobile schools” on a bus or a boat, that can hold education, following the whole migration of households lead to rootless work to survive. Then, the famous design museum “Cooper-Hewitt” started with UN, a huge exposition “design with other 90 cities” with this tremendous thema, in NYC this fall. This exposition allows to introduce the design into several parts of communities, using it as: include (lose people, recovering the social link into ghettos), transform (wastes or the way to consider things and buildings for a better local welfare), exchange (a huge way to barter skills and local knowhow for moneyless people), reveal and adapt (habits make sometimes lazy, avoiding us to recreate new environment with less resources), prosper (with all the global dynamic through this whole initiative, leading to local economic raise and employment for new ways of “working”).

What called Schumpeter “innovation”, seems to drafted here as “something in pulse, moving economics and social, creating new products, things or services with the whole dynamics of organization (in this case local and poor groups, probably fell apart and helpless populations)”. He believed a lot in entrepreneurship as a real source of innovation for economic dynamization, and we can see in all these examples, the “force of nature” and the potential in the willingness to change their local world. But entrepreneurship doesn’t mean “a restricted way inside huge companies, brands or startups”. Some used it their own way, with lean management, aside with local communities to overcome their needs: kind of proud, willingness to live better and especially count only on their own…and destiny. It used to work with developping nations, when investment from richest countries disappeared, leading local groups to another way of subsistance: using and creating new oceans to live, with redesigning landscapes, habits and means.

Obviously, a particularly sharp and interesting lesson for us, balancing between bright, opportunism and ideas sourcing for a better world. Don’t miss the curve because it’s full of insights for developped world too, while earth is aching and resources seem to be compromised…

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Research for innovation is something like the graal, for companies. They are always tempted by stay in their comfortable position, or try to get out of the box and create a new field of business. But that’s not supposed to be easy…And makable. For most of them, innovation stay a wild dream, where they hope for a new easy start, while employees have not really ways to make it real. If we could resume for a short and simple idea, the concept of innovation, “Innovation is a change in the thought process for doing something, or the useful application of new inventions or discoveries. It may refer to an incremental emergent or radical and revolutionary changes in thinking, products, processes, or organizations”. Something simple, shaping and describing the whole circle of play, for considering a thing, action or process could be considered as an innovation.

As far as we can define it, it seems far more difficult to live an entire story of innovation. Few brands or companies or built-in successfully to achieve such goal. Why? Because Innovation is not something that you can impose to customers. Innovation goes to customers as far it’s been recognized and adopted as such. Innovation meet the needs of a market, a demand, a customer. It has to be devoted to serve a useful value purpose or change with relevance a product, service with significant change to be asked (payed because innovation means business too…) by a whole community. I would underline “whole community”, because innovation is sometimes recognized by early adopters or innovators, but doesn’t cross the chasm and fails to the big hole…

Well it seems so complicated that we understand why it’s so rare and why there is so much “shy” companies to launch anything really “out of the box” that is not only a fake move, test or something aside the “real” business. Innovation is in fact, not a toy, but makes part of the whole company, breathes with it and need a whole change of mindset, but process and operating too.

In this simple picture, see how company is in fact struggled between “forces” (no not Porter’s one…), that bury it into complexity and supply lots of reasons to stay in comfortable positions.

Outside the walls, a certain willingness to move, like a flow that could support innovation and drive motivation…But outside this “river of change”, the hard times with hard competition with tough guys…with the traditional niches with blue oceans, where life is cool and creative…for a while. But seeing inside the walls and considering that this company has motivation and some abilities to innovate, walls keep this whole force inside…Why, how?

1) Process and policies: keeping barriers of justice, legal and rules…Necessary, for sure…but hard to move and make them evolutive and flexible. Managers like them while it’s the best way to say “no”, with no regrets…easy to say no, easier than taking risks and new directions?

2) Fear paralyze anything. And anyone. And there’s no exception that in companies, those ones are built with certainty and are scared with anything that is unknown, troubled or uncertain ; environment of fear or “fear policy” (eg lose his job), doesn’t facilitate the taste for innovation…the only case is to survive, scared by his competitors…

3) unskillness: how could we do if don’t know how? innovation asks for a perfect mindset and behavior, to avoid huge failures. Knowledge to identify real innovation from fake, knowledge to swim among several hurdles: value environment, identify niches, product development, trendsetting…And the ability to answer to question: what premium fee for me if I’m leading the bulk now, with my new product, expensive, full of bug and a whole work of buzz to convince and recruit early adopters? Nerves had to be strong…

4) the “no” school: from any situation, any people will have a defensive reflex saying “no” to unknown. Kind of sport you could fall in love with, a kind of culture for some companies. We can even imagine there’s some hiring programs for “no people” and some training session for those who say “yes” too often…In fact innovation need envy, ambition and positive attitude. Staying beyond the walls, with strong positions only drive to “no”, facing the simple idea of “changing” anything…Chose the “yes” DNA to rise chances of success!

I told you from the start how hard could it be, until a conscious and bright path to innovation could born. Unchain what we know, free ideas, collaborative and social power, people just want to express itself and focus energy on “new”. All you have to do is to lead/drive this awesome energy in doing business and brand building, while you’ll be the king of HR improvement. Yes companies have silent forces they prefer ignore because it’s more comfortable and less dangerous, but standing like this won’t lead to manage talents, skills and innovation mindset. All you’ll generate is a twirl in people turnover…giving the best resources to competitors and losing your innovation workforce.

Time to harvest and educate the best seeds: prolific leaders will get prolific innovation and loyalty mindsets.

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