Posts tagged ‘innovation’
Already know that your sweet spot involves starting up a business? Then definitely check out Dean Crutchfield’s article “Method: The 6 Keys to Creating an Innovative Organization” which outlines “a six-step process that can guide organizations to conquer the challenge of building a business model geared for innovation and business transformation. ”
The article is full of inspirational messages and practical guidance, resulting in gems like these:
“Consequently, it is essential to become the ruthless enemy of ambiguity and ask entirely different sets of questions about the business: how will you innovate and evolve the brand? An excellent framework for analysis can be found in Michael Porter’s five forces: the degree of rivalry in the category, threat of new entrants, the chance of substitution, buyer power, and supplier power. In basic terms, the framework requires that an organization evaluate their strategic position relative to the forces. By understanding influences such as competitive threat and supplier bargaining power, a business can generate an edge in the category. ”
March 21’s daily design idea is another quote from Crutchfield: “The secret of business innovation is to think big, act small, fail fast and learn rapidly.” For more insight into this innovative, action-filled approach to business, be sure to look into effectual reasoning and action.
all illustrations via Fast Company’s Co. Design
Last night I saw “Sleep No More” by the amazing London-based group Punchdrunk. I don’t want to give too much away, because the show is so much about the mystery of the place (and because the version of the show that you will see is undeniably going to be different than the version that I saw)… but as someone who so strongly believes in documenting and measuring even the most subjective experiences, I felt the need to share a few facts with you:
The set took five months to build. It was a professional crew. They worked 6 day weeks, on average. They had to get a building permit from NYC’s Department of Buildings to do what they did.
Each night, it takes three hours to pre-set the show. Even with five stories of set to dress, that’s impressive.
The show starts at 7pm each night. The crew hits “play” on all the pre-programmed spectacular effects at 6:53pm. For any theater junkies that are reading this: they do have stage managers, but those people do not call traditional cues. The team’s first “stage manager” had an events production background and didn’t know the meaning of that title.
The maximum amount of time that a theater-goer can spend at this show is 3 hours, but there is about 15 hours worth of prepared content in that three hour time span.
big thanks to Meagan Miller-McKeever for introducing me to the creative geniuses behind Punchdrunk!
March 17’s daily design idea – while not a proven fact – is definitively my opinion, expectation, and hope: productions like this are the future of theater.
Today, Fast Company’s Co. Design published an article by Paul Valerio, Principal of Insights at Method (which is currently doing a whole series of articles for Co. Design). The article is called “Eight Things Stand-Up Comedy Teaches Us About Innovation” and is a delightfully tongue-in-cheek comparison between successful product innovation and stand-up comedy. In Valerio’s words, “Innovation, like comedy, is a messy, often counter-intuitive business. It’s an iterative loop of creation, feedback, revision, rejection, and creation again. Used correctly, research fuels the understanding that leads to real breakthroughs. In the wrong hands, it all but assures the death of originality.”
I believe in the value of market research and focus groups, but I also know that the best designers have excellent design intuition. You only need to remind me of the recent Tropicana rebrand and failed packaging for me to concede that research isn’t as reliable as we’d like it to be. Valerio makes this fact all the more clear by pointing out that the opposite is also true: “Herman Miller’s Aeron chair and the Seinfeld pilot bombed in research” despite both being huge successes with consumers when introduced into the market.
Herman Miller’s Aeron chair, a huge success despite poor results in preliminary consumer research testing
All that said, I still believe in research and – even more importantly – in documentation of your successful innovations. Whether it’s visitorship and membership rates, community responses and user satisfaction feedback, or how much graffiti appears on a newly built structure, clients are already trying to measure the return on their design investments (see “Prove Your Design Has Value” published January 3, 2011 in Architect magazine). In my opinion, it’s definitely time for designers to start regularly including a diversity of metrics in their project documentation as well.
Aurthur Buxton shows us the five most common colors in 28 of Van Gogh’s paintings, by relative percentage: one not-so-soft metric for starting to understand these paintings (plus it’s a great piece of art on its own)
March 3’s daily design idea is while it’s unclear how to measure innovation, measuring the effects and performance of your work is more straightforward (and it will help create credible support for your innovative-ness). So ladies and gentlemen, start your measuring!
“Our primary problem isn’t to encourage innovation,
because people are going to innovate anyway.
Because it’s fun.
It’s why you get up in the morning.”
Ben Hammersley is the editor of The Journal of Post-Digital Geopolitics and a speaker from the recent Lift conference in Geneva, on top of many other impressive accomplishments. His full presentation from Lift 11 is available to view online (which I highly recommend), but below is my overall takeaway.
Lift11 was a “conference about current and emerging usage of digital technologies such as online communities, social media and casual games. Participants come to better understand the challenges and opportunities presented by digital technologies, and meet the people who drive these innovations.” Appropriately, one of the early quotes from Hammersley’s presentation is:
For the past decade or so, we’ve had conference after conference after conference talking about innovation: “We’ve got to be innovative, we’ve got to think in a new way, we’ve got to think outside the box.” Telling someone to be innovative is like telling someone to be funny: it’s really hard. It doesn’t kind of work. (10:40)
Hammersley points out that our youngest generations don’t understand this call to innovative action, because that’s already “the thing that they do” (3:30). So the alleged innovation problem is really a translation problem between two generations that each have different cognitive frameworks. His main argument is that older generations (which include many current leader throughout the world) understand social entities and power structures through pyramidal hierarchies while younger generations think of people as being in more democratic “sheets” or “networks” — or “communities of choice,” as Global Trends puts it. As a note: Hammersley never specifically defines what he means by “old” and “young,” but don’t let the generalizations distract you from the wonderful core content of his talk.
One of Hammersley’s more poignant supporting arguments, in my opinion, is the example of anti-terrorism efforts (13:20 and again at 15:30). Older generations will say “shoot the leader, and everybody else will go away,” demonstrating a lack of understanding that contemporary social entities (including those of our enemies) no longer rely on pyramid power structures. If a single person goes down, there are plenty of others ready to reconfigure themselves and continue on. Or in other words, “it’s very very difficult to shoot a hashtag” (14:20). Communication gaps about concepts like these are what leads Hammersley to repeatedly urge the audience to better explain new ideas to older generations (instead of complaining when the untranslated ideas seem to fall on deaf ears).
During the final Q&A of the presentation, Hammersley mentions how many contemporary networks attain greater relevancy by more directly impacting the individual, in some cases because they are local rather than multi-national (21:45). But his major overarching observation is that geographic boundaries created a thousand years ago, when “it was hard to get on a horse and go further than ‘that'” (8:00), no longer define individual cultures. Instead, they are increasingly becoming non-geographic “diasporas of interest” (11:15).
February 15’s daily design idea is one of Hammersley’s concluding thoughts: “Our primary problem isn’t to encourage innovation. Our primary problem is to translate it.” (18:45)